Two rivals meet each other. One points to the other. The appointed man proceeds:

1: Howdy
2: Sup
1: Yo
2: Hey
1: Sup
2: Hello
1: Hi
2: Hullo
1: U! (Person 1 gestures in a U shape, received by a skeptical glance)
2: Howdy
1: Ho!
2: Adios

Person 1 looks surprised briefly, thinks a bit, then looks sad and say "I will get you next time" and walks away dejectedly.

After days of scheming person 1 believes they can triumph and plans to encounter person 2.

1: Hola
2: Hello (quite smugly)
1: Howdy
2: Hiya
1: Hullo
2: Madam
1: Heya
2: Wuzzup
1: Shalom
2: Ahoy
1: Salute
2: Hello
1: Morning
2: Greets
1: Welcome
2: Dagnabbit. (Person 1 looks expectantly. Person 2 sighs) Fudge
1: Goodbye

Person 1 smiles as he walks away victorious.

What happened?


The rivals are not competing in a way unique to themselves.

  • $\begingroup$ In the 2nd exchange, is "1: Salute 2: Hello" intentionally on a single line? $\endgroup$
    – TTT
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ Shouldn't 'Salute' be 'Salut' if they are all greetings? $\endgroup$
    – Arth
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ Are they all greetings? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ At a stretch! 'Madam' and 'U' could be contentious.. :) $\endgroup$
    – Arth
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 14:37
  • $\begingroup$ encrypted chess game or something of the like? $\endgroup$
    – Jasen
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 22:25

5 Answers 5


They're playing

connect four.

Each word has a

length from 1-7, which denotes the column they're dropping their piece in. The games look like this:
enter image description here
I've cut off the second one where 2 said "Dagnabbit". They knew that they were not going to win, since wherever they went, 1 would go in the 7th column and win. (If they went in the 7th column, 1 would get a diagonal win; if not, he would get a horizontal win.)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (Also, 1's plays were terrible in game 1. It's like he's never played before.) $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ You try keeping a connect 4 board in your head ;) ... (or a certain author could only come up with so many semi-unique greetings without going to questionable use of foreign languages) For questionable greetings see Case: U! --- Side note: I actually imagine in a game of mental connect 4 it would be very easy to forgot a vertical column the other is building. --- Sider note: Fudge was person 2's play for that turn. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Goinghamateur: I'm aware "fudge" was the play. I 'stopped' the second one early though to explain "dagnabbit". $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 12:29

The rivals are

playing a game in which each person has to name a different synonym of the starting word. The rules are that you cannot repeat whatever your opponent just said, and you can never say the same word (of yours) more than once. Player 1 started the game with a greeting.

"U!" is received by a skeptical glance because

it is an unusual greeting, but you could see how someone might greet someone like that, though it would be a little odd.

The exchange ended because

Ho! is not a greeting at all. "What ho" is probably the closest to it, or perhaps the laughter Santa begins his greeting with (Ho Ho Ho), but by itself "Ho!" is not considered a greeting. Person 2 challenges person 1 by ending the game with "Adios" (good-bye) and then Person 1 admits that "Ho!" is not a greeting and concedes defeat.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Then why didn't Person 1 just say "Hey"? $\endgroup$
    – earora4498
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ @earora4498 Maybe the game is played very quickly, (perhaps you only have 1 second to respond), and he didn't think of it. $\endgroup$
    – TTT
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 3:23
  • $\begingroup$ Not quite, though looking at U as a forced answer is a good approach. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ @earora4498 Maybe they cannot repeat greetings, as 2 already said "Hey". $\endgroup$
    – Klyzx
    Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @CaelanO No, because "Sup" was said twice in the first scenario $\endgroup$
    – Moose
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 12:13

Based on word length, perhaps they are playing

connect four.

  • $\begingroup$ Yep, this is definitely it - I'll expand in another answer. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 23:23
  • $\begingroup$ Ah I didn't see this was posted first. I will give you the check. Good job. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Goinghamateur: Checks don't necessarily need to go to the first correct answer. They should just go to the best answer. (Of course, I may be biased. :P ) $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't have time to expand on the answer when I spotted it. fair enough. $\endgroup$
    – Jasen
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 12:27

Obviously they're playing a game. "What happened" could be understood as "What are the rules" or "How can one person win this game". One rule could be

A word shares only 1 letter with the prior one OR they don't share any letters
That's why " Ho wdy" -> "Ho" fails.
Also "U" is allowed since it's 1 letter out of ""H u llo"

Still trying to apply a proper rules to part two >:(

  • $\begingroup$ unfiortunately example two breaks that, $\endgroup$
    – Jasen
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 22:19

I don't know if this is really what the OP wanted, but this does seem to work, with some interpretation about player two's reaction in game 2 and some questions about playing tactics.

Essentially it appears that the general rules are to use all the vowels (A, E, I, O, U), and use more of them than your opponent. The sum of vowels are accrued through the game, and the person who first uses all the vowels and also exceeds the other's total vowel score by 3 wins.

On play 14 (player 2) in the second game, both players are tied at 14 vowels a piece, so now it's just points when on the next play (15), player 1 uses 'welcome' which effectively puts him 3 ahead. Player 2 should have an opportunity to tie, and 'DAGNABBIT' would do the trick, but it's not a salutation. Both fudge, and dagnabbit seem to be expressions of frustration, although there's no history of things being spoken outside the context of the game.

In the first game, the word adios puts player 2 both ahead by 3 and completes the use of all vowels, thus they won after player 1 could not come up with a tying word.

Player 1's closing salutation after winning game 2, 'Goodbye', might be a formality, or might be a way to pour on more points.

There are tactical issues with the play if these are the rules, like player 1's 'Howdy' in the second game. It gives him only one point and no new vowels, but alas he wins anyway. Another problem, since U's are hard to come by, and 'Hola' was valid, why not 'Bonjour'?

This was a lot like a game I played when I was younger.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I can't comment on Deusovi's answer, but while it's an attractive response, it doesn't explain the necessity of the word play or use of letters at all, the use of mostly real words along with a few that are forced, particularly, 'U', 'Greets', and others. The play would seem to suggest a lot more soul searching than the OP suggests when they said "after days of scheming". It would seem also, that given the level of sophistication, and with prior knowledge to game one of the 'wrapper's' construct as well, that the unfamiliarity with the underlying game would be highly unusual. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 23:54

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