The Most Dangerous Games: El Juego Del Libro Rojo, Or The Red Book Game

Previously: The Dark Music Ritual.

This is one of those times that I really wish I’d studied Spanish as a foreign language in school: I’ve been unable to verify the history of this one because of the language barrier. (Latin and French will only take you so far.) That said, when you search “El Juego Del Libro Rojo,” many, many more results pop up than when you search “The Red Book Game,” so even though I’ve been unable to read these results without the (rather imperfect) aid of Google Translate, I feel reasonably secure in saying that, yes, it probably does in fact originate from Spanish-speaking countries.

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According to one source, El Juego Del Libro Rojo is specifically a South American thing; South America is a big continent, though, so I don’t know whether it’s a regional game or not. Additionally, other sources cite is as being played primarily in Mexico, so reports are conflicting. In any event, its closest analogue for English-speaking readers is probably the Ouiji Board, or maybe Charlie, Charlie — that is, it’s a divination game, wherein players consult an otherworldly power for information about… pretty much whatever you feel like asking.

Be warned, though: Information doesn’t always come free.

As always… well, you know how it goes.


  • At least two participants.


  • One book. The book must be hardcover, and the cover must be red. There should be no pictures, photographs, or other images in its pages — its contents must consist of words only.
  • At least one candle. The candle must be red.
  • Matches or a lighter.
  • A quiet room.
  • A question.


The Preface:

  1. Go into your quiet room.
  2. Draw the curtains and turn off the lights.
  3. Sit in a circle with the other participants. Place the candle(s) in the middle of the circle. Light them.
  4. Close your eyes. Place the palm of your hand on the book’s cover. Ask the following question aloud: “Red Book, may I enter your game?”
  5. Keep your eyes closed. Open the book to a random page. Place your finger on a random spot on the page.
  6. Open your eyes. Read the sentence your finger has landed on. This is your answer — although you must interpret it correctly to proceed.
    • If the answer is negative or nonsensical: Contact has not been made. Do not proceed. Try again.
    • If the answer is positive: You may proceed.
  7. Each player must ask for and receive permission to enter the game.

The Rising Action:

  1. Close your eyes. Place your palm on the book’s cover. Ask your question. Speak it aloud.
  2. Keep your eyes closed. Open the book to a random page. Place your finger on a random spot on the page.
  3. Open your eyes. Read the sentence your finger has landed on. This is your answer — whatever you interpret it to mean.
  4. Pass the book round. Each player who wishes to ask a question must close their eyes, place the palm of their hand on the book’s cover, ask their question aloud, open the book to a random page, and place their finger on a random spot on the page. The sentence the asker’s finger lands on will always be the answer to the question, although the interpretation is up to the askers themselves.

The Epilogue:

  1. When all the questions have been asked and answered, close your eyes and place your palm on the book once more. Ask aloud, “Red Book, may I leave your game?”
  2. Keep your eyes closed. Open the book to a random page. Place your finger on a random spot on the page.
  3. Open your eyes. Read the sentence your finger has landed on. This is your answer.
    • If the answer is negative or nonsensical: You do not have permission to leave the game. Try again.
    • If the answer is positive: You may leave the game.
  4. Each player must ask for and receive permission to leave the game.
  5. When all permissions have been acquired, close the book. Extinguish the candles. Open the curtains. And lastly, turn on the lights.

Additional Notes:

There is no specific starting time; however, the room should be as dark as possible without the candles lit, so it is advisable to begin at night.

No questions are officially “off limits”; however, it is not advisable to ask anything that might anger your correspondent. It is also not advisable to ask about your own death. Some things are better left unknown.

Concerning Permissions:

Do not begin asking questions or leave the game without asking for and receiving permission first. To do so is… unwise.

The Red Book Game: FAQ.


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[Photo via Jo Naylor/Flickr]



31 thoughts on “The Most Dangerous Games: El Juego Del Libro Rojo, Or The Red Book Game

    1. maybe so, but be warned I wouldn’t trust the book after that. You’ve turned the book into an anchor, you don’t know what may want to hold on…

  1. I googled around a bit and it doesn’t look like the origins of this game probably go back more than about 4 years. I’ve lived in Mexico for 20+ years and have never heard of it before. Spanish is my first language, so if there’s any particular pages or videos you’d like help translating, I’d be glad to oblige.

    1. I used to play this all the time with a “history of mexico” coloring book when i was in elementary school!!! i remember the answers being a little spooky and sometimes very funny because of the pictures and historical texts our fingers would land on. the answers made sense though! i never followed the ritual here, i mean i was just a kid distracting myself from class haha

  2. Doesn’t seem like a threatening game as in your like is in danger like the other ones. But it is very interesting to try out, but I won’t be trying it because I don’t like to mess with these kind of sprits… Good job translating though! 😊

  3. Can you play this alone? I need a question answered and I don’t trust anyone else with knowing the question even exists, let alone the answer. What are the risks?

    1. I don’t think so. The participants in this game must be 2, unless stated otherwise or there can be 1 player. I don’t know about the risks though, but…you wouldn’t want to experience it first-hand

  4. So just sit in a dark room with everything set up then some “unknown” force will be part of the game….? This is interesting, but after reading the criteria, it feels like having a campfire gathering with friends through a candle plus a red book, hahaha.

  5. Actually I found this on some other website, and I loved it so much that I invited a huge group of my friends for my birthday party and told them that we will be playing this at the party. They were thrilled. But maybe I shouldn’t have made this decision after all and put all of my friends in danger. Because we got the scare of our lives that day. As we I lit the candles, my friends discussed what an awesome experience this would be. Well, I asked permission to enter the game and got a positive answer. So did my friends. Now comes the scary part. I asked, ” Have I done right by playing this game?” and the answer came, ” Oh really, you think so?” Friend A asked,” What are the secrets to be successful in life? The answer: ” You have to work hard to achieve it.” Friend B asked, “Who is giving us these answers?” The answer: “Something not from this world, something the human brain cannot understand.” We were astonished at this one. Friend C: ” Is the Charlie Charlie Devil Game just a cooked up story or is it real?” Answer: “Probably or probably not.” Friend D: “Will my day go bad tomorrow?” Answer: “Who knows?” Friend E: “Tell me about the Shadowside.” Shadowside is the spirit world, just in case you didn’t know the word. The answer came, ” Do you really want to know?” We ended the game after this. We played this quite some time ago and we are thinking of giving this another shot at one of my friend’s next party.” I hope this will help those of you who want to play this. Good luck and you are welcome. Have a great day ahead!

  6. omg, I’m from the north of Mexico and never heard about this one, only bloody mary and the stupid games on cementery to prove braveness.
    It sounds cool, tho, might give it a chance!

  7. Ooh, this is interesting. I will definitely write something about this someday. This story was uploaded on my birthday, too 🙂

  8. What if you were given permission to leave the game, but your friend/friends don’t have permission? Are you safe?

    1. Yep. The one that gets the permission to leave (based on some accounts that people had done this) gets to go, but the one who doesn’t….let’s just say that it would not be a happy end for that guy/girl…

    2. YOU are safe, but your friends aren’t. But as it says, they need to keep asking untill it gives a positive awnser.

  9. While you ask permission/answer to a question from the spirit, do your friends also keep their eyes closed? And, when you have received permission/answer, is it safe to open your eyes while the other are asking for permission/answer to the question?

  10. What would happen if the prepared book only contains the word ‘yes’? Will those ‘yes’ change if the ritual succeed?

    1. Here’s how it works: You can start asking the book questions only if you’ve got permission to enter the game. When it is the turn of a player who hasn’t got permission, they must ask for permission to enter the game. If they are never permitted to enter, they don’t have to ask permission to leave the game either, since they never entered the game. But those who entered the game must ask permission for leaving. If they get a negative response, they must keep trying until they get a positive one.

  11. Could you just paint a book cover red and use that? If you have a red book with images, could you just rip out any pages with images? would a red binder with paper in it count as a red book?

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