The Most Dangerous Games: The Answer Man

Previously: Charlotte’s Web.

Like a lot of the games that we’ve examined here at TGIMM, The Answer Man — also sometimes known as The Phantom of the Answer or The Answer Phantom — is said to originate in an east Asian country; in this case, it’s ostensibly Japan, although I haven’t located any Japanese sites featuring the rules (yet, at least).

This 4chan thread from 2013 states that The Answer Man has been “circulating among Japanese kids for over 10 years,” which suggests that it dates back to the early 2000s. Given the technological requirements of the game, this fact makes sense, although I’ve been unable to verify it conclusively. For what it’s worth, the game also appears in another 4chan thread from a year earlier, in 2012 — making it the earliest version of the game I’ve been able to find, at least online — although there’s no mention of the decade-long timeline here. Interestingly, I also found a number of Indonesian sites laying out the instructions for the game; most of these posts also date to around 2013 or 2014.

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The Answer Man has a lot in common with games like The Raven ManThe Red Book Game, and The Knockertell in that you play it for a particular reason: To get information. However, knowledge doesn’t come free, so be prepared for a trade-off.

As always, play at your own risk.

Players:

  • 10 participants.

Requirements:

  • 10 cell phones. Burner phones are recommended (see: Ending The Call, Step 4).

Instructions:

Making The Call:

  1. Begin at any time and in any place.
  2. Gather all 10 participants in a circle.
  3. Each participant should give their phone number to the person to their right — that is, each participant should be able to call the person to their left.
  4. On the count of three, all participants should call the person to their left.
    • If all 10 participants receive a busy signal or the call goes to voicemail: The ritual has failed; do not proceed. If this outcome emerges, try again later.
    • If nine participants receive a busy signal or the call goes to voicemail: The ritual has succeeded; you may proceed. If this outcome emerges, one participant’s phone call — and only one — will be answered. This participant will hear a voice begin to speak on the other end.

The Conversation:

  1. The participant whose call was successful may ask the Answer Man a question.
  2. The participant should listen carefully to the answer.
  3. After the Answer Man has given his answer, he will in turn ask a question of the participant.
  4. The participant MUST answer this question. The answer must be honest, truthful, and correct.
  5. The participant may repeat this process as many times as they like.

Ending The Call:

  1. When the participant has received all the information they require, they may end the call by telling the Answer Man they must go.
  2. The Answer Man may attempt to keep the participant on the line, possibly by offering information for free. Do NOT stay on the line. The participant should repeatedly state their need to end the conversation.
  3. If the participant is persistent, the Answer Man will say good-bye and hang up. At this point, the call has been terminated.
  4. After the call has been terminated, immediately destroy all cell phones used to conduct the ritual.

Additional Notes:

It is recommended that participants save the phone numbers required for Making The Call, Steps 3 and 4 to their contacts list for easy dialing.

It is recommended that one participant be designated the “Counter”; this person will issue the countdown signaling when the phone numbers should be dialed in Making The Call, Step 4. It is also recommended that this person clarify, in advance, what “on the count of three” means: That is, whether all participants press “call” as the number three is spoken, or whether all participants press “call” in the moment immediately after the number three is spoken.

It is NOT recommended that participants who have successfully called the Answer Man pass the phone around the circle or allow multiple participants to ask questions. There’s a reason the Answer Man picked up that particular call; he’s not content to talk to just anybody.

It is NOT recommended that you put the Answer Man on speaker phone.

Do NOT fail to destroy all cell phones used to conduct the ritual as soon as possible after the ritual’s completion. Even if you’ve hung up — or even if you were among the nine who were unable to connect in the first place — you never know what might try to call you back.

Concerning The Answer Man’s Offer:

Do NOT accept the Answer Man’s offer for free information in exchange for staying on the line. He is a master at exploiting loopholes; he will find a way to ask you a question, and he will find a way to make it a requirement for you to answer that question. When this question comes, it will be far more difficult than any of his preceding questions; indeed, it will likely be impossible to answer. Should you fail to answer — as he intends by extending this offer — see below.

Concerning The Answer Man’s Questions:

Do not fail to answer the Answer Man’s questions. Do not lie, either directly or by omission. Do not answer falsely. Do not answer incorrectly. If you fail to answer any question put to you by the Answer Man, you may feel a mild tingling sensation in a particular part of your body — a finger, a toe, a hand, a leg; anything is fair game. This is how you will know you have failed; this is the price of your failure.

And when, some days or months or even years on, you lose that part of your body — by accident, by illness, or by some other means — you will know that he has collected his fee.

A Final Note:

Do not hang up on the Answer Man.

He doesn’t like that.

The Answer Man: FAQ.

***

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[Photo via Indi Samarajiva/Flickr]

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34 thoughts on “The Most Dangerous Games: The Answer Man

  1. Will the Answer Man ask you questions such as, math questions? Or questions about yourself/your family?
    What would happen if you don’t know the answer?

    1. The Answer Man will ask you question on anything that he likes. Family, math, social life and etc. He’ll just ask you.

      If you can’t answer his question , you will lose a limb. (or worse, die)

    2. Personally, I think it will be personal questions he will ask, remember, the Answer Man is an entity, with a malicious intent, Logical problems, such as maths, are directly easy to receive with a calculator on standby. It doesn’t make much sense in terms of his standards.

      Though I can’t directly conclude this; I’m assuming the Answer Man uses personal questions in order to use them to either a) conclude factual information (not riddle or maths type questions, however.) or to b) harm friendships with intent.

      For example, if he asked the question: What do you think about your friend sitting beside you?

      Since you have to give the truth, I’m assuming this will be quite uneasy.

      Although other times he could ask questions as: What is the height of Mount Everest?

      This sort of questioning deviates the receiver and gives them a big surprise.

      Hope this helps!

  2. So, we can do this is broad daylight with all windows open and sunlight coming in? Also, can there be other people around in the place where this ritual is taking place?

    1. You could most likely do this in broad daylight. Don’t have too many people in the area, though, because you know how it is having a phone call in a busy place.

    2. Yeah you can do this at any time, but I think the area you do it should be your home. Because unless someone is participating in the ritual they probably shouldn’t be there when it happens…But I don’t really know.

  3. My question with all kinds of games that “summon” an entity is, what if two or more separate groups (or individuals, depending on the requirements of the game) call upon the same entity at the exact same time, and happen to succeed? Does that mean that other, uhm, forces assume the identity of the entity being summoned? I wouldn’t like to think that those beings are omnipresent, for lack of better word.

    1. The entity (in which I’ll call A) has only one in the world. In the game Answer Man, it is impossible for A to have 2, as only 1 phone call is answered. If there is another one, it has 2 meaning:

      a) The other A is a false one
      b) (More likely) there are two of A

  4. What if he asks us a question we don’t know the answer to? On a related note, is ‘I don’t know’ an acceptable answer if it’s the truth? And how does he know we’re lying? Also, what if he doesn’t hang up on us? How easy is it to answer the questions? Sorry for all the questions lol

    1. What if he asks us a question we don’t know the answer to?
      = Just answer it. No escape.

      On a related note, is ‘I don’t know’ an acceptable answer if it’s the truth?
      = In sense of my theory, yes. However, I don’t think the Answer Man would ask you a question that even you don’t know.

      And how does he know we’re lying?
      = He has (probably) all the information in the world, and he want to confirm the info if its legit or not, so he asks you.

      Also, what if he doesn’t hang up on us?
      =If he doesn’t hang up on us, then persist that he has to leave. Just don’t be rude. Don’t hang up on him.

      How easy is it to answer the questions?
      = Depending on the question you asked. Probably the difficulty of one question is based on what you asked him.

      eg.
      Your Question = When will I die?

      His Question = When do you have the most bitter past memories of your childhood? (assume you don’t have one)

    2. I think the question he asks you would be a personal one, like about your secrets or would make you confess to something in front of the 10 people. But honestly that’s a really fair price.

    1. Usually, that won’t happen. But, if it does, then there is more of them or one of the caller is a fake one

    2. I don’t think that’s very likely to happen, but if it does, maybe you’ve summoned another entity.
      “Unwanted” if you want to see it like that.

  5. This girl (that’s me) finally figured out a way to win this game. Simply ask: What is the answer to the question that you will ask me? When he asks you his question, give him the answer that he gave you and then just end the game. You won’t get any information this way, but still you’ll be able to wear a t- shirt which says: Hey guys, I defeated the answer man, thanks to Miss PurpleGirlTheHorrorFan! Ha ha, I am such a genius!

    1. Yeah… I’m not sure on that one: the Answer Man is quite persistent, regardless of how he might seem. I would be careful using that phrase just in case he does call you out as a cheater.

  6. Can you please post the game ‘Six murders’? And if you do, please mention my name saying that I suggested it!

      1. +Veronica Lodge I know, that one really is a bit of a ‘dangerous’ game. You are right, maybe she wouldn’t want to post that one, you know, for the the greater good of those who don’t know about it. But those who don’t know about it are gonna look it up anyway, as soon as they read my comment. ( I mean the one which you replied to,Veronica.) So here’s hoping no one decides to give that game a go.

    1. Well, he is supposed to hang up on you. I assume you mean that he just does it without you having to ask? Seems unlikely. He wants you to answer his questions too.

  7. I was thinking about doing this until it stated to destroy your phone lol.

    Oh,and also, does anyone know the name of the ritual that involves staring into a toilet bowl and a cellphone,and where to find it? Thanks in advance.

  8. If we felt a “mild tingling” on all our body, does that mean that we will die? I mean, of course we will, but can it actually happen?!

    1. Though I’m not an expert, I’m assuming that only piece of the body can be claimed. Due to you only answering one question incorrectly, it is quite sure that the Answer Man will respond with a fair side of the deal.

      However, with that said, you may want to tread wearily.

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