Text tennis. It's the coolest game you've never played. Unless, of course, you have.

How to play

How to play

  1. Challenge someone to a game of text tennis. Decide on first service, a maximum time limit between shots and whether one is playing competitively or not. Non-competitive is the default. E.g. "text tennis, old thing? 2 day limit, no Schneiders*, your serve?". Newbies should be pointed at this website first.
  2. Service. Whoever has service declares a listable topic of conversation using a hashtag (camelCase is preferred), followed by an opening gambit e.g. "#favoriteVegetables carrots", "#citiesIWantToVisit Cairo", "#mostIrritatingActors Eddie Murphy" etc.
  3. Return. The other player replies on topic e.g. "Asparagus", "Lisbon", "Robin Williams"
  4. Play continues along the same lines until...
    • A player cannot think of an adequate response.
    • A player finds the topic droll or vulgar or insufficiently vulgar.
    At which point they
    1. Concede the round (refer to point 5, your mother, below). In competitive play a point is conceded by this action, and the current score is noted, following standard tennis game scoring practices, and
    2. Serve up a new topic (refer to point 2, service, above).
  5. Your mother. Conceding a round can be entirely implicit, indicated only by the fresh serve. Or a player may choose to recognize their opponent's sparkling wit with a sportsmanlike exclamation, [good shot!] etc (refer to point 6, commentary, below). Alternatively, a round may be explicitly conceded with the phrase "your mother" or colloquial variants thereof, this being the text tennis equivalent of crying "Uncle".
  6. Commentary. At various points during a game you may feel an urge to comment upon your opponent's return; this is most easily achieved using (square) brackets to differentiate your remark from your shot e.g. [bravo!]. For extended interjections, use the tags #suspendPlay and #resumePlay. These also prove useful if for some unearthly reason you need to actually communicate during a game. Or sleep.
  7. Lions. Play at one's convenience, noting the initially agreed time limit between shots. In competitive play, failing to respond within the time limit concedes a point. Competitive or not, opponents may be gently nudged into a response with a [ping]. Failing to respond within twice the agreed time limit can mean only one thing: your opponent has been eaten by lions and, by dint, conceded the game.
View an example game

An example game

You're probably wondering how all of this goes down? Well, here's how...

Game of text-tennis, old girl? Competitive, 2 hour limit, no Schneiders, your service?

Oh, how darling! #waysToDispenseOfYourLover revolver

incessant nagging

mobster boyfriend

paternity test

weekend in Cleveland

[good show! 15-love]
#moviesYouMakeMeWatch Failure to Launch


Frequently Asked Questions

This section contains answers to questions that are frequently asked, hence the name.

Really, this is a thing?
You better believe it's a thing. It all started one perfect morning in beautiful Portland, Oregon, way back in July 2015. Hard to believe now, right?
* To what does the expression "Schneiders omitted" refer?
"Schneiders omitted" is a popular house rule that emerged early on in the history of text tennis. Given that the couplet "Rob Schneider" presents as an unreturnable volley in almost every case, the utterance is considered ungentlemanly conduct by most stalwarts of the pastime.
Seriously, I've been doing this for years. Where do you get off claiming to have invented it?
Meh, whatevs. You couldn't even be bothered to register the domain, could you?
Why aren't you President of the United States of America?
I get this one a lot! As a bastard from the North, I am ineligible for that particular office, plus it's incompatible with my oath to the Night's Watch. Additionally, though history would suggest that possessing a dick should rule me in, not being a dick pretty much rules me out.
Thanks for the idea, pal. I'm going to monetize it and become fabulously wealthy. Oh, you're right, this isn't a question.
No worries, brother, this is my gift to the world, including capitalist running dogs and Wildlings. :-) Go in peace. Namaste. A link back would be nice.


Irrelevant minutae for your edification and delight.

Version History

VersionRelease DateNotes
1.07/22/15Initial release.
1.17/27/15Your mother is my uncle.
1.28/20/15Lions ate my lover.

Suggestions, donations?

Contact the author. Keep it clean, people - this isn't The Bugle.