How to Win at the Mennonite Game: A Comprehensive Guide

The Mennonite Game is easy to play, but difficult to master. For years Mennonites have been playing the game, but after all this time, no winner has been determined for the simple reason that there was no clear set of rules. Using the following points system, Mennonites can tally up their scores throughout their lifetimes and have their final total printed on their tombstones for future Mennonites to see. This game is appropriate for all ages, and although younger people will have more time to tally points, older Mennonites certainly have the advantage when it comes to knowledge about aunts and uncles and cousins-once-removed.

  • Any time you are asked, “Who is your father? or “Who is your mother?” – 5 points
  • Any time you ask someone else these same questions – 5 points
  • If you are asked these questions and actually have an answer – 10 points
  • If you can ask and answer in Plautdietsch – 20 points
  • If the asker ruffles up your hair or pinches your cheek while asking – 10 points
  • If you ask someone who they are related to and it turns out they aren’t Mennonite – minus 5 points
  • Any time you are asked by a stranger what church you go to – 10 points
  • If you name some local Mennonite church in reply – 20 points
  • If you’re lying when you say it – minus 5 points
  • If you don’t attend church except for Christmas and Easter – 5 points
  • If you used to attend but don’t anymore – 2 points
  • If you’ve been completely turned off by church because of how you were treated in the past and spend an hour or two ranting to the asker about this – minus 50 points
  • Owning a family history book – 5 points per book
  • Politely smiling and thanking your Uncle Gerhard for the spiral-bound self-published history book – 15 points
  • Actually reading the bloody thing – 50 points
  • Tracing at least one line of ancestors back to Russia, Germany or Prussia – 5 points
  • Tracing at least one line of ancestors back to The Netherlands, Belgium, or Switzerland – 10 points
  • Discovering a non-Mennonite in your family tree – minus 10 points
  • Discovering a famous Mennonite in your family tree (like crazy man Claas Epp or Nebraska senator Peter Jansen) – 20 points
  • Finding a relation to Menno Simons – 100 points
  • Visiting an important Mennonite historic site – 20 points
  • Defacing it – minus 50 points
  • If you can name all your cousins including the really young ones – 10 points
  • If you can name at least one second cousin – 10 points
  • Marrying a first cousin – 50 points
  • Marrying a second cousin – 40 points
  • Marrying a third cousin – 30 points
  • Marrying a fourth cousin or higher – 20 points
  • Marrying a first cousin-once removed – 40 points
  • Marrying a second cousin-once removed – 30 points
  • Marrying a third cousin-once removed – 20 points
  • Marrying anyone else in the Loewen Book – 10 points
  • Divorcing any of the aforementioned people – minus 10 points
  • Having relatives on both sides of the Red River – 5 points
  • Each time you cross the river to visit them – 2 points per trip
  • Having relatives who still live in the old country – 20 points
  • If your middle name is your mother’s maiden name – 20 points
  • If you know what ‘Grandma’s Window’ is without having to Google it – 20 points
  • If you actually have a subscription to it – 40 points
  • Routinely referring to your relatives as “frintschoft” – 20 points
  • If you understand that the Mennonites are a religious denomination, and not actually an ethnicity – 1000 points

(photo credit: John M/CC)