|All players (works best with at least 5) sit or stand in a circle. One player starts by saying the rhyme "Whales Tales, Prince of Wales, somebody stole my tails, I accuse number ____," where the blank is a number up to the number of people playing. For instance, if there are six players, the number will be between 1 and 6, or between reverse 1 and reverse 6. The play then goes to the left from the person that said the rhyme by the number of people he says, or to the right on reverse numbers.
The person, or "whale," accused must say "No" before another player points at him and says drink. Since whales do not have fingers, all pointing must be done with the elbow. If the accused does not say no in time, he drinks. Otherwise the accuser says "Who?", the accused says another number, and play continues.
You may accuse yourself but you must say no before you are pointed at, then say who and another number. Players always count from the player that says the number.
Play stops whenever someone drinks, which occurs when:
- Someone is pointed at before they say no
- Someone messes up or stops while saying the rhyme or another part of the dialogue
- Someone points with their finger, not their elbow
- Someone does not speak quickly enough. This is known as being a slow whale
Then the player to the left of the one that drank begins again by saying the rhyme.
If you have to leave temporarily to get another drink or go to the bathroom, you say "In but out" and your spot is saved. Players must still account for you when you are in but out. If you accuse an absent player, you drink.
This game can be very fast paced and brutal for beginners, especially when playing with experienced veterans.