NOJ / НОЖ: Nabokov Online Journal, Vol. II / 2008

Ashley Moran


Vladimir Nabokov composed crossword puzzles and chess problems, and was known for his infatuation with Scrabble - a word game in which players score points by forming words across and down in crossword fashion from individual lettered tiles on a game board. Usually board games involve both luck and strategy; the major difference between "Nabokov's Dozen" and any other board game is that the players' success largely depends on their knowledge of Nabokov's works and biographic background.

Nabokov's legacy, in turn, had already inspired a few games in its own terms, such as the "Nabokov Quiz" printed in The Barcelona Review (Issue 14: August - October 1999), a crossword based on the Nabokov-related questions, or the Nabokov prose-alike centennial contest that appeared in the anniversary issue of The Nabokovian (42, Spring 1999).

"Nabokov's Dozen" is another game for Nabokophiles played with pieces moved across a board. The four colors of the squares on the board correspond to four butterflies serving as game pieces.

Click to enlarge images

Instructions for Board Game

To start: A colored plastic butterfly serves as a game token. Each player may control one or more game pieces. Arrange the boards (three pieces of "Nabokov's Dozen") and align the butterflies in "The Circle" to their corresponding colors - red, green, blue, and brown.

Objective: To be the player who "catches" the most butterflies (players can preset an agreed upon number to make the game long or short). A golden butterfly is awarded for each correctly answered question.

To begin the game, each player chooses a color and places the butterfly of his/her chosen color on the board. The game is played with one die. Players may move in any direction once they are on the board. Moving through the circle counts as one move. If someone lands on "his/her" color, the player automatically catches a butterfly.

Signs and Symbols: When a player lands on the Nabokov's Dozen (a square marked by the number "12"), he/she rolls two dice. Whenever the number 12 is rolled, a player catches two butterflies and has a privilege to roll two dice again.

"?" - Means answer trivia question; if the answer is correct, roll again.

Happy hunting!


  1. In "A Nursery Tale," Frau Monde restricts Erwin to select girls in what type of number?
    • Even
    • Odd
    • Prime
    • Divisible by 3
  2. In "An Affair of Honor" who does Anton Petrovich select for his second in the duel?
    • Mityushin
    • Fyodor
    • Berg
    • Gnushke
  3. "A Dashing Fellow" contains references to which mythology?
    • Norse
    • Egyptian
    • Greek
    • Russian
  4. What is the mode of travel in "Cloud, Castle, Lake"?
    • Horse
    • Car
    • Boat
    • Train
  5. What game is played in "An Affair of Honor"?
    • Checkers
    • Poker
    • Russian Roulette
    • Chess
  6. Where is Lolita when her mother dies?
    • Boarding School
    • Store
    • Home
    • Camp
  7. What is Mrs. Haze's first name?
    • Stella
    • Charlotte
    • Louise
    • Mariposa
  8. In "A Dashing Fellow," the reader is told 'Everyman is…' Who?
    • Pushkin
    • Hoffman
    • Offenbach
    • Oedipus
  9. What type of writing begins the fourth chapter of "The Gift"?
    • End of song
    • End of sonnet
    • End of limerick
    • Incomplete sentence
  10. What was Nabokov's pseudonym while writing in Paris?
    • Vokoban
    • Tolstoyevsky
    • Petrovich
    • Sirin
  11. How does Lolita's mother die?
    • Shot by Quilty
    • Hit by train
    • Shot by Humbert
    • Hit by car
  12. What was the original title of "Details of a Sunset"?
    • Klara and Clouds
    • Beautiful Twilight
    • Lightning Strikes
    • Catastrophe
  13. In "The Return of Chorb," death is associated with:
    • Electricity
    • Rain
    • Blindness
    • Black sack
  14. In chapter one of The Gift, who is Fyodor's literary artistic mentor?
    • Tyutchev
    • Pushkin
    • Chernyshevsky
    • Gogol
  15. Lolita was "who" in slacks? (According to Mr. Humbert)
    • Lo
    • Dolores
    • Dolly
    • Lola
  16. Nabokov was married in _____ to Véra Slonim.
    • 1915
    • 1920
    • 1925
    • 1930
  17. On which day did Lolita die during childbirth?
    • New Year's Day
    • Her birthday
    • Christmas Day
    • Mr. Humbert's Birthday
  18. Of the following authors, which one did Nabokov NOT translate?
    • Pushkin
    • Lermontov
    • Bulgakov
    • Tyutchev
  19. In Lolita Mrs. Haze's features are described as a "weak solution" of who?
    • Betty Grable
    • Marlene Dietrich
    • Marilyn Monroe
    • Mae West
  20. Humbert Humbert died of what condition?
    • Acute Angina
    • Coronary Thrombosis
    • Broken heart
    • Stroke
  21. In Chapter Two of The Gift, what is Santa Claus wearing?
    • Red boots
    • Red mittens
    • Red underwear
    • Red stormcoat
  22. In Lolita, which of the following is NOT in the prison's library?
    • Christine
    • Elphinstone
    • Proust
    • Dickens
  23. Complete this sentence from The Gift: "A __________ inscribed in a circle."
    • Dream
    • Poem
    • Triangle
    • Spiral
  24. In Lolita, what is the color of the car that follows Lolita and Humbert?
    • Black
    • Red
    • Blue
    • White
  25. What is Lolita's intelligence quotient?
    • 116
    • 95
    • 121
    • 130
  26. In Lolita, who does Lolita become by marriage?
    • Mrs. Beckett
    • Mrs. Locke
    • Mrs. Heidegger
    • Mrs. Schiller
  27. What chapter in The Gift, was omitted from the initial publication?
    • One
    • Two
    • Four
    • Five
  28. Of Nabokov's twenty novels, how many are written in English?
    • 5
    • 7
    • 10
    • 12
  29. At which of the following institutions did Nabokov NOT teach?
    • Stanford
    • Yale
    • Harvard
    • Wellesley
  30. What do the parents in "Signs and Symbols" struggle to give their son?
    • A home
    • Birthday present
    • Food and water
    • Shoes

Score =
Correct answers:

NOTE: "Nabokov 3820" seen on the box side in the images refers to the title of the course taught by Dr. Yuri Leving at Dalhousie University. The title of the game, Nabokov's Dozen, refers to the number of students in the class of spring 2007, when this specific project was submitted, as well as evokes the title of Nabokov's own volume of short stories. The game was devised by Ashley Moran as her final assignment in this course.

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