Thursday, 12 November 2015

Bonnie's Good Game List + Goodbye

I'm sure you've been at an event where games have been run before. Whether it's icebreaker games in a more formal group setting, vigorous games at a kids camp, competitive games at a birthday party.... games are great for having fun. And someone has to run those games.

I've had to run games at kids camps, birthday parties, family get togethers and all sorts in the past. I'm sure I will need to in the future, too.

So, given that it's likely you'll end up running games at some point in your life, how do you know what games to run?

Really, the best way I've found to find good games is to watch closely when others are running games and you're a participator. 

That way you can easily and quickly see if it works. How it's run. How it plays out in a group setting. What the group thinks of it. What group size it works with. And the best thing? It becomes tried-and-true.

Of course, you can go through a games book and pick out a couple that sound good. But you don't know how well they'll work because you haven't tried them before.

Whenever you're a participator and someone else is running games, take careful notice of what games they play. If you finish the game thinking, "that was fun!", "that was a good game!" or "I wanted to keep playing that game", you've quite possibly found a new game to add to your list of good games.

Now that I've just been preaching that the best way to find good games is to find them in real life, I'm going to give you a list of my favourite games. :P Haha.

Maybe you've heard them, maybe you haven't, but here are my top seven favourite games to run.

1. Ball Through Legs (I don't know it's actual name)
Group size: Any
Agility level: Somewhat high
Equipment needed: A ball

All participants, facing outwards, stand in a circle. Each participant has their feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Everyone must be touching the feet of his or her neighbour so the circle is continuous and there aren't any gaps in the circle of feet apart from in between the legs of individual players.
The aim of the game is to try and get the ball to go through the legs of another player, while keeping it away from the gap between your legs. Everyone is facing outwards of course, and they can only use their hands to push the ball around. As soon as the ball goes through someone's legs from inside the circle to outside the circle, that player is out. When someone is out, the circle must be closed up tighter.
Works well with vigorous people and can be quite hilarious because when you're facing outward with your hands in front of you so the ball doesn't go through your legs, it can be hard to see what's going on with the ball in the circle!

2. Empires
Group size: Between about 10 and 30ish would work best
Agility level: None needed
Equipment needed: Slip of paper for each player, pen for each player

Each player sits around the room. Everyone writes on their paper a secret name for themselves. It could be anything - Cleopatra, Gerald, Ferdinand, the name of someone in the room, whatever. All the papers are then folded and given to someone (best to be the player who won't know anyone's handwriting; or an innocent bystander). That someone reads out each name, one by one. Everyone tries to remember as many names as possible. The list of names is read twice. Then someone begins the guessing.
The aim of the game is to build your own 'empire' by correctly guessing which fake name belongs to which player.
For example, I might say to Danella, "Danella, are you 'Herbert'?" If Danella's secret name wasn't Herbert, Danella would then be able to guess. If, however, I had guessed correctly, Danella would leave her seat and come sit next to me. She would have become part of my empire. I could then have another turn.
While my own secret name remains unguessed,  I am able to guess others and add them to my empire. As soon as my name is guessed, me and my whole empire of people I have guessed go and join the empire of the person who found out my secret identity.
The winner is the person who stays right to the end and remains unguessed. They will end up with the entire group of players in their empire.
This is a truly great game. :) Definitely one of my favourites!

3. Balloon Stomp
Group size: Any - more is better!
Agility level: High
Equipment needed: Piece of string (1-2 feet long) and a balloon for each player

Each player blows up a balloon and attaches it to their ankle using the piece of string. Upon the game beginning, players must run around and try to stomp on everyone's balloons using their feet. If your balloon is stomped on, you are out. Of course, each player is trying to get others out while protecting his or her own balloon. The last player with an intact balloon is the winner.
This is always a high-energy game that is rather fun to watch.

4. Taco, Nacho, Burrito
Group size: Any
Agility level: Low
Equipment needed: None

All players stand in a group with the leader in front of them, like in Simon Says (I'm going to assume you know how to play that one!). The leader turns around so his or her back is to the group. Each player standing in the main group then individually chooses and assumes a position - either Taco, Nacho or Burrito.
Taco = Arms out to the side
Nacho = Hands above head with fingertips touching forming the point of a triangle
Burrito = Forearms together up against chest
When the group is all in a position, the leader quickly chooses and assumes a position also and turns round to face the group. Each player who is in the same position as the leader is out and must sit down. The game is played as many times as it takes to whittle the group of standing players down to one, who is the winner.
This is a great game and works well with people of any age. Warning: it doesn't take very long! Don't play it if you're looking for a long game.

5. Plain Clothes Man
Group size: Any reasonable size
Agility level: High
Equipment needed: Handkerchief or small object

One player goes out of the room, while the others stand in a fair-sized circle, putting a handkerchief or small object on the floor in the middle. They also settle upon one of their number to be the plain clothes man.
The one from outside is then called in; he is of course ignorant of the identity of the detective. His aim is to snatch up the object from the middle of the ring and escape without being touched. Those forming the circle must be careful to stand sufficiently far apart to allow fair gaps between each two players. As soon as the thief has picked up the object, but not before, the plain clothes man may spring after him and try to touch him, but if both thief and plunder get to the outside of the ring then they are safe.
I haven't actually tried this game myself yet (I know, shocking!) but it sounds like a really good game and I'm planning to try it. I have a friend who has tried it and said it works great, so it is tried and true. :P

6. Picture and Sentence
Group size: Upwards of four or so, large numbers don't matter at all
Agility level: None
Equipment needed: A strip of paper and a pen/pencil per player

The game begins with each player writing a short sentence or phrase at the top of their strip of paper. It could be anything, from "The apple has a worm in it" to "I can't tell the time".
Then the papers are passed around to the next player, which direction it doesn't matter, as long as the direction is the same the whole game. We usually pass the paper to the player on our right.
Each player then looks at the sentence on his new paper and draws a picture of the sentence underneath it. If it was my first example, for example, I would draw an apple with a worm in it. Then the sentence is folded back so only the picture can be seen, and the papers are passed once more.
Each player then looks at the picture and writes a sentence below it describing the picture. When that is done, they fold the picture back so only the sentence is visible and pass it on again.
The game continues in this vein. If a picture is visible, you write a sentence; is a sentence is visible, you draw a picture. The pictures don't have to be incredible- stick figures are always good! :)
When you've filled up the whole strip of paper and you get to the bottom, the game ends. Unfold the papers and pass them around for general enjoyment. No one wins but everyone wins. I guess it's not such a 'game' as such but I'm putting it in the list because it's really good still. The papers are often hilariously funny.
This one is a favourite in my family. It's especially great to play with friends.

7. Continuous Tag
Group size: Any - the more players, the longer the game will go for.
Agility level: High
Equipment needed: None

This is a game of tag where every player is in. The only way to tag someone is to touch them below the knee. The rules are simple: If you are tagged below the knee, you are out for the time being and must sit down where you were tagged. Then you watch the person who tagged you. When someone else tags them, you are allowed up again and can run around tagging others below the knee as before. Basically, if you're tagged, you're down, if the person who tagged you is down, you're up.
It's called Continuous Tag because it keeps going - players popping up and down all the time.  The only way to win is to tag every player, hence the game is more difficult with more players. You will likely find it keeps going on forever because none of the players can tag everyone - so stop it when you see fit.

And there you go! My seven favourite games. I tried to pick ones you may not have heard of before.

Also, to completely change the subject, Danella and I are going on an overseas missions trip for three and a half weeks leaving on the 13th of November. Annnnnd given that I probably won't have much internet access (also I will be kind of busy) and that I haven't scheduled ANY posts to cover that period, you get to have a break from posts being posted on Bonnie's Blessings for a month or so!

So, I hope you have a fantastic month and that you don't miss me too much... and I'll tell you about the trip when I get back!

(Also this is my 550th post!!!)

God bless you! (Also what are your favourite games?) Wow that was a lot of 'Also's.
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  1. I like, Capture the Cones, Find the Leader and I also like Continuous Tag. Those are a couple. Have a great mission trip. :)

    1. Haha, you must enjoy CEF camps then! :) Your three favourite games!
      Thank you! :)

  2. Thanks for listing these games Bonnie. I will miss you. ( I do apologize so much for not getting my post to you so you could post it during you're gone. :( ) I hope you enjoy yourself immensely. I can't wait to hear about it when you get back.


    1. No problem, Ashley! As you have probably figured I am back now... I enjoyed myself immensely! :)

  3. 550!!!!! What??!!!! (in the voice of the minion from Despicable Me)

    Allie D.


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