Out with friends, at family gatherings, on walks, in the pub, on the train or in the car – wherever you are and whatever you’re doing over the festive season, a bit of play can go a long way. Here are three games we love that you can play anywhere, anytime. Minimum of 2 players. No maximum.
In this game you make up new proverbs or wise sayings with each person contributing one word at a time. It’s a good idea to start with a word that might typically be used in a proverb or saying, e.g. Happiness, Only, Life, Nothing. At any point in the game, if someone thinks that the proverb is complete, they say ‘Mmm, wise’ and stroke their imaginary (or real) beard. Everyone joins in. Our shortest ever was ‘Hedgehogs float.’ Mmm, wise.
For the purposes of this game you are all one person. Somebody starts with a simple made-up statement e.g. ‘Last week I had my house valued.’ The next person chooses whether to continue with ‘fortunately’ or ‘unfortunately’ and adds the next sentence of the story. ‘Fortunately, the estate agent said it was worth a lot more than I thought.’ In this case, the next person uses ‘unfortunately’ for their sentence - ‘Unfortunately, I only thought it was worth £10’ – and speakers continue to alternate between ‘fortunately’ and ‘unfortunately’ until the story reaches a natural ending (or people have to return to their places of work.) This is particularly good to play with an odd number of people, so that everyone gets the chance to be an optimist and a pessimist.
Either one person tells a story, or two people have a conversation on a given subject, e.g. holiday plans. The ‘Director’ gets to say ‘new choice’ every time they want to change what has been said. The person who is speaking must immediately come up with a different version, e.g. ‘I’m thinking of going to Spain for my holiday.’ NEW CHOICE. ‘I’m thinking of going to Basingstoke for my holiday.’ NEW CHOICE. ‘I’m thinking of going to the moon for my holiday.’ NEW CHOICE. ‘I don’t think I’ll bother going on holiday this year.’ Note to the Director: as in this example, there is no limit to how many times you get the player to change what they have said, but it’s more fun if you sometimes let the story flow. It also means that people are more likely to be still talking to you after the game.
And remember – play is for life, not just for Christmas…