See also energisers.

There is a proven therapeutic benefit to laughing together with other people. It’s also a great way to build team relationships, and playing silly games is a great way of providing opportunities to laugh together.

Getting to know each other

See energisers.

Daft Games

Taskmaster

Everything from Taskmaster (see book). For instance…

  • Standing on a bridge and popping up every 30 seconds for 30 seconds. When you’re ducked down, somebody down below the bridge has to try and approach the bridge. Bit like What time is it Mr Wolf. Every time you pop up and bob down, blow a horn or make some kind of loud noise.

Picture consequences / Telephone pictionary

This is one of my favourite party games. It always makes me laugh a lot.

It’s similar to the Drawful game available at Jackbox games. Drawful works better remotely, but Picture Consequences works better in person. Another online version of this game is BrokenPicturePhone.

  • You need at least 5 people. More than 10 is probably getting a bit excessive.
  • Everybody gets a piece of A4 paper
  • Sit in a rough circle
  • At the very top of your sheet (leaving plenty of space below), you write a sentence. Ideally containing verb, subject and object (eg Person A (subject) did something (verb) to Person B (object)) and not too long, but really the sillier the better.
  • Pass the sheet to the person on your left.
  • Now everyone has a sheet of paper with a sentence at the top. Draw a picture immediately below which illustrates the sentence. Leave plenty of space below each drawing.
  • Now fold the paper backwards so that the sentence at the top has disappeared, and the only thing visible is the drawing.
  • Pass the paper to the person on your left.
  • Write a sentence which describes the picture you can see.
  • Fold the paper over backwards so the picture has disappeared but the new words are still visible.
  • Pass the paper to the person on your left.
  • Draw a new picture to illustrate the new words.
  • Fold the paper backwards so the new sentence at the top has disappeared, and the only thing visible is the new drawing.
  • Pass the paper to the person on your left.
  • Write a new sentence which describes the new picture you can see.
  • Pass the paper to the person on your left (no more folding necessary).
  • Now unfold the paper.
    • You should see two pictures and three sentences. The sentence at the top has been transfomred - via a process like Chinese Whispers - to the sentence at the end.
    • Take it in turns to read out the three sentences on your paper and laugh at the results.
    • Pass the papers around so that everyone can see the hilarious drawings.

Remote Games

Jackbox.tv

There are many different games available at jackbox. We particularly enjoyed:

  • Drawful (People draw pictures and then try to guess the descriptions - see Picture Consequences above, which is similar)
  • Fibbage (People are asked to invent definitions and then guess the correct ones)

Really Boring Website

Really Boring Website - you have to think of things beginning with a particular letter, then you vote for each other’s answers.

QuizBreaker

QuizBreaker - Virtual Team Building Game for Remote Teams

The Wikipedia game

  • One person chooses a wikipedia page, eg “Harry Potter”. Somebody else then chooses an entirely unrelated wikipedia page - eg “Scissors”.
  • It is then the job of the entire group to try and get from the first page to the second one ONLY by clicking links in the page content.
  • You can’t click on links anywhere else on the page, you can’t use the search function, you can’t use the back button, you can’t even use Ctrl+F to search the words on the page itself (you have to scan with your eyes).
  • First person to land on the second page wins, and has to choose the next page that everyone must try and reach (from the page reached in the previous round).

The lip-reading game

  • Take it in turn for one person to mute themselves and say something towards the camera.
  • Other players have to lip-read and guess what the person is saying.
  • First person to guess correctly is the next person to mute and speak.
  • As for what to say, phrases are harder (and funnier) than single words.
  • Give all players a chance to maximise the person talking (as in, make them big on their screen so they can see them better) before they start.
  • It can be surprisingly difficult, so you can set a timer and after a certain amount of time (eg one minute) you’re allowed to ask a Yes/No question before each repetition of the person saying the thing.
  • You can choose a category - eg film titles - although film titles are surprisingly easy to guess (it’s funnier if it’s harder, because then you get more hilarious bad guesses - for instance when my son guessed “military bag of raw meat” instead of “middle-aged man on roller skates”).
    • My favourite thing to use is the cards from a Cards Against Humanity set (use the white cards - the phrases that are used to fill in the blanks).
    • I’ve created a little web app that randomly generates Cards Against Humanity phrases for you to use.
    • You can also download a free version as a pdf here, under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license (CC BY-NC-SA).
    • It is acceptable for the current player (the mimer) to “pass” on any phrase and move onto the next.

Drawing on the top of your head

  • (Not obviously an online game but can easily be done when people are remote)
  • Get everyone to find paper, pen and something light to lean on (eg a book)
  • They place the paper on top of their head
  • Without lookng, they draw a series of things one by one, as per your instructions:
    • A line at the bottom to represent the floor
    • A Xmas tree resting on the floor
    • A fireplace with a mantlepiece, next to the tree
    • A star on top of the tree
    • A stocking hanging from the mantelpiece
    • Some baubles on the tree
    • A present under the tree
  • Now they can look at their drawings!
    • They can either score their own (easier if you are remote) or swap and score each other’s. Scoring system:
    • Tree is near floor: 2
    • Stocking is touching mantel: 2
    • Star is above tree: 2
    • One point for every bauble touching tree
    • Tree is touching fireplace: DEDUCT 2 (fire hazard)
    • Present is under tree: 2
    • Fire in fireplace: 1

Ageimals

  • Find a photo of an animal whose age you can verify
  • Give everyone four possible answers as to what their age might be
  • Use a poll for the guesses
  • Publish answers after a suitable interval
  • (This is a good one for Slack channels)
  • I have a (private) spreadsheet here with animal photos plus options + right answers here

Long words that can be divided phonetically into three

  • (I read about this in Hank Green’s novel, A Beautifully Foolish Endeavour)
  • eg “Dictionary” = “dick, shun, airy”
  • Pick a long word that can be divided phonetically into three smaller words, and describe them like this:
    • “At first I am an idiot, then I ostracise, and finally I’m light and free.” - The first person to guess the word wins.

20 Questions and variants

  • One person thinks of a thing or person
  • Everyone else asks them questions that can only have the answer Yes or No.
  • Traditionally you only got 20 questions, but we tend to just keep playing until you find out what the person / thing is.

A remote Zoom party

We had a zoom birthday party, but made it a bit unusual by having a series of calls throughout the day, with no call lasting longer than half an hour, all optional… but on each call we set our guests a Taskmaster-style challenge, and they had to present the results on the next call. They got scores for their efforts and there was a winner at the end of the day. 

The 5 challenges were:

  1. We asked guests in advance to (optionally) send something delightful or ridiculous that costs nothing, anonymously, in an envelope marked “Birthday party.” Then on the first call we opened all the envelopes and tried to guess who they were from.
  2. Make the unlikeliest thing wear an item of your clothing.
  3. Make yourself something delicious to eat or drink.
  4. Make the most passive-aggressive ransom note.
  5. Either: Choreograph a dance to a mobile ring tone, or write a limerick about the birthday person.

A sample passive-aggressive ransom note and limerick that resulted from the party:

A radical daughter of York  
Was a geek but she wasn't a dork.  
Her magical spreadsheets,  
And possibly bedsheets,  
Were only surpassed by her talk.  

ransom-note

The full description of the party is here (accessible to Clare only)

Coding Games

  • Play with css animation using Javascript expressions with tixy.land

The backward recording game

Use an app such as Reverse Play or Say it Backwards to…

  1. record yourself saying a phrase (eg a film title - or you could use CAH if you’re sure you won’t offend or upset anyone - downloadable here)
  2. play it backwards
  3. learn to say it backwards
  4. Record yourself saying it backwards
  5. Reverse the recording
  6. See if people can tell what you’re saying

Pass the parcel for adults

Put dares between the wrappers. Ideas for dares here (accessible to Clare only)