Over the Christmas holiday’s someone suggested we play a game we use to play in college (Sardines). My first reaction was “we are too old for that and “it will be boring”. I realized that I was displaying the first symptoms of old age. We went ahead and played the game and had a great time.
So as a reminder to myself of the importance of having fun, we’ve compiled this list of fun group games. If you have any suggestions, please add them in the comments.
This is kind of like hide and go seek in reverse. One person hides and everyone goes looking for them. When the hider is found, the searcher hides with them. As more and more searchers hide with the hider, it usually becomes increasingly difficult to stay hidden. The name comes from the way everyone hiding starts getting packed in like sardines in the hiding place.
I played this with a large group of friends in college. We were outside at night with minimal light from a distant streetlight. The person hiding laid down in the shadow of a telephone pole. They were pretty much invisible until someone tripped over them. The first person who found them also laid down in the shadow until there was a long string of people that were impossible to see until you stumbled over them.
For this game everyone sits in a circle. There is one moderator running the game. Everyone gets a card that indicates if they are a townsperson (most everyone), policeman (two people) or mafia (one person), but everyone’s identity is kept secret. To finish the game setup, everyone goes to sleep. Everyone closes their eyes and pats their legs to help add some sound. Then the moderator tells the police to wake up (open their eyes) so they can guess who the bad guys (mafia) are. They both have to agree on one guess per round. The moderator then tells the policemen if their guess was right or wrong, and then the police go back to sleep.
Then the moderator has the criminal wake up so that he or she knows who the other criminal is. While awake, the mafia choose someone to “kill.” The two mafia have to agree on who to get rid of by using hand gestures and agreeing, then they both go back to sleep. They can only terminate one person in each round. After the police and mafia have chosen, the moderator tells everyone to wake up. The moderator then breaks the bad news of who perished at the hand of the mafia the previous night. The police can reveal to the townspeople who the mafia are if they know, but no one knows for sure if the person telling them that is really one of the policemen. It could be the mafia trying to shift suspicion to an innocent bystander! If someone is “dead,” they cannot speak, but must watch the proceedings silently.
Eventually, if the mafia kill all of the policemen and townspeople before the citizens guess who the mafia are, the mafia win. However, if one of the townspeople puts a nomination up to put a suspected mafia on trial, everyone votes whether or not to “kill” that person. If the trials are successful and both mafia are terminated, then the townspeople win.
3. Capture the Flag
This game is particularly fun if you have a nice big yard or field to play it in and plenty of people. It is also more fun if it is played after dark. Everyone divides into two teams, each with its base at opposite ends of the field. Each team has a “flag” that they hide somewhere on their end of the field. This flag should be white or another bright color to make it possible, but not easy, to find in the dark.
A person from a team is only “safe” if they are standing in their own base zone. Anyone who is in the middle or on an enemy base is fair game to be tagged. If someone from Team 1 tags a person from Team 2, the tagged person is now a “prisoner” and is taken back to the enemy base. That person can only be rescued if one of his/her teammates sneaks over and tags the prisoner without being caught, themselves.
What makes this game particularly fun is it can be hard to tell who is friend or foe! This can work in your favor if you are trying to sneak over to the enemy base, but it can also make it difficult to spot invaders. If you or one of your teammates finds the enemy flag, your team is immediately victorious.
4. Car Keys
I played this game in high school, and it is neat because you can involve any number of players. The more the better. It’s kind of a mix between flag football and tag, and there are no teams. It’s every man (or woman) for themselves.
Each participant has two long strips of cloth looped around their belt or belt loops, one on the right and one on the left, so that the ends hang down. The moderator signals the game to start, and the object of the game is to steal everyone’s “car keys” and “park” them.
Once both your keys (strips of cloth) have been stolen, you are “parked” and can’t move unless you reach out towards a by passer and steal their keys without moving, yourself! This game is hilarious to watch, especially if someone gets stopped in their tracks by a parked person. I do have one warning, though. Clothes can be ripped and fingers broken if anyone gets too rough. Just be sure to warn the players to be careful.
5. Do you love your neighbor?
In this game, each person has one blown up balloon tied to each leg. There is no limit to how many people can play, except for how much space you have to play in! The balloons have to be kept facing outward. Once the game starts, the object is to step on your neighbor’s balloons and pop them without getting yours popped! If both of your balloons are popped, then you are out. The last person with an un-popped balloon is the winner. One warning: Stomped toes may result from this game.
6. Chubby Bunny
This game is messy, but very, very funny. The object of the game is simple: stuff as many jumbo marshmallows as you possibly can in your mouth while still being able to say, “chubby bunny!” You add one marshmallow with every round. If someone begins to spew marshmallow all over the place, they are disqualified. The last person standing, wins! You might want to wear old clothes when playing this and have trash cans nearby.
7. Sock and Bop
This game involves flour-filled socks. The version that I played in high school was kind of like a glorified version of tag. The group divides into two teams. Every person was armed with a tube sock full of white flour. If you were hit with a sock-bopper from the opposite team, you were “frozen” and could not move until another person on your team came and tagged you free (not with the sock!). This game is better played outside since it is so messy, players should wear old clothes, and players should also be careful not to hit others too hard.
This one makes a good indoor game if you have lots of people, especially. Everyone lines up sitting in chairs facing those in the opposite team. Members of the same team hold hands, and there is a table at one end of the line with a Nerf ball on it.
When a quarter is tossed and comes up on heads, that is the signal to “conduct” the electricity, meaning that each person must squeeze the hand of the teammate next to them down the line and towards the Nerf ball. You can only squeeze the hand of the person next to you if your own hand has been squeezed. If someone thinks they see heads and squeezes too early, that results in the end person snatching the Nerf ball. The erring team loses that round.
If it is not a false alarm and the hand squeezing goes further down the line, when it reaches the person closest to the Nerf ball, the end person tries to snatch the ball before the other end person from the opposite team. The members of the round-winning team all move down a seat after that round. The first team to get all of their people back in their own seats (where they originally were), wins the game!
9. Water Balloon Volleyball
This game is much like regular volleyball, except each team holds a sheet to catch one water balloon. Each team stands on their side of the net with a sheet and tries to catch the balloon when the other team tosses it over out of their sheet.
10. Dress-up Relay
This game can be hilarious, depending on the kind of old clothes used. Everyone divides into two teams and lines up relay style. At the other side of the room or yard, each team has a large pile of old clothes (hats, dresses, shirts, purses, scarves, socks, etc.).
Each person must run to his/her team’s pile and put on a whole outfit (something on the head, body and feet), and run back to tag the next teammate. The first team to finish wins the game. Note: You will need to find clothes that could fit a wide variety of people.
This game requires at least 18-20 people to play. Divide everyone into groups of three. Then take one person from every group and have them stand in a circle, leaving plenty of space in the middle. After that, have the other 2 teamates of the people in the circle line up behind them. There have to be two extra people after the groups of 3 are formed. One person to be “it,” and the other person to be whom “it” is chasing.
Once the game starts, the person being chased must get inside the circle and step into one of the lines of three. Since there can only be three people in a line, the person at the back of the line has to try to run and step in front of another line before “it” catches them. If the person is caught, that means whoever is “it” has a chance to step in front of a line to free themselves. If “it” doesn’t catch the other person, they must keep on trying until they successfully tag someone else to be “it.”