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Braden Family Games for Groups

Indoor Games Suitable for Church Groups, Adult Parties, Reunions, and Businesses

Games: We all love games.

All families have their favorite games. For example, beach games can include kickball, volleyball, bocce ball, and paddle games using a small ball. And there are games of playing catch, both on the beach sand and in the water. And when families gather in homes, there are also active games such as charades, and card games such as Go Fish, bridge, euchre, rummy, spades, slap jack, and war. Plus there are commercial games such as Uno, Battleship, and Scrabble.

Then there are also games for groups where outdoor and high activity games are not appropriate due to the age of the participants, the weather, or the lack of available outdoor space. This is where small group games come in. Okay, what is a small group? A small group is 4-6 people at a table, preferably four. So having a dozen or so people over to the house means about three groups, and having a Bridal Shower of around 30 means about seven groups. The logistics are that each team needs to sit at its own table. That way the games/contests are a team effort and no one should feel bad about the overall results. If possible, after each game the participants are "re-mixed" to sit at different tables so that the group members as-a-whole can get to know each other better.

So what type of games might we play? Well, we might start with one or two games where everyone competes against each other. Examples are:

  • Simple Riddles. This is where a certain situation is described and then people are asked a question that can be answered based on what they have heard. An example is the Bus Driver Game where the audience hears about a bus driver making stops, picking up people, and dropping off people as the bus makes its route. People then must be prepared to answer a question or two once the route has been described.

  • Observation Games. These games fall in the category of those where one or two people collaborate and communicate in a manner that the audience has to guess or games that have a code and one has to break the code to know how the game works.

    • There are games where one person knows the answer or knows how to do something and the audience tries to guess his or her secret. Here are six:

      • Petals around a Rose - In the Petals around the Rose game one person rolls the dice and then announces, "There are ___ petals around the rose." The blank is some number. Members of the audience are challenged to determine on how the dice-roller knows how many petals there are. Again: How does one know how the dice show petals?

      • Three-Five-Seven - A your-turn my-turn game like Tic-Tac-Toe. In the game Three-Five-Seven match sticks are arranged in rows: the top row has three match sticks; the middle row has five; and the bottom row has seven. Players take turn going first. Player having to take the last match stick is the loser.

      • My Aunt Tilley - Aunt Tilley has certain things she likes and certain things she does not like. Participants try to figure out what she likes and what she dislikes.

      • Pass the Scissors - Participants sit in a circle. A pair of scissors is passed clockwise around the circle. Participants must determine how to pass the scissors correctly.

      • Dudeney's Dissection - This one requires a bit of preparation. It is a game where every player is given an envelope with four colored pieces of cardstock. The tasks for each player are (1) to configure the four pieces into a triangle and then (2) to configure the same four pieces into a square. English mathematician Henry Dudeney introduced the famous (conversion) of a square into a triangle in his 1907 book The Canterbury Puzzles. Use the template and make exact cuts; you don't want players to say they could not complete the task because the pieces wouldn't "fit."

      • Cannibals and Missionaries - In the Cannibals and Missionaries game, three cannibals and three missionaries are traveling together. The missionaries are aware of the cannibals and that they are cowardly: they will only attack and eat someone like a missionary if there are - at any time - more cannibals than missionaries. They all come to a river that must be crossed by canoe. The canoe holds but two people. How to get everyone across a river without a missionary or missionaries being eaten?

    • There are also games where two people know the answer or know how to do something and the audience tries to guess their secret. Here are two:

      • The Magazine Game - Nine magazines on the floor and one team member goes out of the room so the audience can pick one of the magazines. The team member returns and is able to pick out the selected magazine. How is this done?

      • The Spoons Game - Ten spoons. One team member goes out of the room. The audience then selects a number between one and ten. With this information, the team member in the room creates a design using spoons. The other team member then returns and is able to provide the number after studying the spoons. How is this done?

    Group-Work-at-a-Table games:

    • Rebus Puzzles. A Rebus Puzzle is a game of guessing words in symbols, letters, numbers, and random pictures. Because it becomes something that requires problem-solving, Rebus belongs to the puzzle category. Like most puzzles, how to play Rebus Puzzle is to find the correct wording of the given clue. The clue given is something random but can be arranged into a word or phrase. To be a reliable Rebus player, you need lots of vocabulary. Because the Rebus puzzle is a game of brainteasers that dig into your memory for things, the Rebus puzzle is beneficial for your brain as well as being a fun game.

    • Trivia Games. You are having a high school reunion for the Class of 1985 ... how about a multiple choice Trivia Quiz on 1985 world and local events? (Note that multiple choice answer choices are good for ensuring that teams are not embarrassed by having to leave an answer blank.)

    • Break Your Brain Puzzles. These are not multiple choice but not so difficult that teams cannot come up with a respectable amount of correct answers. Here are two sample questions:
      1. Four years ago, Jane was twice as old as Sam. Four years on from now, Sam will be 3/4 of Jane's age. How old is Jane now?
      2. Which letter comes next in this series of letters?
          B A C B D C E D F ?

    • Cognitive Skills Quizzes. These are questions found on sample IQ tests. The questions are in the areas of Logical Reasoning, Mathematical Reasoning, Pattern Recognition, and Statistical Reasoning. The questions are not impossibly hard if tackled by a 4-person group, but these quizzes are definitely for serious puzzle-takers. A sample question from this category can be found here.

    • Situation Puzzles. In the game of situation puzzles, a mysterious situation is presented to a group of players, who must then try to find out what's going on by asking further questions. The person who initially presented the situation can only answer "yes" or "no" to questions (or occasionally answer "irrelevant"). Note that situation puzzles are interactive games -- that's what distinguishes them from riddles or logic puzzles.

    • Hands-On Games. And there are more active games that can still be played at a table, such as Build Something Games. This is where each table gets a set of materials and has a set time limit to (. . . build the tallest . . .) (. . . arrange the materials in a specified way) (. . . create the prettiest/ugliest . . .). There are a number of games in this category that are lots of fun.

    There are also card games that are easy to learn and can be played with 4-8 participants: