What Do You Want to Know?

by Rachel
(Oregon USA)

(Photo from jon jordan)

An excellent getting-to-know-you game must accomplish a few things:
  1. Get people to communicate,

  2. Get people to share their own thoughts and beliefs, and

  3. allow people to bond over similar thoughts or intelligent discussion.

Many getting-to-know-you games that we are all familiar with fail on a few of these parts. Usually, getting-to-know-you games have one person talk a lot for a few minutes, then move on to the next person, and the next and are a result of people talking AT each other rather than communicating with each other.

That is where "What Do You Want to Know?" excels at. I hope you have a great time with it! Many people have tons of questions that they are too scared to ask because they are worried people will judge them, they think they should know the answer, or they just do not want to admit to such silly thoughts.

When we play this game, those problems are not an issue. How you play is that everyone at the party has to write a question -- any question that is not a yes/no question. The best option is when you allow ANY question, but the question can easily be focused to fit the situation.

When it is time to play the game, have everyone gather and have the leader ask one of the questions. The leader cannot answer, but anyone else can. They can say what they think the answer is or what they feel or think about the question.

If the group does not know each other’s names, they can be required to say their name before they start talking. Allow the conversation to be very informal -- people can just jump in and say what they want to say without raising their hands or taking turns.

The leader is there to be a moderator in case anyone interrupts or starts to bully another person. To encourage discussion, the question basket can get handed around the room and each person can take a turn to choose a question and read it to the group.

They can then be required to read it first, or the person to their left can be the first to answer, etc. With the right group, this can be such an excellent game that it will be hard to get the group to stop playing.

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Icebreaker Question Game

by Linda Ronson
(California, United States)

A Game for All Types of Gatherings

A Game for All Types of Gatherings

(Photo from jontintinjordan)

One great game for breaking the ice at parties is taking turns creating a simple series of three statements that may or may not be true when it comes to describing you.

No accessories are needed and you can play it anywhere.

  • You start out with two comments that really are correct and one that is false.
  • The rest of the group has to figure out which they believe and which they do not.

The game is easily adaptable for different groups depending on the level of intimacy you use.

For office parties, you can stick to noncontroversial subjects like

  • Which foods you like
  • How many siblings you have.

For closer friends, you can reveal more personal information about your family life or recreational interests. You can even make all the questions match the theme of the party like focusing on how you know the guest of honor and the things you have done together.

I?ve played this game in both kinds of settings and had a lot of fun. It works well for any size group too.

One interesting aspect is finding out how well people lie because some individuals give themselves away and others remain composed no matter what they are saying.

It?s also fascinating to find out unusual things about people who you see every day at work but rarely think much about.

One co-worker said her grandmother went to school with Paul McCartney from the Beatles. That made her something of a celebrity in our eyes.

There can also be a practical side to all this. Instead of having to guess what people want for their Christmas gifts or what kind of birthday cake they would like, you can find out details that you can remember and store up for later.

This is a great icebreaker party game because it is so flexible and fun.

With easy modifications you can play it anywhere and anytime.

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The Speed Dating Game

(Photo from jon jordan)

Icebreakers can be a hard thing to pull off. This is especially true if there are many unfamiliar people in the room. But the "Speed Dating" game can be a fun way to get to know things about new people or even people you've known for a long time.

The game works best if there's an odd number of people. The leftover person should be the moderator. The moderator will be the person who is in charge of asking the ice breaking questions. Everyone else should split into two separate lines.

The moderator will then ask a question, such as "Where did you grow up?" or "What's your favorite food?"

You then have to give the answer to the person across from you and vice versa.

After time is up (about one to two minutes), the moderator will yell "SWITCH!" and the inside line moves to the right. You now have a new partner and a new question. The game can go on for as long or as little as the moderator likes, but should go on until everyone has talked to each person on the opposite side at least once.

For more advanced play, you could do a "fancy switch", which would entail every other person switching which line they are in with their partner and then the whole line moving over. This would ensure that you have gotten to know at least one thing about every person in the room.

Sample questions could include "What do you do for work?", "How many children do you have?" or "If you could travel anywhere and money was no object, where would you go?" for adults.

For children, it could be: "What school do you go to?"
  • "What grade are you in?"
  • "What's your favorite subject in school?"
  • "What's your favorite toy or hobby?"
  • "If you could do anything you wanted when you grew up, what would you like to do?"
  • You could also mix it up and do a "Speed Date Dare", like having to give your answer while hopping on one foot or having to make up a secret handshake with your partner. The possibilities are endless.

    It's an easy game that's sure to be a hit at your next icebreaker get-together. Happy "Speed Dating"!

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    Alphabet Madness

    by The Bicyclist (Juanita Mosk)
    (Tallahassee, Florida, USA )

    (Photo from Filter Forge)

    This is a game that can be played anywhere, with anything from two to around a dozen people. I’ve played this game with my daughter on long trips, in restaurants with friends, in people’s homes – literally this is a good game to play anywhere.

    All it takes is a good imagination. As the title suggests, it focuses on the alphabet, but goes way beyond most alphabet games. It started out as the road trip game everyone plays, trying to find all the letters in the alphabet, in order, on signs and license plates while traveling on the road.

    However, there are just not enough signs, and it gets boring rather rapidly. So we expanded on it. The first thing you have to do is come up with a category. Some of the best categories we have come up with are:
    • Worst gifts to give a man

    • Worst form of transportation to show up in for a first date

    • Musical instruments

    • Things that are green

    • Things you never want to hear

    • Things you never want to eat

    • Names of rivers (worldwide)

    • Things you would never wear

    • Tongue twisters (you have to make this one up!)

    Things you could use a paperclip for hopefully you get the idea from this wide range of idea – use your imagination!

    Once the category is agreed upon, then everyone pitches in with ideas as each letter comes up. The hope is that you will come up with something for every letter in the alphabet, in order. You don’t need to take turns, you don’t need to keep score, nor write anything down.

    This takes no resources except for an imagination. The crazier the idea, the crazier the category, the more fun everyone has with the game. As an ice-breaker, it will quickly become obvious who the most creative people are, and it can open up a wide range of emotions and topics rapidly.

    This is a game I have played hundreds of times, and it still hasn’t gotten old! It is also great for keeping a participating driver awake on long drives.

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    Totally Wacky Sports

    What's Your Favorite Sports?

    What's Your Favorite Sports?

    (Photo from Rama V)

    My idea for a new icebreaker game is "Totally Wacky Sports!" In this, each participant first must think of their favorite sport, whether or not they have a favorite team or player.

    Perhaps the sport of which they are thinking is not a professional sport like football or hockey but is nonetheless a valid sport like water polo and handball. Any organized sport suffices!

    Now, in the game, once each participant is thinking of their favorite sport, everyone is selected in randomized order to stand up and act out one and only one common activity within the favorite sport that participant has selected.

    It could be anything from swimming a breaststroke (swimming, obvious) to wiggling one's hand up and down (yo-yo, subtle) to leaping up and down with the ball (basketball, ambiguous).

    However, and this is crucial, the participant must act out the activity in a highly exaggerated and goofy manner, not merely repeating the mechanical strokes but wildly injecting vigor and kinetic energy into their motions.

    The goal is not merely to properly act out the motion but also - and critically - to draw a large roar of laughter from the observing crowd. Beyond just having fun oneself, the participant should be encouraging a sense of mirthful connectivity with the crowd by performing exceedingly wildly and without restraint.

    Afterward, each participant shall be awarded a score of "Totally Wacky," "Pretty Wacky," or "Wacky." There are no negative rankings.

    Those who score enough "Totally Wacky" rankings from the crowd at large could then participate in a final event wherein each participating individual attempts to act out a predetermined sport action in an outrageously zany fashion.

    The winner of this second round is the winner of "Totally Wacky Sports!" Prizes may be awarded at the discretion of the hosts; otherwise, the game is merely for fun and everyone's general amusement.

    Beverage refreshments of the non-alcoholic variety might be advisable to serve immediately before or following this game in order to restore anyone's scratched vocal boxes. This game should be credited to Wyandotte, Michigan, USA.

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