One hundred

100What it is: A not-too-silly, not-too-extreme, sitting down, quiet, yet still intense group game.

Best for: Group of at least 10ish.

What you need: Each player needs a piece of paper to write on. You also need one die and one pen.

How to play: Everyone sits in a circle, either around a table or on the floor. One person starts out with the pen, and the person to their left starts out with the die.

Let’s say Paul has the pen, Tasha is to his left with the die, and Adam is sitting to Tasha’s left. When the game starts, Paul starts writing legible numbers, starting with 1 and going up to 100, as fast as he can on his paper, while Tasha starts rolling the die as fast as she can, trying to roll a six. As soon as she does roll a six, she gets to grab the pen from Paul and start writing numbers on her paper, while Adam grabs the die and tries to roll a six. As soon as he does, he grabs the pen, and the person to his left starts rolling. Play proceeds around the circle like this. The next time Paul gets the pen, he starts writing where he left off. The first person to write to 100 on their paper wins.

Variations: This game is a little like the candy bar game, sort of. But while the candy bar game is pretty silly, one hundred is better for older players, and it’s a good game to play if you have a big group and want a game to play, but still want to be able to talk and laugh, because the people who aren’t rolling or writing will be able to chat and laugh all they want without worrying about the game, until it’s their turn.

Update: I’ve also heard this game called roll-and-write, played with two dice where players try to roll doubles instead of a six, and where you can also make the game more interesting by encouraging tackling and trash talking. :)


poolWhat it is: A way fun physically active game played around a pool table.

Best for: Group of about 5 to 10 players.

What you need: A pool table with plenty of room around it to move in. And a group of people to play.

How to play: First, get rid of all the balls except for the eight ball and the cue ball. Those are the only ones you’ll need. You won’t need any cue sticks, either. Next, decide playing order by lining up around the table. Remember who you go after.

The object of the game is to always keep the eight ball moving. If it stops moving on your turn, you get a letter. If you get four letters (S, P, A, and Z), you’re out of the game.

Here’s how it works. Everyone lines up in order around the pool table. Let’s say Kim is playing, and it’s her turn. She steps up to one short end of the pool table and grabs the cue ball. Then another player stands on the opposite side of the table, grabs the eight ball, and rolls it across the pool table pretty hard, so it starts bouncing back and forth between the two ends. Kim’s job is to roll the cue ball and hit the eight ball with it. As soon as she hits the eight ball, her turn is over and she moves away from the table. Then the next player (say, Frank) is up. He grabs the cue ball and has to hit the eight ball, too. If the eight ball loses momentum and stops moving before he can hit it, he gets a letter.

Now, there are two important rules. First, the player who’s up must always stand between the pockets on either short end of the table:


No standing on the long ends; only on the short ends. Second, you can only hit the eight ball when it’s on the opposite side of the table as you. So in the above picture, pretend there’s an invisible line connecting the two middle pockets on the long ends. If the eight ball is on the left half of the table, you have to be on the right side, and vice versa.

That’s where the physically active part comes in—as the eight ball keeps rolling across the table, you end up running around it a lot to make sure you’re on the opposite side before you can hit the eight ball. You end up jogging more and more if the eight ball is on the other side, you roll the cue ball towards it, and you miss—then you’ve gotta run around the table, grab the cue ball, run back around, and hope the eight ball hasn’t stopped moving yet. There are no limits on how many times you can miss, as long as the eight ball keeps moving. Also, if you accidentally hit the eight ball when it’s on the same side of the table as you, you get a letter.

There’s one more way to get a letter in spaz: if the person whose turn precedes yours knocks the eight ball into a pocket. So say Kim’s up again, and she grabs the cue ball and rolls it towards the eight ball. The eight ball is hit and rolls right into the corner pocket—that means Frank, who goes after Kim, gets a letter. He also loses his turn and the person after him starts again.

So that’s spaz. Play proceeds around the circle. Keep track of your letters, and when you get all four, you’re out. The number of players gets smaller and smaller as players are eliminated, until a sole champion remains.

If you want to see a sample game, here’s one. Just letting you know, the video quality isn’t super great, it’s noisy, and it’s not super clear, but hopefully it’ll help give you an idea if you’re a little lost.

Spaz sample

Strategies: One of the best strategies is, when it’s your turn, to wait until the eight ball is moving pretty slowly, almost stopped, and then very lightly hit it with the cue ball. Then the player after you really has to hustle to avoid getting a letter. Of course, hitting the eight ball into a pocket is a great strategy, too. But often the game is so fast-paced that aim might not have much to do with it. :-)

Cautions: This game is best suited for teens and older. Be careful of smashed fingers or flying pool balls…yes, very careful.


sockWhat it is: One of those invade-your-personal-space group games that leaves you laughing in the end.

Best for: About 9 players.

What you need: A pair of longer-than-ankle socks that you don’t particularly care about, because they’ll probably get a little stretched out. And a room with enough space for everyone to sit in a circle on the floor.

How to play: First, get ready by taking the pair of socks, wadding one sock into a ball, and stuffing it into the toe of the other sock. Then pick one person to be It (let’s say it’s Tom). Next, have everyone else form a circle by sitting on the floor with their legs bent in front of them, feet flat on the ground, knees up. The circle should be tight enough that everyone is shoulder-to-shoulder with the person next to them.

The person who’s It, Tom, kneels or squats in the middle of the circle. Everyone in the circle puts their hands under their legs so Tom can’t see them. To start the game, someone in the circle starts out with the sock. The point of the game is to pass the sock from person to person, under everyone’s legs, without Tom seeing (or at least grabbing) the sock. If he sees or suspects he sees it, he makes a grab for it. If Jill has the sock and is trying to pass it off to Melissa, but Tom sees and grabs it from Jill first, that means Jill is the new It.

Strategies: If Tom is It and in the middle of the circle and his back is turned to you, and you have the sock, you can get daring and pull it out and bop Tom with it (the sock is the perfect shape for that). Then you’ve got to move quick to pass the sock on before Tom grabs it. But it makes the game more fun (or mean, I guess).

Name that tune

musicWhat it is: A simple, easy game that can be played with two or lots of people.

Best for: 2 players or however many more you want.

What you need: Just people who know and like music. Optional: something that plays music (piano, guitar, iPod speakers, you know).

How to play: The basic game is simple. Someone picks a song and starts humming or singing it. Then the other players try to guess which song it is. Or, instead of singing or humming, you can play songs on the piano, one note at a time, or from a CD in the car, or with an iPod, or anything that makes music. You could take turns singing or playing songs, or have one designated song-player. You could choose a theme (oldies, Disney, movie scores, 90s pop) or leave it open. And I suppose you could keep score, but you don’t have to at all.

Variations: If you’re into music but not singing, you could play name that tune by reciting lyrics instead of humming or singing.

The human knot

human knotWhat it is: An old classic, and one of my favorites—when played with people I knew well. Otherwise…well, let’s just call it a get-to-know-you game.

Best for: Big group of 10 to like 18 players.

What you need: A bunch of people.

How to play: Have everyone stand in a circle, shoulder to shoulder. Tell everyone to put their right hand in the middle and then grab someone else’s hand (preferably with no peeking). Repeat with everyone’s left hand. Now you should have a big mob of people—a knot, if you will—and everyone should be holding on to two other people’s hands. The task? Untangle the knot! It will involve teamwork, communication, stepping over arms, twisting around, and probably lots of flexibility. The only rule is that no one may break a hand hold. Once the knot is untangled, you should have a big circle, or maybe two separate smaller circles, or maybe two circles that interlock. Either way, the knot is untangled. Ta da!

Variations: Playing in the pool can be extra fun because the weightlessness makes it easier to duck around and through the knot. Just make sure that everyone can reach the bottom! I’ve also played with a “doctor”—one person who isn’t part of the knot but who walks around and directs everyone on how to untangle it.