Best for: Group of 6 to 12.
What you need: Just people to play.
How to play: Sit all of your players in a line. The player at one end of the line (we’ll call her Janna) thinks of a phrase or saying. It can be something made-up; in fact, it’s often funnier if it is. Something like, for example, “The cow ate the apple pie.” It can be as silly as Janna wants, about people in the room or about something random.
Once Janna thinks of her phrase, she whispers it quietly in the ear of the player next to her, Robby. Robby listens carefully, and then once Janna finishes whispering her phrase, he leans over and whispers it in the ear of the player next to him. The game continues like this, with the phrase being passed all the way down the line of players.
Now if Robby doesn’t clearly hear the phrase Janna whispers or it doesn’t make much sense to him, he CAN’T ask Janna to repeat it – that’s a rule. Each player is only allowed to say the phrase once. So if Robby didn’t hear right, he just has to guess the best he can at what the phrase might be and whisper it to the next player.
That’s where the fun of the game comes in, because by the time the phrase reaches the end of the line, it’s usually so different from the original as to be silly. Once the last player (we’ll call him Benny) has the phrase whispered in his ear, he repeats it out loud to the other players, and then everyone laughs at the absurd differences in the sentences, perhaps as what started as “The cow ate the apple pie” ends as “Now Nate learns to fly.”
To play another round, have Janna move to the end of the line and let Robby start the next phrase.
Variations: Telephone is a good simple game, but there are some more involved – and fun – variations involving charades and pictionary. Watch for posts on them soon!