Best for: A group of about 10 to 20.
What you need: Somewhere to play with enough seats for everyone, arranged in a more or less a circle. Also a rolled-up newspaper. (This will be used to lightly whack each other with and could easily be substituted with something else: a foam baseball bat, the cardboard middle of a roll of paper towels, etc.)
How to play: Let’s say you’re playing as a get-to-know-you game. First, have everyone sit in a circle. Then, since your players don’t all know each other, go around the room and have everyone say his or her name a few times, so everyone can start to learn names. If you have two people with the same first name, learn their first name and last initial.
Next, choose one player to be It (we’ll call him David). David holds the rolled-up newspaper and stands in the middle of the circle. David’s goal is to whack one of the other players with the newspaper, which will let him trade spots and sit down while someone else becomes It. But David can only hit certain players at certain times.
To start the game, choose one player, like Katie, to begin. She starts by saying the name of someone else sitting in the circle, like Greg. As soon as she says Greg’s name, David can hit Greg with the newspaper. But as soon as Greg says another name, like Violet, David has to target Violet instead. If David whacks Violet with the newspaper after her name is said but before she can say a new name, she’s It and David gets to sit down.
It’s a good get-to-know-you game for David because he has to remember everyone’s names so he knows who to tag. And it’s a good get-to-know-you game for everyone else because they have to remember each other’s names so they can call them out.
Variations: If you’re playing with a group of people and you all know each other, using your first names might be too easy. So make the game more fun by assigning everyone a state, or a fruit, or something else in a category of your choosing. Now everyone has to remember each other’s assigned names, making the game more challenging and fun.
You could make the game even more challenging by tying the name to the chair, instead of the person. So if David was it but tagged Greg and then sat down in Greg’s seat, David would assume Greg’s name until he moved to a different chair. Make sense? That might get confusing, but it could be a fun way to make the game more challenging.
This game is also a variation on the theme of signs, just not as quiet as signs.