What it is: Essentially a get-to-know-you version of the game fruit basket.
Best for: A large group, probably at least 10 players. The game is designed to get to know things about strangers you might not know at all, but that doesn’t stop you from playing with a group of people who know each other well, either.
What you need: You’ll need a circle of chairs, one for every player in the game minus one. (So if you’re playing with 16 people, you’d need a circle of 15 chairs). Couches and other seats can work, too, as long as there are 15 distinct places to sit.
How to play: Start off with one player, like Matt, standing in the middle of the circle. He starts out as It. Everyone else sits around the circle. To start the game, Matt says a trait or characteristic out loud that might apply to one or more people in the circle. For example, he might call out, “Anyone who’s been on a ride in a hot air balloon.”
Other things he could call out:
- Anyone who’s tasted octopus
- Anyone who’s lived outside of the United States
- Anyone who really loves to read
Once Matt says “anyone who’s been on a ride in a hot air balloon,” everyone in the circle who’s been on a hot air balloon immediately jumps up and tries to run and claim a new seat. Matt runs along with them, trying to find a seat, and the new person left standing without a seat is the new It. (If it’s Matt, he just goes again.)
Say Julie is the new It. She would say something new: “Anyone who can do a cartwheel.” Immediately everyone who can do a cartwheel jumps up and must find a new seat, including Julie. Play continues until you want the game to end.
A couple of rules and pointers. You may be thinking, but people could lie! Yes, yes they could. If Julie called out, “Anyone who owns a season of Fraggle Rock on DVD,” and no one else seemed to be jumping up and you were a little ashamed to admit that you actually do own Season 1 (as I may or may not…), you could stay put and no one would be the wiser. But, come on, where’s the fun in that? It’s a get to know you game, no one will judge, and everyone will be happy to know each other better. So don’t be afraid to be honest. 🙂
Also, you’ll realize that the more people the statement applies to, the more people will jump up. So it’s fun to kind of vary the statements from things like “Anyone who has synesthesia” (my husband does, by the way) to “Anyone who’s flown on an airplane.” That way some rounds have tons of people jumping up, and some rounds maybe just have a few or one. That’s OK; all are fun ways to get to know the other players.
Also, in the original game fruit basket, there’s one special round you can call where everyone has to jump up. I think that’s a fun way to play, so you could set a special trait that applies to everyone in your group, and the player who’s It would have the option of calling that at any time. So for example, if you’re playing at a company party and you’ve got a lot of workplace pride, the apply-to-everyone call could be, “Anyone who works for the best company in the world.” Other examples:
- Anyone who’s related to me! (for a big family reunion)
- Anyone who loves Fraggle Rock! (for a Fraggle Rock fan club meeting)
- Anyone who’s sitting down!
Just find something that everyone has in common and have that be your standard everyone-gets-up call.
Alternately, players in the middle could have the option to come up with their own applies-to-everyone phrases if they wanted to.
Variations: I’ve already linked to the normal version of fruit basket. This is also a kind of similar game to newspaper. And finally, you could take out the running and competition and just say these types of traits or experiences out loud and have people stand or raise their hand if the statement applied to them. It would take out a lot of the fun, but it would still be a relatively unique way to get to know each other and could be played easily in any situation (on a bus, in an auditorium, etc.)
Printables: If you need help coming up with things to say, I made a printable list for you! You could look at this ahead of time for ideas, or the person in the middle of the circle could always have it to look at for reference; however you want to play.