Murder: Winks Version

What it is: A group game where you try to eliminate other players by winking at them. So, despite its spooky title, really it’s just a game that’s all about your eyes.

killer-1

Best for: Anywhere from a small to a large group. Ten or more would probably be ideal.

What you need: Just players and a way to randomly select one player to be the Murderer. This can be slips of blank paper, a deck of cards, anything as long as the identity of the Murderer can be a secret.

How to play: First, set up your playing area by sitting everyone in a circle. This can be cross-legged on the ground or in chairs/on couches. Everyone just needs to be able to see every other player.

Then, choose one player to be the Murderer. If you have a deck of cards, pull out one card for each player. Make them all non-face cards, except for one. Shuffle and have each player pick a card, face down. Whichever player draws the face card will be the Murderer. You can do the same thing with slips of paper. Just draw an X on one and fold them all up.

When you pick the Murderer, only the Murderer should know their identity. It should be a secret to everyone else.

So once the Murderer is established, have everyone sit in a circle and announce the start of the game.

For the Murderer, the objective is to murder (i.e. wink at) as many people as possible before being caught. The Murderer can wink at whoever they want whenever they want as often as they want.

For everyone else, the objective is to not die and to catch the Murderer as quickly as possible, thus saving as many lives as possible. You catch the Murderer by calling him or her out.

So let’s set up a sample game. Bobby is the Murderer, and only he knows that. Close after the start of the game, Bobby winks at Monica, who lets out a scream and falls on the floor.

That reminds me: optional dramatic deaths. The game gets extra fun if, whenever you “die,” you die a dramatic death: fall on the floor, gasp, shout out your famous last words, etc. Adds in an element of humor and drama. :) At the minimum, just announce you’re dead somehow and leave the circle.

After Monica dies, another player, Alex, was watching and thinks he saw a fourth player named Lindsay wink at Monica. So Alex says, “Lindsay, are you the Murderer?” To which Lindsay has to say, no, she’s not. At that point, Alex dies from his false accusation, so now two players are out. Bobby goes on winking at players when he can catch their eye contact, killing as quickly or as slowly as he wants. Both lead to a different game dynamic.

The game ends when someone says, “Bobby, are you the Murderer?” Or, in rare cases, when Bobby kills absolutely everyone else. Then Bobby wins.

It’s a kind of balancing game: for Bobby, he doesn’t want to necessarily kill too fast or too obviously. But if he doesn’t go fast enough, it gives players more time to discover him. For everyone else, they don’t want to spend too much time making eye contact with anyone just in case it’s the Murderer. But the game involves looking in eyes to try and figure out who is winking at whom. I like this game a lot; it’s suspenseful and fun.

To start another round, draw cards again to pick a new Murderer and go!

Variations: There’s another version of this game that’s a lot of fun. And along the murder theme, you can always try mafia!

Pictionades (pictionary meets charades): Star Wars version

What it is: A game I kind of made up that involves drawing (like pictionary) and acting (like charades). And in this version, Star Wars, in honor of my family’s Halloween costumes this year.

Best for: A big group, probably around 10.

What you need: A wipe-off board, the small-ish kinds you can hold in your hands. You’ll also need a dry erase marker and eraser and a specialized list of Star Wars actions to act out. I provide one below. :)

How to play: First divide your players into two teams. Like in a regular game of pictionary or charades, each team takes turns drawing/acting for their team members only to guess.

So let’s say team 1 is up: the Rebels (who are of course playing against the Empire). Unlike regular pictionary, the Rebels will send up two players, Han and Chewie (I’m sorry, I can’t resist). One player will hold the wipe-off board and marker (Han, since Chewie’s hands are too furry). Chewie will stand next to Han and be prepared to act.

A pretty intimidating duo to face, pictionary or no.
A pretty intimidating duo to face, even in pictionary.

Like pictionary and charades, no talking is allowed during the turn. At  the start of a timer, Han and Chewie pull a slip of paper with their first action to act out. It might be using the Force to lift an X-wing.

At “Go!” Han and Chewie start. They work together as a team, with Han drawing and Chewie (and also Han) acting to get their team members to guess the word.

So Han might draw an X-wing on the wipe-off board, then hold the board down low to the ground. Meanwhile, Chewie would hold out his hands, pretending to use the Force, and Han would slowly raise the drawing of the X-wing up off the ground. Get it? It’s a combination of acting and drawing that does it.

When your team members guess, try to be pretty literal with the answer matching the phrase on the card (for example, just saying “X-wing!” for the above example wouldn’t cut it). You want your team members to say the whole phrase.

When Han and Chewie finish their first phrase, they draw and act another, and keep going until the timer runs out. Oh, another rule: Han and Chewie also can’t talk with each other. So they can’t prepare or plan in advance. It’s about thinking fast and acting together as a team.

The Rebels get a point for every phrase they successfully guess during Han and Chewie’s turn. Then it would be the Empire’s turn. At the end of the game, whichever team has the most points wins.

It’s up to each team which combination of players they want to send up in groups of two. You can change the pairs of two each round, or keep them the same. Just make sure to give everyone an equal opportunity to go up.

Are there any rules I’m forgetting? Oh, I would suggest a longer time limit for the rounds for this game: maybe 2 to 3 minutes. Since the phrases are more complex, it’s nice to allow time to draw something good or act out multiple parts to a complex phrase.

Printables: And finally, the phrases! These were fun to compile. I did lots of research (involving a Star Wars marathon and a lot of spell-checking on Wookieepedia). I hope you enjoy them!

Printable-markerStar Wars Actions

Boo! Halloween Treat Ding Dong Ditch

booWhat it is: It’s more of an activity or tradition than a game, but it’s a great Halloween tradition that I remember from throughout my childhood.

Best for: A whole neighborhood or community of some sort! The only requirement is everyone needs a front door. You can play with a neighborhood, a city, a church community…you could even play with dorm rooms in a college dorm.

What you need: You’ll need several copies of a Boo! printable, like the one I made below. You’ll also need two plates of treats or bags of candy to get the tradition started.

How to play: To start, print out two copies of the Boo! printable below. Then prepare two plates of Halloween goodies, like cookies or cupcakes that look like spiders or something cute like that. (Bags of candy work, too). Then choose two neighbors or friends to Boo first.

This is a ding dong ditch activity, or a knock and run. If you don’t know how those works, you might want to read this post to get an idea.

At night, drive to your chosen friends’ houses one at a time. Carefully sneak out to the doorstep, leave the cookies and a copy of the Boo! printable, ring the doorbell, and RUN! Hurry back to the car and drive away before they see you! When they answer their door, they’ll find a plate of treats and the papers. One page is a sign with a ghost that says “WE’VE BEEN BOO’D!” The other is a paper with some instructions that starts out with this:

Halloween is drawing near,

But don’t let this spook bring you fear.

We’ve left these treats just for you.

Enjoy them please; we hope you do!

Then before two days have come and passed

Spread the fun to make it last.

Choose two friends to give treats to,

Then they’ll be BOO’D just like you!

So when your friends get the paper, they hang the “WE’VE BEEN BOO’D” sign on their door or in their front window, choose two of their friends, and leave treats on their doors within two days. That way, the Boo sign spreads throughout the neighborhood or community exponentially until Halloween arrives! Then it’s fun to trick or treat or drive through the neighborhood and see how many people you spread the Boo to.

It’s not too late in the year if you want to start this! To give it a jump start, you might want to start out with five families or so, just to help get the ball rolling.

Printables: Here’s the printable. It has two pages: one with the instructions, and one with a ghost that says “WE’VE BEEN BOO’D!” This is the sign that people will hang in their front windows or on their doors after they’ve been Boo’d.

Boo Halloween Doorbel Ditch

Enjoy, and happy Halloween!

Skittles

skittlesWhat it is: A game about cramming as many skittles candies into your mouth as possible. Kind of silly and maybe, depending on your point of view, a little gross, too.

Best for: A big group, like at least 8. And probably best played late at night at a party or sleepover.

What you need: All you need is a bag of skittles candy, the big kind, one you can reach your whole hand into.

How to play: First, have everyone sit in a circle (in chairs or on the ground, it doesn’t matter). Pull out your bag of skittles, open the top, and hand it to your first player (we’ll call her Ashley). Ashley reaches her hand into the bag and pulls out two skittles without looking, no peeking allowed.

If Ashley’s skittles are two different colors, like red and orange, she pops them in her mouth and leaves them there. No chewing, swallowing, or spitting out allowed. Then she passes the bag to the next player, Anthony.

Anthony draws two skittles and the same rule applies. He draws two different colors, so he puts them in his mouth and leaves them there, no chewing or swallowing.

Let’s say the whole first round, all around the circle, proceeds like this. Each player pulls out two skittles of different colors and must hold them in his or her mouth without chewing.

Now it’s Ashley’s turn again, and her skittles are all soggy and she’s really wishing she could chew them up. She reaches her hand into the bag and pulls out…two reds! Two skittles of the same color! It’s Ashley’s lucky day because two skittles of the same color means she’s allowed to chew up and swallow everything in her mouth: the two red skittles and the ones from the last round (and any other rounds).

The catch is, Ashley doesn’t have forever to chew and swallow. She has to stop chewing when it’s her turn again, or when someone else draws two skittles of the same color, whichever comes first. That may not seem like a big deal, but when you’ve been playing for a few rounds and you’ve got eight skittles in your mouth, trying to speed-chew them isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Then if your chew-and-swallow time is over because someone else drew two of the same color, you’re stuck with a wad of half-chewed-up skittles in your mouth to hang onto until you’re lucky enough to draw two of the same color again.

The player who lasts the longest without gagging or spitting out their skittles wins! (Or, this is one of those games that’s kind of played without a winner.)

OK, I admit it, typing this up is kind of making me gag. But it’s one of those gross silly games that can be fun under the right circumstances. Just don’t play around my grandma, who doesn’t approve of candy and who once claimed she could hear our teeth rotting as the game progressed.

Which brings me to, brush your teeth after.

[whispered creepily] Taste the rainbow.

Happy playing!

Categories list

What it is: A very flexible game with lots of adaptations.

Best for: A group of about 4 to 10.

What you need: You’ll need a list of categories (I’ve provided one below) and possibly a timer and pens and paper.

How to play: Basically the challenge is to try and think of as many items in a category as you can. An example category would be fast food.

fast-food

And items in the category? Chicken nuggets, tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, McDonald’s apple pies, chicken sandwiches, and on and on. How many things can you think of?

Variations: There are many different ways you could set up your game. Here’s a few to get you started.

Like the game Scattergories, you can name as many items in a category that start with the same letter. Choose a letter from the alphabet, draw a category, set a timer, and go! For example, if the category were male names and the letter were C, you could write any of these:

  • Carson
  • Caleb
  • Cole
  • Christian
  • Connor
  • Carter
  • Cameron

You can play on teams, individually, or as a whole group. At the end of the game, everyone takes turns reading all their answers aloud, where questionable answers can be submitted to the group to see if they’ll be allowed or not. (For example: “Camille? That’s a girl’s name!” “But I totally knew a guy named Camille once!” “OK, fine, we’ll allow it.”) If you’re playing against each other, the person who writes down the most names wins. (One variation is to have everyone cross off any name that someone else wrote down, too. That way the person with the most unique answers wins.)

You could also play the above version, but without the restriction of a letter of the alphabet. Any boy name, for example, would work for the above example. Then follow the same rules for the rest of the game.

Another variation which works really well for car rides or killing time can be played one word at a time. In this variation, you pick a category and then take turns saying something from that category, one player at a time. The first person who can’t think of a word that hasn’t already been said is out of the game, and you start a new round with a new category. (The game first letter, last letter is an even more challenging variation of this.)

You could of course use your list of categories to play the pool game categories or a similar game.

What other rules or variations can you come up with?

Printables: Here’s the list of categories! It’s a few pages long, so hopefully it gives you lots of categories to choose from for all of your game-playing needs. :)

Printable-markerCategories