What it is: A very similar game to winks, just more physically active, with more physical contact.
Best for: A big group of 9 to 21 players (ish).
What you need: You’ll need an odd number of players, and kind of a bigger group. Also somewhere to play. You’ll basically be wrestling on the floor, so keep that in mind. I most often played in a carpeted building with a big room (lots of space, not many breakables). I also played in a bouncy castle once. That was fun.
How to play: Divide your number of players in two (except, since you’re playing with an odd number of players, one half will have one extra person). The bigger half all sits cross-legged in a big circle. Then all the rest of the players sit cross-legged in front of someone already sitting, creating an inner circle. But one poor person, like Jeremy, will be left sitting cross-legged with no one in front of him. He’ll start the game.
When everyone is ready to play and attentively watching Jeremy, he chooses the names of two people sitting in the inner circle and calls them out loud, like “Stephanie and Charlie!” Then Stephanie and Charlie both try to race across the circle and tag Jeremy’s outstretched hand. Whoever does so first moves spots and sits in front of Jeremy, and someone else will be left without a parter. Then it’s his or her turn.
But here’s what makes it hard: The people sitting behind Stephanie and Charlie (we’ll call them Parker and Julie, respectively) do everything they can to keep their partners from making it to Jeremy. That’s where the wrestling part comes in. It’s basically anything goes, except mean behavior: hitting, scratching, biting, you know. Oh, and tickling counts as bad behavior. Play nice.
So let’s say Parker and Julie are both trying their hardest to keep their partners in place, and Parker puts up a good fight, but Stephanie is just too tenacious and wiggles away to tag Jeremy’s hand. Then she gets to sit in front of Jeremy and it’s Parker’s turn to call two names.
There are some other rules you could add to adjust your game to the skills and desires of your players. First, it’s fun if the people in the inner circle and outer circle get to switch places; then they don’t get too tired of always being called or always being alone. So you could say that each time someone gets a new partner, they switch places, and each time someone in the inner circle fails to get away from someone in the outer circle, they switch places, too. (So, in the above example, once Stephanie got to Jeremy, they’d switch places so now Stephanie is in the outer circle, and once Julie successfully kept Charlie as her partner, they’d switch places, too.)
Then, if two pairs are wrestling for a long time and it looks like no one’s getting anywhere fast, you could call it a draw and make the two inner-circle players switch with the outer-circle players. Then Jeremy calls two new people.
I played this game regularly with some friends in high school, and it was a lot of fun. Definitely lots of physical contact. But it could be fun to play with just family, too, if you’re family is bigger.
Cautions: Because you’re wrestling on the ground, make sure that everyone plays nice and doesn’t hurt each other. But be warned that a few small injuries (especially rug burns) might be unavoidable.
Variations: Winks is a similar game, just not as active or full contact.