👷 Games I made

A list by
Joe Edelman
30 lists

Do you like my games? Hit me up on twitter to tell me what you think!

Reality PrototypingThis is an easy way for a room to go crazy. A stack of blank index cards goes in the middle of the group. A timer is set for 10 or more minutes. Everyone starts with a minute or so in silence, then they pick up a card and write something that could be done, by some other group member, that they think would be interesting for the group. This instruction is written on a card and placed in the middle. After the first minute,
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Out of CharacterEach player finds ways they are afraid of being seen, socially. The group then agrees to support each other in trying out those »out of character« selves, and reflecting on the experience. Game by Joe Edelman link.
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Partial PresenceEach person closes their eyes and hovers one hand over the other person’s knee. Each person should allow their hand to rest on the other person’s knee in moments where they feel they are present with the other person. (Note: those moments of presence will most likely only partially overlap, thus the name of the exercise.) Mention that neither hovering nor touching are better - both states are perfectly fine. This state is abou
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Depth ChargeHow much brutal realness in one sentence? You have 30 seconds to scan yourself for the most brutally real thing you can say about your life, or who you are right now, or your current state. You try to find one sentence that gets most to the root of what's going on for you—what everything is about. After this 30 seconds in silence, you say one sentence, then self-rate it, judging how deep you were able to get, with a number
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Turtles RuleAbout following your curiosities, and abandoning your ideas. Every time you speak, you must identify yourself as either a turtle, a rabbit, or a mushroom. Say 🐢 I'm a turtle on this topic if you have an abiding question in this area, but no strong opinion. (If you could study the topic for years, exploring many different models or frames.) Say 🐇 I'm a rabbit on this topic if you have takes—ideas that you are passiona
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Difficult HarmoniesCan we connect in unexpected ways? Each player makes a list of five or six vibes which they imagine would make it harder to connect with their partner, but which seem attractive nonetheless. Then, in a series of five minute timed periods, the players enact their vibes and see if they can connect anyways. Both players have to stick with the vibe they decided (without telling each other) at the beginning of the period, but t
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Audio ExchangeSee the world through your friend's eyes. Pick a pleasant spot with an interesting landscape around it. Each player records 10 minutes of audio near the spot. They describe where they walk, what they notice, what they do and think. Meet back together and trade audio tours. You listen to someone else's audio, follow their footsteps, and see if you can also follow what they noticed and thought.
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Hyperactive ListeningIn each of five games, players present hopes or fears. These may be societal—like hoping for the end of global warming or fearing rising inequality—or personal—like fearing your mom will die, or hoping to live in a tiny house. In the fifth game, the group works together to simulate the systems involved, to assess risks and opportunities, and strategize about achieving what’s hoped for, or avoiding what’s feared. ([full instruc
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Dream TeamsYou say something you really want out of life or some impact you want to make on the world. Your friend has to come up with a “dream team”: a group of people — ideally with names and email addresses — who would be the best on the planet for making your idea work out. Switch roles. Variation: instead of a dream team, respond with one question which changes the person’s sense of how to pursue their dream.
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Immersed MentorshipYou start as the “mentor”, and your friend is the person who is mentored. Your friend is allowed to point at anything in the environment and ask questions about it. They can also ask to learn certain skills, or to have certain kinds of experiences. You can both use the attached PDF, which provides menus of questions to ask about the environment, and types of skill and virtues and experiences to ask for. ([PDF](https://www.drop
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No ReplyCreates a contemplative mood. With just three rules. First, before you speak, consider if what you’re thinking seems worth saying. If it does, say it! Second, no one replies to what was said — making every statement a non sequitur . Just let your mind wander until something unrelated seems worth saying. Finally, try to limit yourself to single sentences. Created by Nathan Vanderpool and Joe Edelman.
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Social snowballYou’ll find a place with many people that you can observe at a distance. You’ll pick a person and together, guess what they’re like. Then you’ll approach them and check if your guesses were correct. Ask them if they want to join the game and continue. Variation: instead of guessing about people’s lives and characters, guess about their fantasies. More like this: If you like this, check out Stranger Danger, a more formal versio
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Chalk MobbingA group of people, at minimum three but possibly hundreds, and each has a sidewalk chalk stick. Wander until you notice something interesting and write down a few words with the chalk that might lead someone else to notice it too. THEN, go find someone else's chalk note, and draw an arrow from their note to yours. Thus we can create a vast network of things to heed in public space quickly. Leave some chalk on side for people w
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Snack and SeekYou split up. You each buy or prepare a snack, hiding it out in the city for your friend to find and eat. After you hide it, text them the location. When you find the snack, eat it slowly and take notes about the tastes and the location. Then, send the notes to each other.
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Desires to ValuesEach player makes a list of five things they'd like to do with the other person. Next to each desire, they share the value behind it—what are they excited to explore with the other person? What about the desire feels important to them? Ideally—what is the desire a venue for? Once both players share, they work together to find alternative ways to explore the same v
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Sense RelayingAnother way to make sensations social. We begin by standing far apart. Perhaps in different countries. We imagine that our feet are conduits that we can use to send our sensations into the earth. With everything we look at, with everything we smell, we imagine we have the power to send that sense information down through our bodies and down through our feet into the earth, where it can travel to the other person who's play
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Doubt ClubSitting in a safe, quiet place, you’ll each share three doubts about your life. First, a doubt about something you did today, or something you are working on, or planning. Next, a doubt about your career or your long term plans. Finally, a doubt about your mission on Earth, or what’s meaningful or worthwhile. (Full instructions)
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Why NotAn instant adventure. Best outside. You take turns making proposals for simple actions you can take together. After a person makes a proposal, the others can share reasons to do it, and reasons not to. There's a simple rule: all actions without a strong reason not to must be done by the whole group.
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Vibe WarsBy Joe Edelman. Each player secretly chooses a vibe, and a timer is set for 3 min or so. The players try to have a conversation where the vibe they picked is the predominant vibe of the group as a whole. When the timer goes off, they declare their vibes and the group decides if anyone won.Here's a list of vibes:CarefreeProfoundCerebralHostileSexually provocativeRepressedTeenagers excited about the w
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High School ChristmasEveryone sits in a circle and tells a story about a time when they were a teenager and they were suffering. After the story, each other person in the story thinks about what they would give the storyteller, if they could go back in time and give something to their teenage self. They write this down on a piece of paper, fold it, and give it to the storyteller. At the end of game, everyone opens up the folded pieces of paper the
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Vibe Wars ExtendedA super creative game for at least six people. A timer is set for 20+min. Over that time, each player should at some point, at least once, come up with a vibe or theme they want to introduce to the room (math lecture, everyone rolling on the floor, everyone russian dancing, etc). They then ask someone else to be their "vibe consultant" and the two try to influence the room in the direction of the vibe. Sometimes two vibes
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In Their MemoryPlayers go around the circle, and everyone shares how they'd like to be remembered after they die. They may share the epitaph they want on their tombstone, the first lines of their obituary, etc. THEN, a player or two are randomly chosen and ritually killed. The rest of the group decides on a memorial object or action to create in memory of that player. The player gets to return later and experience their memorial. As time all
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TelepresenceYou go to different, interesting locations and call each other. Don’t tell each other where you are. At first, you are the “robot” and your friend is the “operator.” Your friend asks you to move in a certain way, or to report back about your sensations or what you see. So your friend gets to explore your environment remotely, through your words. You get to investigate things you never would you were in charge of your own actio
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Discovery GolfYou are outside and there is no talking. You walk together. One of you will stop and face some kind of object or scene — a tree, a fence, a building. The other notices and stops too. You both contemplate the scene for a minute or two, then both give it a round of applause and continue walking. Optionally, one player may modify the scene and contemplate it again before continuing.
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Free Critical DiscussionWith a sign that reads “Free Critical Discussion,” you’ll stand together somewhere with lots of foot traffic. People will queue up to talk with you. You’ll ask them if they have a topic they want to talk about and suggest a few sample discussion topics if they don’t. After a while, the people in the queue will notice they can talk with each other directly instead.
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The We-NessA group of 2-6 players go through 3 stages on the way to losing their individual identities and becoming a collective identity. In stage 1, the group avoids the use of first-person singular pronouns (I, me; myself; my; mine) or any indirect self-reference. In stage 2, the group avoids any individualizing references or concepts of self—any references to other people in the group as individuals. They talk about things as phenome
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Reverse FlirtingThis a good way to make it extremely safe to flirt with somoene. It's simple, if either partner feels turned on, they move away. If they are a little turned on, they move a bit away. If they are really turned on, they get as far away as possible. Conversely, if you don't feel turned on, you move closer, or touch a little more. If one person is turned on, and one person is not, it's the person who's NOT turned on that c
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DeepitiesSit in a circle. Get n-1 pieces of paper. Put a X on about half, an O on the other half.Each round, one player seeks sincere advice. All other players draw one piece of paper. Those with a X are bullshitters, those with an O are sincere advice givers. Bullshitters gives bullshit life advice, trying to pass as sincere advice givers, sincere advice givers give sincere advice.When all players are ready, one by one, advice gi
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Leaning Tower of BabbleThe goal of this game is to do something that doesn't make sense. Something that doesn't even make sense while playing a game about not making sense! One at a time we go into the middle, and do something we think won't make sense to the others. They respond with a gesture—if what we did made sense to them, they touch their heart. If it doesn't make sense to them, they either touch their nose (if they found it annoying), or
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Cool HunterObjective: respond to make a dumb action cool. One person is in the hot seat. Everyone else approaches them and does something as dumb as possible. The hot seat person's challenge is to somehow harmonize or support the dumb thing in a way that makes it cool.
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Rest in PowerThe object of this game is to rest in power. To only act when you feel deeply moved to. Whilst the other players muster all the truth they can gather, working to persuade you to act prematurely.
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Weird SeductionEach player draws a 2x2 grid. In the top left, the put things they love about themselves, that others love too. Bottom left is things they don't love, but that others do. Top right is things they love about themselves that others don't see, and bottom right are true things about the player, that neither the player nor others love.Then, the players take turns trying to get the other players to love them for something in the
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Guess My MotiveCan you guess if someone's motivated by a goal, a fear, an expectation to live up to, an expectation to set, or a value? Players secretly write down ways they act in each category. Then, they share how they act, but not the motivation. Can the other players guess their motive correctly? (worksheet)
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Birthday GauntletIn this game, everyone makes a challenge for the birthday person. She must solve all challenges to get her gift. A list of gifts is made, and a list of challenge types ("creative", "badass", "beautiful", etc). Then, the participants put their names under a gift and challenge type. They need to come up with a challenge of that type for the birthday girl. Once she completes it, she gets the next name on the list. On completi
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EurekaAn activity to (1) gather values of a team; (2) reveal teammates' unconscious motives.The interviewer asks an innocuous question to begin—like: (a) what do you hope will happen in our team? (b) what kind of vibe do you hope we'll have as a team? (c) what energizes you, that you want to share with the team?When the subject answers, the interviewer asks followup questions. Here's where things get crafty. The intervie
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Crazy Day BrainstormYou brainstorm with your partner, competing to come up with crazy, perhaps scary things you want to do together. You try to come up with at least three really crazy/scary things from each of you. Then you decide on the safest way to do them, or the right rhythm to weave them into your life.
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Anger Expression DeskMake an "Anger Expression Services" sign, and go to a public place. When people approach, offer them various tools to get in touch with their anger and to express it. Tools like: warrior facepaint, pillows to punch, lists of swearwords, and so on.
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As Sexy as PossibleGo to a popular park, dressed as sexy as possible. Get consultations from friends beforehand. See if you can turn heads.
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Smile CollectorLevel 1 of this game is simple—you just walk around a public area and try to get as many genuine smiles as you can. Set a timer for 30 minutes or so and compare how many smiles each person got. Polite smiles do not count.For level 2, you can make it harder, and give points for interactions beyond a smile. E.g.,[5 points] for helping a stranger feel through a difficult emotion or for learning something profound from
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Trigger FestPlayers take turns trying on "vibes" they think might trigger the other player. The player then shares if it triggered them and what about it. After three turns for each player, you can decide who found the most triggering vibes and do something nice to reconnect.
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Race to GroundThere are 2 or 3 "runners" and at least as many "feelers" in the room. Every 3 minutes, a runner finds a feeler to pair up with, and they do what they can to help the feeler feel more themselves, more alive, or more grounded. Before and after the runner visits them, the feeler writes down three numbers, representing how themselves/alive/grounded they felt. In between three minute bouts, there's 2 minutes for the runner to get
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