I gave a brief overview of the top ten things a group game should have in my earlier post, but now I want to explain why those are the top ten. Over the next few days I will be posting those explanations.
The game should be easy for someone to join mid-game
Whenever you have a large group of people, chances are that not all of them join at once. If it’s not possible to join a game that has already started you leave several people bored, which is what you are trying to avoid while playing a group game. Even if they can join, but it takes forever to get started again, the game is less fun.
An example of a hard to join game would be Ninja, because once the game has started no one is allowed join until the end of the (often long) game. Two examples of easy to join games would be Tag, for hopefully obvious reasons, and Gaga Ball (or Biscuit Ball, as it is often called), because even though no one is allowed to join once the game has started, the games are usually so fast that you won’t be waiting long before you can get in.
I gave a brief overview of the top ten things a group game should have in my last post, but now I want to explain why those are the top ten. Over the next few days I will be posting those explanations.
The game should be easy to get started.
As anyone knows who’s tried to get a bunch of people to try a new game, the longer it takes to get the game started the less likely you are to actually play it. Also, the longer it takes to get the game started the longer people are bored. Between the two, the games that work best are often rather easy to start compared to games which don’t.
An example of a hard to start game would be Signs, because it needs everyone to choose a sign and show it to everybody else (for those who haven’t played, this takes a very long time, especially with the large groups that the game is best played with). An example of an easy to start game would be Ninja, because all you need is for everyone to get in a circle, do a countdown, and start.
There are many games, but some work better in group situations than others. By group situations I mean situations in which you have lots of kids (or teens, or adults…) and want them to all start playing a game, like at a birthday party. So, having played and directed a lot of group games, I thought I’d come up with ten things to look for in a good game for your group. To clarify, a good group game should keep as many people continuosly entertained as long as possible. This is what I was looking for when I put together this list:
- The game should be…
- Easy to get started
- Easy for someone to join
- Easy for someone to leave
- Fun even for those who aren’t very good at it
- Fun even for those who are very good at it
- The game should Not be…
- Too rough
- Easy to cheat in, or even easy to accuse people of cheating in
- Boring for those who are playing
- Boring for those who are temporarily not playing (tagged, substituted, etc.)
- Full of “losers” at the end, or at least those who lose shouldn’t feel like “losers”
Of course, a game can still be fun (and usually is still fun) without all of these factors, but I’ve found that the more of the 10 factors a game has the more likely a group I’m playing it with will want to play it again. More on that in a later post. There are probably other factors that would affect how fun a game is to play with groups, but as of now I can’t think of any others. There are so many things about this that I want to elaborate on, but for now I’m going to post this so that I can get this started.
I often find myself riding in a vehicle with friends who either don’t have the game that I’m playing or don’t have a device at all, so I often end up sharing my tablet. Runner games are the easiest to switch between people and are also my favorite type of game (e.g., my high score in Temple Run 2 is over 22,000 meters with no re-spawns), so we usually end up playing them. Because of this, I’ve gotten pretty good at making sure that people don’t feel too left out when playing, even when I’ve played the game for hours and they’ve played the game for minutes.
There are two main things that you need: A number of “runs” (usually three) and a minimum distance (usually 3 times 10 raised to some power, aka, 3, 30, 300, etc.). After the player has done a certain number of runs, he/she will pass it to the next person, no exceptions. However, for something to count as a run it must make it over the minimum distance, and if the run doesn’t make it past that distance then it counts as a half run. If the number of “runs” you are doing is 3, then if you get under the minimum every try you can do up to 6 half runs, but that should be highly unlikely.
Below I’ve made a list of some of the running game that I regularly play along with my recommended run count and minimum distance (and yes, 3 runs and 300 meters is the base number that I always go to):
- Temple Run – 3 runs over 300 meters
- Temple Run 2 – 3 runs over 300 meters
- Ski Safari – 2 runs over 3000 points
- Subway Surfer – 3 games over 300 meters
- Jetpack Joyride – 3 games over 300 meters
- Benji Bananas – 3 games past level 1
- Ninja Ninja Ninjas – 3 games past 1/2 the high score of one of the players, the higher high score if the two players are equally good at the game, the lower or middle (if multiple players) high score if one player is much better than the other. Or past 30.
- Mr. AahH!! – 3 games, no minimum
- Cyclone – 5 games past 5 seconds
- Red Ball Run – 3 games past 30
I’ll add more as I have time, happy running (or skiing or swinging or whatever it is you are doing…)!