the games list

by Bernie DeKoven on April 13, 2012

When I prepare for a presentation, I generally make a list of games – usually at least twice as many games as I could possibly need. This is after 50 years of teaching games and fun and funny stuff. No matter how often I play or how many games I’ve learned, I’ve found that there are times when I simply go blank. It’s not because of the pressure. It’s because there are so many other things I have to focus on. Especially the people I’m playing with. I have to be free to listen to them, to engage them, to respond to each of them, to enjoy them. So I can get just lost enough in a particular game or interaction that I can’t think about what to play next.

It’s a list, not a plan.  I can’t pre-determine which game to play when.I need a wide enough selection of games so that I can respond to the always changing mood of the players. Maybe they’re tired. Maybe they’ve been sitting still for too long. Maybe, given a discussion we just had, they’re feeling more contemplative than active.

Sometimes, it’s a list of very short games. Sometimes a list of games you could play with hundreds of people. The following is a list of collaborative word games I prepared for a 90-minute session with a small group of religious narrative therapists who are not allowed to touch or sing with the opposite sex, in a space that was only large enough for them all to sit in a circle. The games in this list are all conversation starters. They each take less than 15 minutes to play, involve fantasy, creativity, personal expression, sensitivity to each other, and reflection.

(Yes, and you can use this list for people who are not therapists, or religious, and still have fun, much of it ostensibly deep).


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lily Belland April 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I do a similar thing before a laughter yoga presentation. My partner and I make a list of activities, often on a theme. We typically write them down in the order we would like them to go, paying particular attention to first and last, but we always write down more than we need. Often half-way through we are switching things up, and every now and then we do one that isn’t on the list, but it sure is nice to have the list to draw from. Like you said, then we don’t have to think as much, and we can have more fun interacting.

Awesome list by the way.

Love and laughter,
Lily

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