Just add friends: no-equipment orientation games/icebreakers

Not much rule explanation required, either. Can be played anywhere, anytime, with (more or less) any number of people.

Mind games

Show examples of a rule, then ask people to guess what the rule is. I find this type of game very fascinating – it really challenges my assumptions and shows me what I usually filter out and ignore, like people’s fillers and also their actions outside of where they direct my attention. I’m quite bad at guessing the rule, but oh boy these are really really fun.

  1. Mrt game. Task: guess the next station. So: “Station A, station B. What is the next station?”
    Answer: add an “uh” or some other filler before the response and anything will work. So, “A, B, and uh, C?” works, while “A, B, and C” doesn’t. It’s fun when you don’t get it even after people drag out their fillers.
  2. Bang bang. Task: guess who died. So you’ll say, “Bang bang bang [other gun effects]” and point everywhere. Then say, “who died?”
    Answer: Whoever speaks first after the question dies.
  3. Killing mosquitoes. Clap your hands randomly and say, “how many/how many mosquitoes did I kill/other variation?”
    Ans: Mosquitoes killed will depend on the words you say. “How many?” = two mosquitoes.
  4. Meh meh. “Jump” your hands over one another, and say “Listen very carefully. How many meh meh jump over the wall?”
    Ans: Meh meh (or, sheep) depends on “listen very carefully.” If you say “listen very very carefully”, it’ll be 4 meh mehs.
  5. Door opening. Put your hands together and apart, and say “open close close open close”, or those words in whatever order. Ask, “is the door open or closed?”
    Ans: The door is open if your mouth is open after you ask. It’s closed if your mouth is.
  6. Black magic. Point to an object and say, “is this black magic?”
    Ans: The first one will always be “no”. The second one you point to will be black magic if it’s the same colour as the first object. The next object will be black magic if it’s the same colour as the previous one.
  7. Fuzzy Wuzzy. Fuzzy wuzzy likes glasses but not spectacles. Fuzzy wuzzy likes green but not jade. Does fuzzy wuzzy like apples?
    Ans: Yes, because there are two repeated letters together in apple: the double p.
  8. Pointing. Point to an object and say, “this is good/I like this/other”. Point to another object and say, “do I like this?”
    Ans: You like it if you tap the object twice/in the corner/tap it once etc. The rule can, of course, be varied.
  9. Alien math. “One plus two = zero. But nine plus eight = three.” What is the pattern?
    Ans: the number of complete circles is the answer. 9 + 8 has 3 complete circles in the numerals, so the answer is 3.
  10. Johnny woosh. Say, “repeat after me. Johnny Johnny Johnny woosh, Johnny woosh” etc while pointing at your knuckles and swiping the space between the thumb and fingers. What’s the pattern?
    Ans: you just need to swipe the side of your nose the same way as the game master after they finish the finger motions.

Puns, rhymes, cheesy jokes

Using the current conversation, think of as many puns or rhymes or cheesy jokes as possible.

Question and answer

Present a situation. People have to ask the game master questions that can be replied with a yes or no to find out how the situation happened. If you search “lateral thinking”, there are also many others to try out there.

  1. James and Mary lived in a house near the railway tracks. A train passed by, some water was spilled and they died. Why?
    Answer: They are two goldfish in a fishbowl. When the train passed by, their bowl toppled.
  2. There was a very wide river, but a man managed to cross it. How did he do it?
    Answer: the riverbed was dry; he walked across.
  3. A man jumped from a window on the 100th storey but he survived. Why?
    Answer: he didn’t jump out from the room; he jumped back into the room. Or, he was abseiling etc


Mad lib. Otherwise, have everyone take turns to say a sentence or say a word to continue the story. My favourite sentences to say are “the end” and “and then he exploded”.

Verbal hangman

Requires three people at least. Person 1 thinks of a word. For example, if they think of “apple”, they say “A5” where A is the first letter and 5 is how long the word is. To get the next letter, the rest of the players have to think of a word that begins with A, and cooperate to say the word together before person 1 guesses the word they thought of. So person 2 and 3 may say “You know that marvel movie?” and they need to say it out before person 1 guesses “Avengers”.

If person 2 and 3 does that, then they get “P”. So for the next round, their word needs to sound like “ap”. So words like “ape” etc will do, as well as other words that sound similar but don’t start with “ap”. For example, words that start with “ab” sound similar too so those will be fine.

If person 1 guesses the word they’re thinking of, then the person who first suggested the word will lose a life.

Persons 2 and 3 can also guess person 1’s word. If they guess wrong, they lose a life.

Person 1 wins when there are no more lives left, and persons 2 and 3 wins when they guess the word or get all the letters.

More complicated games

Telegram, the messaging app, has Werewolf and quiz games, and others too. Good for big groups. Werewolf can be played offline as well with a moderator.


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