Designing Your Own Games


Make It Fun

There are many ways to make a game fun. Use a combo of these techniques and tips.

See how much fun he is having? (chinese pun) :)

Make It Gross / Embarrassing / Funny

About the easiest way is to simply make it gross. Add sardines. Oh henry's in apple juice. Use banana peels. 1. Add noise(sound effects) or actions. ex. Spinning & moo-ing

Ex) Hot potato variation called hot banana. You microwave the banana so it is warm. Then you pass it around in a circle of people until the music stops. Whoever is holding it must eat it!!! Ewwww!!!! (so much fun)
Ex) Diaper and Choc bars
Ex) Peanut butter and Butt

Make It Scary

The obvious way of doing this is to add risk to the game. ex. losing teams eats sardines

Be Creative

Try things never done before! Add a theme to the game. ex. cops and robbers. Shark. make it look cool ex. cow in the grass. People huddle around and scatter away when it starts

Make It Physical

To add physical challenge. Make distances longer. Make spaces smaller. Add handicaps(crawl, fun backwards). Make them use teamwork. ex. Must travel in piggyback People like to excercise. They may complain during but it makes them feel good.


It is very important that your games allows for maximum participation. Some games are inclined to encourage ball hoggers or people sitting around in right field talking. Make sure your game involves team work so teams must play together to win.
When they are alone it is less fun. Make them run together, work together, hold hands etc


Sometimes a game does not work like you expected it to. Be flexible a small tweak may be all it needs. Adding another ball fixes ball games with low participation.


Repeat the game several times over but chnaging it slightly each time. This also saves on set up time and rules explanations. The easiest variationis to add water. Instead of balls they use water balloons, waterguns instead of tag, wading pool instead of homefree etc.
Ex) Cow in the Grass -> Cow in the Marsh -> Cow in the Mud
Piggy backing and changing the number of people also spices things up.
Ex) British Bulldogs -> Joust (British Bulldogs but with piggy back and water guns).
Ex) Tug of War -> TugOWar over water -> over mud -> over mud and banana peels.

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Make It Teach

These games serve to teach and evangelize in such a way that does not cause offense and is not taken as conversion methodology. This is one of the most powerful techniques used for social games. Basically these games are based on bible verses or teach some truth.


  • Non intrusive
  • If a game is designed well, a lesson can be taught that will never be forgotten.
  • Good for new comers.
  • Good event for people to bring friends too.
  • Unintrusive way of teaching and evangelizing.
ex) The good samaritan. People run from town to town. There are bandits who try to catch you as you travel around. If you get caught you must lay on the floor and call out for help. Only when someone picks you up and carries you back to another town are you allowed to rejoin the game. If you don't help anyone you have less chance to get caught. But if you help someone, your team gets more points. If no one helps anyone, eventually all will be caught.

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Design Your Game

  1. Brainstorm ideas, themes(sharks, fish, islands, boats)
  2. First define the boundaries. and mark them. (out of bounds)
  3. Set areas. Homefree/heaven/island, jail/prison, zones etc. and mark them (islands and boats)
  4. Physical games are usually of this form or a combo of these forms (shark uses tag and mission-to get to a different island or boat)
    • Tag - catch people
    • Fetch - get something
    • Dodge - don't be hit by ball or tagged
    • Mission - do something
  5. the game must progress. Otherwise it will never end( when a shark tags someone, there is more sharks)
ex) Shark is a tag based game with home free zones(which hold a specific number of people) called islands and boats. The mission is to get to another zone each round without being tagged by a shark. If you get caught by a shark, you become one. The game ends when there are only a few people left untagged.

ex2) Goldrush is a mission based game. Steal(fetch) the gold without being caught(tag). Zones are jail(if tagged) and treasurechest zone(where gold is stored). as well there are two zones defined where you cannot be tagged and can be tagged. The game ends when one team has all/most of the other teams gold.

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Test It Out

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Evaluate It

Ask them if it was fun.
Ask them if they want to play again.
Access unforseen injury risk.
Consider tweaks and variations that would fix the game or make the game better.

Remember: Fun to watch does not equal fun to play.
Story: We have this game we call the gaunlet where you run up the middle between two lines of people. They hold bucket and sponges of water and drench you as you run through. It was so fun to watch and seemed like a blast. When I finally got to play this game I made up, it was the most aweful thing. You get so much water in your face you can't even breathe!

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Share Your Game

Don't forget to share your wonderful game!

Put it in *this* format and email it to me!

{Category}outdoor indoor
{Title}British Bulldogs

{Object of the game}To cross the field without being tagged by a bulldog.

- Tag based game.
- Round based game.
- 2 Ends of the field are homefree.

1. Have everyone stand on one end of the field.
2. Pick 2 bulldogs
3. Bulldogs go to the middle of the field.
4. When they yell, "British Bulldogs", everyone else must run to the other end of the field without being tagged by the bulldogs. Whoever is tagged also becomes a bulldog.
5. Go back to step 3 until only one or two people are left untagged.

{Number of People}10-80

{Game length}
Setup: 0 min
Game: Varies. 5 minutes/20 people
Teardown: 0 min

{Materials}Nothing. Endzone markers if you like (trees, pilons).

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