Party games – useful for gamification or simply for fun?


At this week's December Brighton Gamification Meetup we played lots of party games and tried to decipher what was fun about them and see if they might be useful or inspirational for any gamification projects. Admittedly it was a lot of fun too.


We started with this simple game. You have to say the name of a fruit or vegetable but without showing your teeth (i.e. smiling). We played this for quite a while hoping for a winner but eventually gave up. This game would work better for the very young, or perhaps the highly inebriated. However, though we never had a winner there were a lot of laughs during play as the sound of mangled words for vegetables is quite funny.


We played this classic game because everyone would know the rules. However, possibly due to it being played so much before people didn't seem as keen to play it. It didn't inspire. We did learn about the geek version of the game though 'Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock' from the Big Bang Theory, here's how it works:


Jenga got everyone involved, the tension ramped up quickly and the atmosphere got very competitive (even a bit of gameswomanship occurring). Everyone enjoyed it, but couldn't handle the tension of more than 3 games in a row! It definitely wouldn't encourage team building or collaboration, though you do learn a lot about your fellow players very quickly...


I have to admit I've used this game as an ice breaker in my workshops before very successfully, and it worked just like that in this more social environment too. It did raise one question though: if one participant claims that they have 3 black belts in martial arts do you dare call them out on it?


A bit like call my bluff, this game entertained us for ages. It got the creative juices flowing and enabled you to learn more about your fellow players. I can see this being useful in team building situations, as an ice breaker and to foster a creative environment. Great fun, one person said that it was worth coming along to learn about just this game and that they'd be getting their family to play it this Christmas. Follow the link to join in the quiz and decide which answers were lies or truths:

Games we discussed but didn't get round to playing:

  • Arm wrestling
  • Charades
  • Fizz buzz
  • Forehead detective
  • Telephone
  • I never


We also talked about the gamified wine tasting I had for my latest birthday. Every guest brought a bottle of wine along. Each guest was given a sheet of stickers to use to vote for their favourite wines. The most popular wines won a prize. This worked very well. Some people did try to game the system by sticking all of their own stickers just on their own bottle. However, a simple rule at the end disqualifying any bottle that wasn't actually empty winnowed out all the cheats 😉

Have you played any of these games? Do you think they have anything they can contribute to gamification? What party game do you love playing?

About the author 

Pete Baikins

Pete Baikins is an international authority on gamification, a lifelong gamer, successful entrepreneur and a lecturer. As CEO of Gamification+ Ltd he mentors and trains companies world-wide on the use of gamification to solve business challenges. Gamification+ won the Board of Trade Award from the UK's Department of International Trade in January 2019.

Pete is co-host of the health gamification podcast Health Points and is also Chair of Gamification Europe, the annual conference for Gamification practitioners.

Pete is an Honorary Ambassador for GamFed (International Gamification Confederation), having previously been the Chair from 2014 to February 2019, whose aim is to spread best practices within and support the gamification industry.

After 15 years as a Lecturer on gamification and entrepreneurship at the University of Brighton he now guest lectures on Gamification at King’s College London and at ESCP Europe at post-graduate and under-graduate levels.

Over the past 20 years Pete has built and sold two businesses. One was in security software and the more recent one was a telecoms and internet connectivity business. He is also an Ambassador for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

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