Skip navigation
header photo

School of Game design

GDSN 203 Creating an Improv Game

Students will learn an overview of creating an improvised game with no actual game materials.

Course Description

Prof Dan has the following tips for aspiring improvers:

  • Learn this simple game
  • Remember these three stages of the game
  • Clarify some simple rules up front
  • Have a bowl handy

Prof Dan has the following comments about the syllabus: "Practice makes perfect. Well then, get to it!"

Prof Dan's final exam involves playing this improv game and being on the winning team.

Prof Dan presents the following qualifications for this course: "I learned this game from the talented Emma Mentley who is a master at all three stages of the game. Also, I am commonly on the winning team because I'm willing to pantomine such words as 'linguine'."

Students will be graded on the following criteria: winning or loosing their game.

Won the game
No
Yes
Grade
Fail
Pass

Course Materials

The Improv Game

  1. This game has there stages that increase in difficulty. Teams will guess words or phrases that the group submits in a bowl. The same phrases will be guessed multiple times making them easier to guess despite the difficulty increasing.
  2. Setup: Count the number of players and give each player 5 small slips of paper, large enough to write one or two words on each. Determine a category like all nouns, form of media (movies, tv shows), or a letter. Every player uses their slips of paper to write 5 entries in accordance with the category. All entries are placed in a bowl that can be passed easily amongst the group. Split into teams, the larger the better. Pick a team to go first.
  3. How to play: One team handles the bowl and determines who will go first. The other team sets a timer for 1 minute, and when ready, signals the bowl team to begin.
    1. Stage 1: Everything But. A bowl team member takes a slip of paper out of the bowl. They must describe the slip using any words but the actual words themselves. If the slip says 'Abraham Lincoln' then a good attempt would be 'He was a president of the United States and wore a very tall hat'. Speak as much as you'd like until one of your team members guesses the word correctly. Set the paper aside to keep score of how many words you guess correctly within the minute. Cycle through all team members repeatedly until time is up.
      1. Rules: No 'rymes like'. No spelling. No skipping and putting it back in the bowl. If you say the words on the slip of paper, put it back in the bowl and you are skipped that time. No saying the word purposly to be skipped.
      2. Switch and Repeat: After 1 minute is up, give the bowl with the remaining papers to the other team and switch responsibilities. Repeat this until all the slips of paper are guessed. Count your teams total slips of paper. This is your score. Put all slips back in the bowl.
    2. Stage 2: Charades. A bowl team member takes a slip of paper out of the bowl. They must act out physically the slip without vocalizing any words. If the slip says 'Abraham Liconln' then a good attempt may be to give a speech and act putting on a very tall hat and stroking your beard.Set the paper aside to keep score of how many words you guess correctly within the minute. Cycle through all team members repeatedly until time is up.
      1. Rules: No sounds. No skipping and putting it back in the bowl. If you say any words, put it back in the bowl and you are skipped that time. No vocalizing purposly to be skipped.
      2. Switch and Repeat: After 1 minute is up, give the bowl with the remaining papers to the other team and switch responsibilities. Repeat this until all the slips of paper are guessed. Count your teams total slips of paper. This is your score. Put all slips back in the bowl.
    3. Stage 3: One Word. A bowl team member takes a slip of paper out of the bowl. They must describe the slip in only one word. You may continue to repeat the word if you choose.
      1. Rules: No more than one word said. No charades. No skipping and putting it back in the bowl. If you say more than one word or begin to charade, put it back in the bowl and you are skipped that time. No messing up purposly to be skipped.
      2. Win: Count your teams total slips of paper. The team with the most slips of paper wins.

Not a lasagna yet?