Fantasy games

Games for UU kids and adults
Compiled and written by Dan Harper
Copyright (c) 2014 Dan Harper

Bear, Salmon, Mosquito


Lemonade (age 7-adult)

Two teams. A play area split by a clearly defined line (rope, sidewalk, etc.).

The two teams huddle at separate ends of the room. One team, Team One, decides on a job or profession they will act out. Then they decide on a place that job or profession is associated with, e.g.: lawyers and Washington, D.C.; corn farmers and Iowa; garment workers and New York City; etc.

When both teams are ready, they line up at opposite ends of the play area.

While taking a step towards the center line, team one calls out, “Here we come!”

Team two takes their own step towards the center line, and responds, “Where ya from?”

Team one takes step, says, “Washington! [or wherever the place is that they’ve chosen]”

Team two takes step, says, “What’s yer trade?” [in the Boston area, say “what’s ya trade?”]

Team one takes step, says, “Lemonade!”

Team two takes step, says, “Well show us some if you’re not afraid!” At this point, both teams should be lined up face-to-face on either side of the center line (so take big steps in a big space, smaller steps in a smaller space). Members of team one begin acting out their trade; members of team two try shout out their guesses as to what that trade might be. When a member of team two guesses correctly, team one runs madly back to their starting line, while team two tries to tag them.

All those who get tagged before getting back across the starting line are now part of team two. And now team two huddles to decide on what profession or job they will act out….

Variation for quieter game, or small space: Instead of running back to starting line, members of the team being chased have to squat down and touch both palms to the floor before being tagged.


Bear, Salmon, Mosquito

You need three parallel lines, two goal lines and a center line, which you can mark with pieces of rope on the ground, or with cones, or whatever. The lines should be spaced evenly apart, with at least 20 feet from the center line to each goal line.

Divide the players into two teams. (You may want to have a Referee to get things organized, and do the chant — it’s up to you.)

For each round of the game, each team goes into a huddle by their own goal line. As a group, they decide whether they will Bear, Salmon, or Mosquito. They should also decide on a back-up.

Then each team lines up BACK TO BACK at the center line. Then everyone chants “Bear! Salmon! Mosquito!” As soon as the chant is done, everyone spins around to face the other team, taking on the pose of whatever they decided on:
BEAR: growl and stretch hands up like claws
SALMON: make a fishy-face and move hands like fins
MOSQUITO: biting motions with your mouth, flap arms as wings

Then whichever team wins starts chasing the other team — Bear eats Salmon; Salmon eats Mosquito; Mosquito eats Bear. The teams that loses tries to get back to their goal line without being tagged. Anyone who is tagged joins the other team.

Keep playing until everyone is on one team, or until exhausted.


Evolution (age 10-adult)

You’ll need: 8-24 people (give or take); a pillow, chair, or other seat for each person; 10 to 60 minutes.

Sit in a circle, on chairs or pillows or something to mark seats. The circle roughly constitutes an evolutionary ladder, rising from primitive organisms to more sophisticated organisms. Divide the circle into four roughly equal segments. The first section will contain primitive organisms; the second section, plants; the third section, herbivores; the fourth section, carnivores.

Within each section, each person chooses an appropriate organism, and then comes up with a simple motion to represent that organism (for example, the lowest organism, by tradition, is always Pond Scum; and the motion for Pond Scum is to hold your left hand out in front of you as if you were holding a cup with your fingers curled to touch your thumb, while above that hand and not quite touching you hold your right hand flat and palm down, moving it in a small circle over the left hand). Once you’ve gone all around the circle, go around again so everyone can try to remember all the organisms and their associated motions.

The highest organism always begins each round. Let’s say the highest organism is Human Being, motion: waving. So the person sitting in that seat would say something like, “Human Being [waving] loves Pond Scum [left hand circling over cupped right hand].” That means play goes to the person sitting in the Pond Scum seat. She might then say, “Pond Scum [left hand circling over cupped right hand] loves Redwood Tree [stands and raises hands over head].” Of course that means play goes to the person sitting in the Redwood Tree seat (which is in that second section of plants), and he might say, “Redwood Tree [stands and raises hands over head] loves Grizzly Bear [makes growly face and holds hands up like claws].” The play should proceed relatively quickly from person to person.

Now if anyone hesitates, or uses the wrong motion with the name of the organism, or says an organism that isn’t part of that particular game, or otherwise stumbles in the estimation of the other participants, then he or she must go to the bottom of the evolutionary ladder, taking the seat of Pond Scum. Which means that whoever is sitting in the Pond Scum seat then moves up one place on the evolutionary ladder, adopting the name and motion of the organism for that particular seat. And other people also move up until everyone below the person who made the mistake has taken a new seat. That concludes one round.

Whoever is sitting in the seat at the top of the evolutionary ladder commences the next round. Continue playing until bored.

Strategy: Usually, you will want to send the play to people above you in the evolutionary ladder, because the only way you get to move is by getting one of them to make a mistake. However, it can also be effective to look at someone as if you’re going to send the play to them, but then name another organism — with the hope of faking them out so that they start to respond, which could be reason for the other players to send them to the bottom of the evolutionary ladder.

Background: This game has no basis in actual biology at all. I mean, that should be obvious, but with all the misunderstanding the creationists have created over evolution, it seemed wisest to state it explicitly.

Curriculum for Unitarian Universalist congregations