The Name Game

This is probably my all-time favourite game, as it can be tailored for all occasions, works with all ages, breaks the ice when people don't know each other, and causes much merriment even when played with the best of friends.

The Name Game

Age: 8+

You will need:

  • Some small sticky notes (post-its)
  • A pen

How to play:

Write the name of a famous person or character on a sticky note for each party-goer. Characters can be dead or alive, fictional or non-fictional, real or "cartoon". Making sure that the player can't see it, stick the note to their forehead.

When everyone is named, expect a lot of giggling to start with! Then the players mingle and walk around the room asking the sort of questions that can be answered by "yes", "no" and "not applicable" to try to work out who they are.

Example:

(The character is "Hansel" from Hansel and Gretel)

Am I a girl?
No

Am I alive?
No

Am I handsome?
Not applicable

Am I in history books?
No

Am I old?
No

Am I famous?
Hmmmm. Yes, I suppose so.

Am I real?
No

Am I a film character?
No

Am I in story books?
Yes

Am I Pinocchio?
No

Am I nice?
Yes

Am I clever?
Yes

and so on..

Hints:

Choose your names carefully so that all the party-goers will know the characters and be able to answer the questions. You can use characters which are particularly appropriate to the situation, such as the children's headmaster or even the name of the party child.

Be prepared to give hints if necessary. We used the example above recently and the child was completely stuck. In the end I suggested that the character had a sister who was just as famous as he was, and a wicked stepmother, and the correct answer was guessed.

If you prefer you can pin a larger piece of paper on each players back rather than use sticky notes. This may be better on a hot day or when the children can't be trusted to keep their sticky note on their forehead!

Variations:

Use famous "pairs" (such as Prince Charming and Cinderella, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson). People not only have to guess their own identity but find their partner. You will need a much bigger number of players for this to work, as it becomes too easy to look at other people's names and just ask straight out if you are their opposite number.