The game of many dares

The Game of many dares was born during an organizational retreat where an order was placed for an uproariously fun and competitive game. While at Percolab we have a conscious culture of collaboration, following many activities involving deep conversation and sensemaking, there was a collective need to explore the opposite end of the energetic spectrum, i.e. bring out our inner Wild Things.

As a word of warning, participants who have previously staunchly defended the title of ‘introvert’ may reveal their inner showmanship and astonishing stage talent in this activity.

Number of players : 7–16
Time : 1h-2h

  1. All participants write down 2–3 dares on slips of paper and place them in a hat. Dares should be things that would push your own creativity but that you would be comfortable (in theory) doing. Dares can involve one or two people.

Examples : singing a pop song from the 90s, giving an expert demonstration of flamenco dancing, reciting 10 reasons sleeping is better than being awake, defending your love of steamed vegetables, drawing a portrait of someone’s foot, sharing an awkward memory from adolescence, creating a realistic statue with the other participants, etc.

2. Once all the dares are completed, all the participants gather in a circle. Player A chooses an opponent (player B) against whom they wish to compete. Player A then draws a dare and decides which player will go first (A or B). Player A can additionally set a time limit for the dare.

3. In the determined order, player A and player B perform the dare, trying their very best even if they have no idea how to do the dare.

4. Afterwards, one of the participants counts to three. At three, all the non-participating players point at the player whose performance they preferred (this is a perfect opportunity to practice playfulness and good sportsmanship). The player with the majority of votes wins while a tie gives both players a point.

5. It is then the turn of the person to the right of player A to choose a new opponent. The game continues until the dares are all gone or until a set number of points have been reached.

For additional inspiration, here are some of the categories created by the Percolab team:

  • 2 minutes to explain why cuddling is so good
  • Dance off to Ukulele music
  • Use a banana to explain the Cynefin framework on complexity
  • Mime catching the first snowflake of the season
  • Tell the story of your first kiss
  • Sing a lullaby from your childhood.

The Game of many dares is a great way to surprise yourself with the power of creative constraints and competitiveness. I was taken aback and delighted by the level of creativity that all the participants brought to the table. Something about the high stakes and the presence of an audience allowed everyone to push far beyond their usual creative limits. We also shared aspects of our lives and hidden skills that would perhaps never have come up in regular conversation, drawing us closer as a team.

Afterwards, we all relaxed into contented silence. Much like wild children having expended our energy, we were very happy to return to a state of quiet calm. As a facilitated activity, The Game of Many Dares is a beautiful opportunity to explore vulnerability, creative risk-taking and joyous failure. Happy playing!