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3 Dinner Table Games You Can Play Tonight

We're all staying at home more (especially those of us in Victoria!) so I thought I'd share a few simple and easy games I love to play.

They don't require any preparation or equipment and can be adjusted to suit a family with kids or be played as drinking games. I've played them with my students on camp, at home with my family, and with friends.

Play them at the dinner table, over wine, afternoon on the deck, in the car, whenever you like! They're all guaranteed to create fun if you get into it and have a go. 

Game 1 - Celebrity Names 

Family Game Night

Once while on a school camp, I was with a group of Year 8 students. We were travelling to a location for an activity and they were bored. I introduced them to this game and WOW! They were occupied and laughing for over an hour. 

How to play:

1. The first player says the full name of a famous celebrity or fictional character, i.e. Harry Potter. 

2. The second player must say the name of another celebrity or character, whose first name starts with the same letter as the surname of the previously named person, i.e. Penelope Cruz. (P being the first letter of Harry Potter's surname)

3. If someone names a character with the same letters in their first and last name (i.e. Amy Adams) the order of players is reversed. 

4. Continue around to all players until you are stumped! 

To play competitively: If someone can't think of a name within 5 seconds, they are out. Continue playing until 1 player remains, and they win!

For a drinking game: Every player is randomly allocated the same number of letters from the alphabet (you can choose how many, depending on how much you want to drink). Then whenever a celebrity with that letter is named, they have to drink!

Game 2 - Fish Bowl (Hats)

Fish Bowl game

I was introduced to this game by a friend of mine at a dinner party. I don't remember every having laughed so hard! Since then I've adapted it into a classroom activity; it's super versatile. 

This game is best played with 2 teams of people competing against each other, but it's not essential. 

How to Play:

- Set up: Each player writes 4-6 (depending on how many people are playing) names of famous people or characters on small slips of paper. Fold the slips in half and place them in a fish bowl, hat or other vessel.

- Round 1: Set the timer for 1 minute. The first player from Team 1 (or just the first player if you don't have teams) picks names out of the bowl, and tries to get their teammates to guess the name WITHOUT saying the name. They can say whatever they like to get them to guess. At the end of the minute, count how many names their team guessed, and tally the score. Repeat with a player from Team 2, and continue taking turns until ALL the slips of paper are guessed. 

- Round 2: This round follows the same format at the first round, but this time, the player can only act out the names for their team to guess. They can't use words or sounds. This might seem hard, but all the names have been guessed already, so everyone knows the possibilities. Play until all the slips of paper are guessed again, while keeping score. 

- Round 3: This time the teams should be very familiar with what names are in the hat, so the player only gets to say ONE WORD to get their teammates to guess the correct name. Choose your word wisely! Again, play until all slips of paper are guessed. 

Who wins? Tally up the scores from rounds 1, 2 and 3 to see which team guessed the most names. That team wins! 

To play without teams / non-competitively:  Follow the same structure of play and take turns between players. All players can guess who is on the slip of paper, and no need to keep score. 

For a drinking game: If anyone accidentally says the celebrity name during round 1, makes a sound during charades, says more than one word during round 3, or guesses for the other team by mistake, they drink. 

Variations: You don't have to play with names. Change it up with movies, TV shows, book titles, or whatever category you like. 

Game 3 - Celebrity Heads

Celebrity Heads Game

This is a popular one which we've seen played in Inglorious Basterds (2009). It's been played around dinner tables long before that however. You can use a deck of cards, but I prefer simple slips of paper since I don't want to write on my cards.

Set up: Each player gets a card or piece of paper, and writes the name of a famous person or character on it without letting the other players see. Randomly give your card to another player, who sicks it to their head or pins it to their shirt in such a way that everyone can see it except them. 

Play: The first player asks a Yes or No question about the famous person on their card, i.e. Am I Australia? If the answer is YES, they get to ask another question. If the answer is NO, the next player gets to take a turn guessing. 

The first person to guess their card WINS. 

Variation: You can use other categories besides famous names. Try fruit, vegetables, or animals with kids for example. 

For a drinking game: If you ask a question and get a NO, you have to drink.

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I hope these games help you to be a little less bored during lockdown! Seriously though, they are good for a fun time whether you're stuck in quarantine or not. Have fun! 

 

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