Five games for friends without phones (or alcohol)

Erica Lee/Staff

Ever hanging out maxin’, relaxin’ all cool with your friends and your phone dies? Or maybe you’ve already watched everyone’s Snap AND Insta stories and you’re looking for something to do that involves interacting with other people? Of course you can always turn to Heads Up or some classic drinking games, but amazingly, there are options that involve human interaction without alcohol or technology!
Here is a quick list of five games you can play anytime and anywhere with anyone. Just bring your bod and your brain and you’re ready to go.

Game number 1: WAH!
Our first game comes from the students of Dartmouth College and works best with a larger number of participants. It involves a group of people (preferably 4 or more) standing in a circle. Throughout the game, everyone will hold their hands in a prayerlike fashion (hands flat against each other, fingers elongated).
The game begins by an initiator (we’ll call them Player 1) holding their hands above their head, then swiftly swinging them down to point at someone else in the circle while simultaneously yelling “Wah!” The person pointed at (Player 2) then swings their hands up above their head while yelling “Wah!” Then, the two people on either side of Player 2 pretend to chop down Player 2 like a tree by swinging their hands sideways towards the abs of Player 2 and yelling “Wah!” Player 2 then swings their hands down from above their head to point at a new victim while, of course, yelling “Wah!”
This cycle repeats until someone is too slow, forgets to yell “Wah!” or pretty much messes up in any way. The people who mess up are kicked out of the circle until there are only two people left. Because of the fact that WAH! must be played with at least three people, the two victors will have a posing contest. All the players that are already out will mutually agree upon a vegetable that the two victors must impersonate. The group tells the two which vegetable to imitate, count to three and the two strike a pose. They must hold the pose until the rest of the players vote on who encapsulated the depths of the chosen vegetable most accurately. You then have your winner and the game can start again.

Game number 2: Slack Jaw
It’s a draw! Slack Jaw is modeled after a good old western shakedown. Two opponents begin standing back to back. A judge then counts to three as the opponents take three steps in a straight line away from each other. The judge(s) then call “Draw!” and the two turn on the spot and give their best slack-jawed expression. Whoever can retain their expression for the longest without laughing is the winner.

Game number 3: Paranoia
Disclaimer: this game requires a coin. Gather in a circle with your friends and get ready to feel incredibly self-conscious. Paranoia begins by one person (Player 1) thinking of a “most likely to” scenario and whispering it to the person next to them so that no one else in the circle can hear.

For example, the person may whisper “Most likely to wear assless chaps.” The person whispered to (Player 2) will then choose someone in the circle who is most likely to wear assless chaps. Player 2 will then say the name, but NOT the “most likely to” phrase out loud. Then Player 1 flips a coin. While the coin is in the air, the person deemed “most likely to” (Player 3) will call heads or tails. If the call is correct, Player 2 must tell Player 3 what they are most likely to do.

If Player 3 calls the flip wrong, they don’t get to know what they are most likely to do. Thus, if Player 3 is wrong, Player 3 falls victim to paranoia. The game then repeats itself with Player 2 thinking of a “most likely to” phrase and whispering it to the player next to them. It’s all great fun — and it makes your friends feel awkward.

Game number 4: Towhee Toe Tag
Here’s a game that doesn’t require any talking. Everyone stands in a circle and someone volunteers to go first. The first player jumps with both feet and tries to land one of their feet on the foot of another player. As soon as the first player leaves the ground, everyone else in the circle is free to jump farther away to avoid being landed on.

If the first player successfully lands on another player, that player is out. The first player, however, also has the option to fake jump. If the first player fake-jumps and doesn’t actually leave the ground, but another player jumps away, the player who jumped away is out. If the first player does jump, but doesn’t land on their target’s feet, the target player then takes the role of the first player and jumps or fake-jumps toward a new target player. The game continues like this until there’s only one player left.

Game number 5: Botticelli
This one requires some brain power and at least four people. The game begins by Player 1 choosing a word. Player 1 will tell the rest of the group the first letter of that word. The other players then think of a word that starts with that letter and work in pairs to say it out loud before Player 1 can.

This means if Player 1 is thinking of the word “giraffe,” they’d tell the rest of the group “g.” Each member of the group then has to work with at least one other player in order to say a word that starts with “g” before Player 1 can guess that same word. For example, Player 2 could look at Player 3 and say “The color of grass.” Player 2 and 3 would then count down from three and say “green.” However, they must do so before Player 1 can interject and say “green.” If Player 1 says “green” while Player 2 and 3 are counting down, the group must think of a new word starting with “g.” For that matter, it’s easier to beat Player 1 if the other players think of harder descriptions for words.

Usually, an inside joke works best. For example, if Players 2 and 3 are sisters, Player 2 could say “What our dad always says sarcastically.” They would then count down and say “Great!” This way, Player 1 has a far lower chance of guessing the word they are describing. Then, if Player 1 fails to guess the word in time, they must give the group the next letter of the word. In this example, Player 1 would tell them “i” because that is the next letter in “giraffe.” Then the group must think of a word that starts with “gi”.

For example, Player 3 might say to Player 4, “Who run the world?” They would then count down and say “girls.” The game then continues by Player 1 trying to guess the group’s words before they can say them out loud. If Player 1 fails to guess the words, they must give the group the next letter of their word until the group can guess the word “giraffe.” The group must, however, guess the word “giraffe” in the same way they would guess any other word: conversing with another player and counting down.

Obviously, when the group is guessing the actual word, Player 1 cannot interject because they would lose anyway. The game continues by other players thinking of their own words and taking over the role of Player 1.

There you have it, Bears! Enjoy these games outdoors this summer, without having to look at your phone or alcohol!

Contact Hailey Johnson at [email protected].