So many improv games. You have guessing improv games, character improv games, verbal wit improv games, step-out games, and many more.
Yep. There's a lot..
There's one ice breaker, one warmup games, one get-comfortable-with-each-other activity that's universally loved. We've found it's the one game to rule them all. If you need to get attention quickly in a class, party, or improv workshop, this is what you should do.
SUPERHEROES.* (you might know it as Super Freeze, Catch Phrase, or 'that one game that's fun.')
Give the group an opportunity to become superheroes.
It's a gift....and everyone loves a gift. Everyone settles down and pays attention when they sense a gift is headed their way.
I first came across this game during an improv intensive at BATS in San Francisco (I highly recommend!).
"How do we play this magnificent game that unites people? How do I bring people together this Saturday night at my shindig?" you're wondering.
You begin by having all participants circle up (all improv exercises seem to be done in a 'circle' or 'two lines facing each other.' It's an unwritten law.)
One person begins by sharing their superhero name, and pose. The easiest way to create a super hero name is using alliteration. For instance, I'd be Punching Paul, or Pacifist Paul, or Pleading Paul....you get the idea. And, don't forget the pose. Every superhero has their pose. (check out the picture above for inspiration).
Continue around the circle. Everyone creates their super hero name and pose. When a new superhero and pose is created, everyone in the circle should repeat the name and pose in unison (memory will play a big part of the game).
Huzzah! Mission accomplished! Everyone has their name and pose. Now, let's play.
Person A repeats their superhero name and pose, and then 'passes' the energy to anyone in the circle (we'll call this Person B) by saying Person B's superhero name and pose. Person B begins by saying their name and pose, and then passes the energy to anyone in the circle (we'll call this Person C) by saying Person C's superhero name and pose.
You did it! A successful round of Superheroes has been played! People love the game.
Wait! That's not all! The game comes with variations.
Let's try some variations.
- Remove the words, and just use poses
- Remove the superhero name, and replace with a catchphrase (for instance, Pleading Paul's catchphrase might be "Can't We All Get Along?")
- You must always change your catch phrase each time the energy returns to you.
Why is this game successful? I think we all secretly wish we had a secret identity. It's fun to pretend, and be told "it's OK to pretend." Adults, teens, and kids, all love this game. I hope it's a big success for you during your next improv training or workshop.
*You might know this game by another name. You'll find improv names, and even game steps are regional, and vary from spot to spot.. The same improv exercise in San Francisco might go by a different name in Roseville and Sacramento improv games. One day I'll map game name movements. It'll look like some improv game migration pattern.