Epic Games

Posted on: 07/10/14 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee


You see, in the last 5 days I’ve been called upon twice by Ashley, my 16-year-old daughter, to provide her with a failsafe game. The pressure was on!

Dad, don’t let me down!

So here’s the two foolproof games I gave her (and then I’m going to ask you for yours).

It all started last week Ashley asked me, “Dad, what game should we play Sunday in youth group?”

Ashley is now a student leader in her youth group and she was in charge of providing a little fun “sum something” before the teaching time Sunday morning. They typically do a game of some sort, and this week it fell on her.

“What is the best game ever?”

No pressure… right?

This would be one of her first time running things, so she didn’t want to fail. So I gave her one of my favorite ‘go to’ games that has never failed me. I call it, “I Need a Shoelace.” This is where you divide the room down the middle and call out items for them to grab from their pockets, purses and wallets. Great fun, and always a hit. We provide a pretty good list of items on the game page of our web site.

Then last night Ashley had about 20 friends over to our house to watch Nacho Libre and hang out (My Instagram and Twitter followers probably saw my posts). Interesting side note, I must admit, I have NEVER seen so many kids so attentive through an entire film. Great film choice. But then after the movie they all went to my backyard to hang out. After about 45 minutes Ashley asked me, “Dad, give me a good game to play.”

There were about 12 to 15 people left at this point and they wanted something easy, and again… not lame!

So I said, “The Silent Animal Circle,” of course, (in my best Legally Blonde tone), “Works every time!”

So if you haven’t ever seen our free game resource on our website, you gotta check it out. It’s got common game types, a custom search feature, and the ability to sort by name, rating, etc. Good stuff.

DYM_ad-300x250So what about you? What is your best ‘go to’ game that will never fail you? Use the comment feature below and give us your best. The winner will get a nice 5-game bundle from the huge selection of awesome games from Download Youth Ministry. Games like this new “Name That Movie- GENERATIONS” game, where you battle students vs. adults.


1. Jono Davis

2. Jordan

3. Nick Mance

4. Blanca

5. Jon Forrest

Email me using the CONTACT US feature of this blog and I’ll get you your prize!

16 Replies to “Epic Games”

  1. One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies is the one in the hobbit where Bilbo and Gollum trade riddles. This game gets its inspiration from that scene. It’s a simple game really. At the beginning of the game someone is the “riddle master”. They share a riddle with the group like one of the riddles below. When someone thinks they have the right answer they text it to the riddle master. Once someone gets the answer correct the riddle master asks the next question. The person with the most correct at the end of the game wins. For a twist you can turn this into a riddle duel with 2 teams (a la Bilbo & Gollum) and the first team that is unable to answer the other team’s riddle (within say 3 minutes) loses and has to wash the dirty dishes that pile up through the night (or do some other agreed upon task)

    Here are some riddles that I came up with:
    Riddle #1: Old & always home, snap and paint pertain to me. What am I?
    Riddle #2: You can never count the number of me but add some heat and you’ll see right through me. What am I?
    Riddle #3: I come from above, white and bright yet cover the land with darkness. What am I?

  2. “OMG the bend and snap! Works every time!” Wisdom form Elle Woods, you go Jonathan!

  3. I love the “Counting Game”.

    This is when you have everyone in your group pair up and face each other. Each person holds up zero to ten fingers behind their back. On the count of three, have them pull their hands from behind their backs. The first person to yell out the correct sum of all the fingers wins.

    It’s so funny watching kids try to count faster than the other…and also watching them cheat…lol

  4. My go to game is “Telephone Pictionary”, which is a mixture of the two classic games.

    This one is good for small groups less than 10.

    Everyone in the group gets a pad of paper and pencil. The pad of paper is pre-made by cutting out squares of paper and stapling them together. The amount of paper in the pad has to be the amount of people in the group playing the game. 7 people = 7 sheets/squares of paper stapled together.

    Everyone starts out by writing out a phrase or movie title or song that everyone would recognize which could be predetermined by the leader. Then everyone passes the pad to the right. Everyone then reads the phrase, flips the paper over to a new blank paper and proceeds to draw a picture of the phrase using Pictionary rules (i.e.. No Letters/Words/Numbers). When everyone is done you pass it again to the right and study the picture for a few seconds, then flip to a new paper and re-draw another picture of what you think the original phrase is without looking at the first page of the pad of paper. You keep passing and drawing pictures until your pad of paper gets back to you. What you’re left with is a booklet with 1 phrase and several drawings all hopefully describing the same thing, but just like “Telephone” it never works out.

    At the end we all take turns revealing our original phrase/movie title and show everyone in the group each picture trying to figure out what each person was thinking and where it all went wrong… because it always does.

    No winner, just good times.

  5. It depends on the situation, but here are my “go to” games for the following scenarios.

    When I’m in a big crowd (inside), and I want to get everyone’s attention, while also building in some audience participation, I usually go with the one Jonathan mentioned above: “I Need a Shoelace.” It really is a no miss.

    If I’m in a big room (or gym) I defer to my favorite game of all time, Torpedo. The description can be found here: http://www.thesource4ym.com/games/game.aspx?ID=186 Nothing like being able to throw balls at kids’ faces in Jesus’ Name!

    If I’m outside, it has something to do with a water balloon launcher and middle schoolers.

    If I’m on a bus/van – and isn’t every youth worker at times? – I like to go with a game called “Your Worst Joke.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: teenagers giving their hammiest, cheesiest, most woefully unfunny joke they know. Just make sure you set boundaries up front about appropriateness, etc.

  6. My youth group’s favorite game is actually a drinking game…they just don’t know it. (Yay, re-purposing for Jesus!) It’s called “3-6-9”.

    Everyone gets in a circle, and, going clockwise, starting with the leader, each person counts aloud one number. Leader says “1”, next person says “2”, etc. The trick is, any time you land on a number containing a 3, a 6, or a 9, that person cannot speak the number, they must clap once. (1, 2, CLAP, 4, 5, CLAP, etc.) This goes for 13, 16, 19, 23, 26, 29, and so on.

    The fun really begins when you get to the 30’s…it’s no speaking and only clapping as you go around the circle, and when numbers contain two 3’s or 6’s or 9’s (like 33, 36, 39, 63, 66, 69, 93, 96, 99), that person must clap twice. If you mess up and clap when you’re supposed to speak, or speak when you’re supposed to clap, or don’t clap for each 3, 6, or 9 in the current number, you’re out, and the game starts over with the next player at “1”. This goes on until there is one winner.

    We’ve made it to the 300’s before, then it REALLY gets insane trying to count along in your head with the clapping until you reach 400. I’ve played this with everyone from middle schoolers to college kids. The great thing is, they catch on very quickly, and being able to count is the only prerequisite!

  7. We love “spoons”! We play it as a family and with friends over….adults and kids! It’s a great game that doesn’t need a lot of explanation or equipment. I love how it gets a group of people sitting close together, fighting over spoons leftover in the middlel of the circle after the “winner” gets 4-of-a-kind. We tend to get pretty rowdy and loud and physical! Note, if you use plastic spoons and play with competitive folks, you may need a bandaid after cutting yourself on a part of a broken plastic spoon! We’ve talked about playing “Ultimate Spoons” by spreading the spoons around the room, making people run to retrieve them. All in all, its our family favorite!

    1. Our version of “Ultimate Spoons” has two games of spoons going on at the same time at oppsite ends of a room. When someone from either group gets 4 of a kind, you have to run to the other table to get a spoon. This turns into a fun, running (into each other) game. When you get down to just 4 players left, you can just move to one table.

      You can do this with 4 groups as well, just have the groups in the corners and make the run to the table in the opposite corner.

  8. Ours can be played in a gym or outside. It’s called Spud. Here’s a simple explanation for it. http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Spud

    Even the quiet kids get involved since they are given the opportunity to throw a ball at other people. It can last 5 minutes or 30. Have introduced it at 2 separate churches and they both loved it.

  9. I love gorilla, man, gun. Which is like Rock Paper Scissors with your whole body. Another good one is mental ping pong. Get two people and give them a topic like “stores at the mall” they alternate giving answers until one takes 3 or 4 seconds to answer or repeats an answer.

  10. We love to play Pull Up or Piff Puff. So in Pull Up, students will sit down in a circle facing each other. You will place an odd number of students (we find 3-5 work best) in the middle. It will be guys vs girls. On go the girls will run and reach down to pull a guy up, and then sit in his spot. Guys will do the same to girls. The goal is to have the least amount of your gender in the middle. It is a game that works when your kids are excited and want to burn some steam.
    The other game is Piff Puff. Students stand in a circle facing each other with a leader in the middle. The leader will point at one student and yell piff. That student needs to drop down and then the two students on either side raise a finger gun at each other and yell puff. The first to win the draw wins. The person who was piffed is allowed back up unless they don’t make it down in time and are puffed. When it is down to the final two have them do an old fashioned back to back high noon style draw. Our kids love this game!

  11. Hey! May the peace of God be with you. My Youth plays a lot of games but my favorites are Hidden Marshmallows… you can play this game with a larger youth group, inside on a big table or outside on a big table. What you have to do is get 10 plastic plates, place them on the table, put 15 marshmallows on the plate and cover them entirely with whip cream. Then, all the youth members participating have to dig their face in the plate to find all 15 marshmallows in 2 minuets without using their hand. Lol, yea kinda crazy but the winner usually gets 5 dollars…. or you can change it up by giving a gift card this still stays the same even if there are 2 winners. The sencond game is Bible Travia …. this game text the youths knowledge of the Bible which is very important. What you do in this game is ask a question like What was the name of the giant that David conquered ? And so on… you can also make try Bible Shirades. I hope you like these games, thank you and God bless 🙂

  12. I’m going to have to go with Ninja. It’s one everybody wants to play (even if it takes a few rounds for them to stop being too cool for school or a couple of invitations to stop being a wallflower). Pretty popular, but here’s a little description: You gather up in a circle. One person moves at a time and can only make one fluid motion at a time. The object is to cut off other people’s hands using one of your hands (you can play one- or two-handed version, with your hands being treated like “lives”). When making a strike, you make stereotypical ninja sounds! If you’re being attacked, you can move to avoid getting chopped, but you must stick to the one-move rule. Elimination eventually shrinks the group down to two epic competitors.

    Others I often use are Big Booty, Gorilla Man Gun, and Zoom.

  13. My youth group loves, loves, loves upset fruit basket. It can be played with as few as 10 youth up to 30-40. Pretty simple. Just make a circle with the chairs and one person should not have a chair and stand in middle of circle. Just give each person a fruit name (apple, pear, banana, and orange let’s say) person in middle can call one fruit name, 2, or 3. Those people must switch seats (person in middle looks for seat too) but can not sit in same chair or those next to them. If the person yells upset fruit basket everyone must move! We do this as upset farm yard and give kids farm animal names that hae sounds an they must make sound while moving. We have done in the dark with glow sticks and black lights. Also very awesome. 1 rule is feet can’t leave the ground while running and no moving someone’s seat.

    However, the youth new favorite game is in the air 9-square! Homemade!

    1. Would LOVE to have the directions to make a homemade 9-square-in-the-air, if you’re willing to share!!!

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