Game On!

Games are often the start of an adventure.
Games, although often not thought of as very substantial, are crucial to a fun and adventurous time. There are many reasons to play games. Check out the list below for just a few reasons why games are a good ideas.
  • They inject 'energy' into young people and a night or an activity
  • They allow young people to socialise
  • They can ease you into a meeting or an activity
  • They prepare young people for adventure
  • They can allow other leaders to prepare other activities
  • They're good fun!
Real games. Real leaders. Real young people!
Now that you’ve been to a section and witnessed games being played by leaders and you’ve commented on them, it’s important to understand how the strategy behind leading a game works.

You've had the chance to fill in the session 2 observation checklist. From the checklist, you'll see that leading a game is split into three different stages; the preparation, the explanation and the game itself.

Here is an example of a completed question from the observation checklist for cat and mouse maze, try and ensure all of your checklist is full of comments, so when you're in a section, you can refer back to it.

Example of a completed checklist question

When preparing a game, remember to think about...
So, you've been asked to run a game. Which game will you run? The first thing to consider is the dynamic of the young people - is it cubs at the beginning of a night? Or is it scouts at the end of camp? Here are a few things to consider:
  • Any equipment needed (is any specific or great volume of equipment needed?)
  • The setup time of the game (do you have a lot of time to source equipment and ready the game space for play)
  • The space needed to play safely (how big or what type of space do you need? Have you checked for risks and are ready to manage them?)

When explaining a game, remember to think about...
Now you've chosen your game and made the game area safe, you'll need to explain the game to everyone else. Remember though, you may be explaining it to a wide range of people (from other leaders, to very young beaver scouts!) Here are a few things to remember and consider:
  • The choice of language used to explain the game (do you need to use simple words for beavers, or more explain specific concepts to scouts? You could even do a demonstration)
  • The attention span of the young people (the time of day and what is happening around the young people influences this too)
  • Where you stand (make sure everyone can see you and hear you okay, for example, a common mistake is to stand in the middle of the circle)
  • Be prepared for questions (people will put their hands up as soon as they have a question, it's best to wait until you've finished explaining to answer)

When you lead a game, remember to think about...
Finally, planning done; risks managed and game explained. Now it's time to play the game. As the young leader running the game, and in charge of a number of young people, it's a big responsibility. Here are a few points to consider when leading the game:
  • Whether the young people are enjoying it (if the young people are smiling, laughing and having a good time, it's working. If they're not, don't be afraid to change the game)
  • Ways to change the game (if something goes wrong - someone not playing correctly or an injury, be prepared for these situations so you don't panic if they happen)
Practice makes perfect. Not magic.
Realistically, you’re never going to get the perfect game for everyone. Often, you’ll be told just a few seconds before you’re required to run the game. Therefore, you’re never going to remember every point about running a game from the observation sheet. 

The best games often come from the more experienced leaders. This is because they’ve done it time and time again and so know what works and what doesn’t. This is why it’s important to have faith in yourself and take the opportunity to run a game. The more games you run, the better you get, no magic formula, no amazing tricks. Just practice.

At the end of the session, check you have:
Session objectives:

Check you:

  • Recognise when games can be useful
  • Take the lead in running a game
  • Understand different types and style of games and when they are appropriate
  • Are able to deal with games when they go wrong

Anyone. Anytime. Anywhere.

There are many many types of games, each one can be used at a different time. Here are 4 categories of games grouped by their type:

Whole team challenges involve the entire team working together to achieve a result. Some examples of these include:
Some examples of team games

Individual games

Individual games are games which require an individual to go head-to-head with another individual. The loser isn't necessarily out, but the individual may not have to work as part of a team, and only individually to help the team. Examples of these include: 
Individual game examples

Elimination games
Elimination games are when a game player is eliminated from the game (by being 'out'. Some examples of these include:Elimination game examples

Thinking games
Thinking games are when the players must compete with a strategy or when you must think before you play. These games are often quiet. Some examples include:
Thinking game examples

Jack Fletcher,
5 Aug 2015, 03:30