Agile Games
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Game NameSummaryLink/ ReferenceDistributed teams? (with cameras)CommentsSizingGroupListeningFocus/ ConcentrationTeam Build (individual) CommunicationTeam Build (group)CreativityIce Breaker (retro starter)Retro CloseTrainingFriday Fun-day
Count to 34Group counts to 34 one by one, going around the group in order. Whenever your number is dividable by 3 or ends with a 3 you have to clap your hands together instead of shouting out the number. If a mistake is made, the whole group must start again game for getting people comfortable with calling each other out with mistakes
Laughter is good here
A Scrum teamSequenceYYY
Counting in the darkHave the participants stand up and form a circle. Let them close their eyes. Tell them to count to 10 aloud. Whenever two people shout out any two numbers together, let the group start over. one where people laugh their heads off as it is purely about focus
If the team is too small this becomes quite easy
A Scrum teamSequenceYY
Spot the differenceTeam members change something about themselves whilst the rest are not looking and the other team members have to spot what has changed works better as you can turn the cameras off/ zoom and it can be done even if everyone is in separate rooms
One of my favourites for team building as you notice more about the people you work with
A Scrum teamPhysicalYYY
Last letter first stand upThink the name gives away the game but you'll have to buy the book to get the full descriptionPaul Goddard Improv-ing Agile Teams pg 158YesCan be tricky for game players if they have different languages but not a blocker
Great when game players try to end with tricky words (like box)
Can use this for a non-stand up approach as well to learn about what people did over the weekend etc
Try not going in an order but nominating someone so that everyone has to listen very carefully in case they are next
A Scrum teamUpdateYYY
Sneak a PeakBuilding a structure with Lego using memory and only short peaks at the goal structure languages can make it more challenging/ easier for some people but isn't a blockerA few teamsPropsYY
Daily 'tand upYou'll have to buy the book for this one too.Paul Goddard Improv-ing Agile Teams pg 26YesFun one to do, I like to use it to do personal updates so it is team buildingA Scrum teamUpdateYYY
One word stand upYou'll have to buy the book for this one too.Paul Goddard g 63YesPossible with distributed teams but better all in the room
Good conversations afterwards if the group realise they have had different understandings
A Scrum teamUpdateYYYY
Swedish StoryYou'll have to buy the book for this one too.Paul Goddard pg 90YesOne of a few variations on story creatingA Scrum teamStoryYY
Word at a time storytellingYou'll have to buy the book for this one too.Paul Goddard pg 94YesOne of a few variations on story creatingA Scrum teamStoryYY
Collaborative drawingYou'll have to buy the book for this one too.Paul Goddard pg 61NoNot for an entire team to do together, just in pairs
Good for saying Yes to anything and equalling the statuses as neither is in control
A Scrum team or more as just for pairsDrawingY
Alphabet conversationEach person starts their sentence with the next letter of the alphabet. Attempt to carry on a conversation or tell a story. turn from being a creative game to just say a word that starts with the next letter of the alphabet if not careful. A Scrum teamStoryYYY
BarneyEach person uses the next letter of the alphabet and fills in the phrase ____ sells ____ in ____. e.g. Alice sells Apples in Algeria. This can be done with calling on the next person in order to improve focus. This is also true for many of the Warm-ups. is actually easier than it sounds once you get the hang of it. Would be an idea to add in another field to add a little extra challenge, for example adding a verb so it would be [Alice] sells [Apples] in [Alegeria] whilst [Acting]A Scrum teamLanguageYY
Big Ole SentenceThe first person comes up with a simple and short sentence. Each successive person repeats the sentence, adding another detail. The progression could go something like this: “There’s a car.” “There’s a red car.” “There’s a red sports car.” “There’s a red sports car on fire.” The game goes until the sentence gets too long for people to repeat, at which time a new sentence must be thrown out. triedA Scrum teamStoryYYYY
CaptionThe leader finds a stock photo and displays it. Each player in turn makes up a caption for the photo.'ve used this to close a retro so that the goal on the retro actions can be displayed. The group also chose the stock photo together. This activity can be hard if the team are lacking in confidence.A Scrum teamLanguageYY
Compound WordLeader tosses out a word. Next person turns it into a compound word, e.g. Buzz, buzz saw, saw blade, blade runner. So the goal is to use the second word of the previous person as your first word. When stuck feel free to use either of the previous person’s words. Also, feel free to use them for either your first or second word. So if the person before you said blade runner and you can’t come up with a compound word that starts with runner, these are all good: base runner, knife blade or razor blade. Notice we use a very liberal definition of compound word. make sure it is clear that the word must only relate to the one directly before otherwise it stallsA Scrum teamLanguageYYYY
Fortunately, UnfortunatelyThe first person starts a story with the word fortunately. The next person continues the thought but their first word is unfortunately, then fortunately, and so on like this:
Fortunately, I found a magic lamp.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a magic genie inside.
Fortunately, it was gold.
Unfortunately, it was just gold plated>YesThis one gets better if you play it multiple times with the same groupA Scrum teamStoryYYYYY
Fortune CookieEveryone puts their hands together. One word at a time you build up a wise saying that could be found on a fortune cookie. When someone feels it’s finished, everyone bows and say yes, yes, yes, yes. Over phone have leader type the phrase so everyone can see it.>YesOver the phone I haven't found it necessary to type it out
Or to do the bowing part, that felt strange to me
Otherwise can be fun, especially to close a retro
A Scrum teamStoryYYYYY
Free AssociationThe first person says a random word. Each subsequent person tries to say a word that has some connection to the previous word. Everyone must listen for when the topic changes. If someone is stuck they should toss out any random word.>YesThe faster this runs the better!A Scrum teamLanguageYYYYY
Fuzzy DuckyLeader calls out the number 1 and each following person adds 1 to the count with the following exceptions:
Say Fuzzy if your number is divisible by 3 or if it ends in 3.
Say Ducky if your number is divisible by 7 or if it ends in 7.
Say Fuzzy Ducky if both of the above are true.>YesHarder version of Count to 34 gameA Scrum teamSequenceYYY
Giberish DictionaryA person makes up a word and asks the next person for the definition of the word. The next person repeats the word and then provides a definition, then they make up a word and asks another person to define it.>YesDefinitions can be asked to be themed around a topic. We had particular fun when asking them to be related to our work as a team/ for a themed retro. A Scrum teamLanguageYYYYY
One DuckThe 1st person says “One duck”.
2nd person says “fell in”.
3rd says “the pond”.
4th says “kerplunk”.
Next person starts the phrase over but since this is the 2nd time through 2 people say each part.
5th person says “One duck”.
6th says “One duck”.
7th says “fell in”.
8th says “fell in”.
9th says “the pond”.
10th says “the pond”.
11th says “kerplunk”.
12th says “kerplunk”.
Now since it’s the 3rd time through 13th to 15th say “One duck”.
16th to 18th say “fell in”.
19th to 21st say “the pond”.
22nd to 24th say “kerplunk”.
And so on. This will always get messed up and when it does we all say “awwww” and start back at the beginning.>YesThe faster the betterA Scrum teamOtherYYY
Reverse StoryThe first person comes up with the last line of a story. Each successive person says a sentence that would precede the previous sentence. The progression could go something like this:
“Jill happily left the hospital.”
“Doctor Smith looked over her x-rays and said nothing was broken.”
“Jill was wheeled back to her room.”
“X-rays were taken.”
“Jill saw a very tired intern and explained what happened.”
“Jill’s friend Sally drove her to the hospital.”
“A skateboarder got wild and ran into his Aunt Jill.”>YesA Scrum teamStoryYYYYY
Rube Goldberg machineThe idea of this game is to describe a Rube Goldberg Machine (machine that is deliberately over-engineered or overdone to perform a very simple task in a very complicated fashion) one player at a time. The last person has the enviable position of describing the final outcome which should be something relatively mundane. Here’s an example:
“I roll a ball down a ramp.”
“The ball knocks into a stack of dominoes.”
“The dominoes fall and flip a switch.”
“Flipping the switch pops a balloon.”
“The popping sound scares a cat.”

Last player wraps it up: “My answering machine starts playing.”>YesUseful to show a video if people are unfamiliar with what a Rube Goldberg machine isA Scrum teamStoryYYYY
Helium StickGroup must lower a helium stick to the floor together>NoNot tried this one
Need a helium stick to do this
A Scrum teamPhysicalY
Human machineMake a physical machine>NoNot tried this oneA Scrum teamPhysicalY
Sound ballPassing different sounds around the circle>NoNot tried this oneA Scrum teamOtherYY
Line UpGive the group the task to line-up in order of height (tallest-shortest) without talking.>NoBeen a part of this one, but using different categories. Once everyone has lined up you can use this random ordering to seat people or form teams.A workshop with multiple teamsPhysicalY
What are you doing?Someone mimes an action, next person asks what they are doing, mimer gives them a different action to act out>YesThis one is hilarious. Great physical game to remove any hierarchy from the room as everyone has to be silly. A Scrum teamPhysicalYY
User Story MadlibsCreating a User Story together by naming verbs, nouns etc and then placing them into a pre-defined User Story. See my blogYesI have found this one useful to get a shared understanding of how the team wants their User Stories to be A Scrum teamLanguageYYY
Untangle yourselvesRandomly join hands in a circle and get back to being untangles game
When asking people to hold someone else's arm make sure there is only one person holding each arm
Set a time limit on the game as it isn't possible every time
A Scrum teamPhysicalYYY
Blind drawingPairs sitting back to back. Give one person the pen and paper and the other person the picture. The person with the picture describes the picture to their teammate without actually saying what it is. For example, if the image is a worm in an apple, do not say, "Draw an apple with a worm in it." The person with the pen and paper draws what they think the picture depicts.>YesNot triedPairsCommunicationY
CluedoCompetitive game to find out who dunnit. Players must play rock, paper, scissors with others in the room to learn which object, person, or room they have.See my blogNoThis takes a lot of preparation and is over quite quickly. It was fun to run with everyone. No more than 25Physical
Pass the DrawingStand the team in a line with everyone facing the back of the person in front. Each person needs pen and paper. Ask the person at the back to draw an image (20 seconds). They can then show this image to the person in front for 2 seconds only. The person in front then has 15 seconds to reproduce it. They then show it to the person in front for 2 seconds, who then has 15 seconds to reproduce it and so on. Compare the progression of the picture at the end. Can't find where I got this one from NoThis one was great to be able to create conversation about how the team(s) communicate and how conversations can get lost in translationA workshop with multiple teamsDrawingYY
Complex PiecesEverybody stand up and walk around. Each person think about two other people. Without saying names, each person should stay equal distance from the two people they thought about. This should take one minute as people move around. length of time that this takes depends on how many people and how much they strive for perfection (some teams just think it is good enough quite quickly). There are lots of variations to try, like having one person direct, moving a person and making them static, different communication rules.A workshop with multiple teamsPhysicalYY
Classic film stillsClassic film stills - give one to each person who arrives and ask them to put themselves in order from start to finish of the film without showing each other their photos. If you don't know the film, you must get help. If you know the film well, offer help.Can't find where I got this one from NoThis one was liked as a problem solving challenge for a team(s). Be strict on the timebox and maybe have a large clock diplaying the countdown as it is easy to get carried away in this one.A workshop with multiple teamsProblem SolvingY
Collaboratve face drawingPairing up to draw different parts of each others faces.>NoThis one didn't go down too well as when it ended people weren't too sure on the point of the exercise. A workshop with multiple teamsDrawingY
Hello, my name is... ECHOEveryone says the following sentence "Hello my name is [name] and I like to [hobby] and whilst they are saying the hobby they should do the action of that hobby. Everyone then echoes back 'Hello [name] who likes to [hobby], also repeating the action Can't find where I got this one from YesThis is my favourite game to introduce new people to each other. A Scrum teamIntroductionsYY
4 Heads are Better than 1This game is designed to evoke the conversation around whether it is better to do tasks individually or to group together on them.To be added to my blogNoI used this game to help start the conversation with a team about working together to work towards getting value done quicker. A Scrum teamProblem SolvingYY
Tornado TimEveryone introducing themselves to the team with an alliterative word to their first name and quick introduction gameA workshop with multiple teamsIntroductionsYY
SnowballEveryone writes the answers to questions on a piece of paper about themselves
Screw up the piece of paper and have a snowball fight
Pick up a random snowball
Find the person by asking people the questions sure you are in a space where the snowballs can't go missingA workshop with multiple teamsIntroductionsY
Toilet paper introTell everyone to grab a few pieces of toilet paper without saying why. Participants then have to share as many facts about themselves as they took sheets of toilet paper. Scrum teamIntroductionsY
Two truths and a lieGive everyone time to prepare 3 statements about themselves, two of which are true and one which is a lie. Each person presents their statements back to the room and the others have to guess which is the lie. is an easy game to learn a lot about each other and get people to feel comfortable around each other both from revealing and from guessing .A Scrum teamIntroductionsYYY
Marshmallow TowersAsk teams to build a tower out of spaghetti, string, and tape with a marshmallow on the top. is a classic agile game to talk through the difference between upfront design and iterative. It also has conversations about collaboration, and has been used to study intrinsic motivation. A Scrum teamProblem SolvingY
Freeze FrameCreate a freeze frame that sums up a a subject matter (whatever theme you want).Can't find where I got this one from YesThis is better in groups but can be done individually. Give groups a little bit longer than individuals to work out their freeze frameA Scrum team Physical YY
Coin date gameChoose a random coin from someone's wallet (with persmission of course). Everyone must give a fact about themselves relating to that year. From a talk by Helen MeekYesThis can be a little tricky for some to think of something about themselves to say but most people find it easy enough to join in. Good for learning about each other from a time before the project/ team began. A Scrum teamIntroductionsYYY
Unlikely Superheroes Each participant creates a superhero version of themselves based on how they see themselves in the team / project - Complete with appropriate superpowers, weaknesses and possibly an arch-nemesis. have found this one can reveal to the team quite a lot about how someone sees themselves as a part of it which may have not been known beforeA Scrum teamDrawingYY
Height ScaleThis is similar to the constellation exercise which I amended to allow it to be used by distributed teams. Players must either grow or shrink in height depending on how much they agree with a statement (i.e. stretch up tall for really agree, and crouch down low for really disagree). Amended from have used this one for retro check ins, but found it quite good to make up statements to link back to the agile principles as well. A Scrum teamPhysicalYY
Constellation opening and closing In this game people move closer into a point or further away depending on how strongly they agree with a statement have used this one for teams and workshops to highlight trends and focus on talking points. A workshop with multiple teamsPhysicalYY
Super hero poses Everyone stands in a super hero pose for a minute whilst they focus on how they are going to be super in silence. game is designed to get people to focus. I have found it useful before a mentally taxing challenge or to get back into a workshop after lunch. A workshop with multiple teamsPhysicalYY
ScrumheadsA game designed to use role play to act out bad behaviours in a Daily Stand- Up. team members have to feel fairly comfortable with role play otherwise this is a tricky one to get momentum on. A Scrum team PhysicalY
Wake up in the morning - User Story MappingThis game teaches teams how to build a User Story map using the journey of a morning routine. Also see User Story Mapping by Jeff PattonNoI've found this one quite successful for teaching and discussing User Story Mapping A Scrum teamSimulationY
Agile Clock An exercise for discussion into the 12 agile principles by creating a 3 word phrase and choosing a picture that sums each princple up and placing them in a circle, like a clock face.'ve enjoyed using this one both to introduce the agile principles and to refresh on them. This needs a strict timebox otherwise it can swell to be a long exercise needlessly.A Scrum teamLanguageY
Scrum Roles and Responsibilities An exercise for teaching and discussing the roles and responsibilities in Scrum brings out good discussions about roles and responsibilites of Scrum, particularly in a team that already knows something so the assumptions or misunderstandings can be discussed. A Scrum teamProblem SolvingY
Ball Game SimulationA simple Scrum simulation game where teams perform iterations of passing a ball between each other according to the rules. They can then iterate and improve for future iterations. link has a lot of good variations to try. A Scrum teamSimulationYY
Penny gameThis is a classic agile game to look at batch sizes and flow. The simple idea is to form a production line of coin flippers. The next person can only start flipping the coins once the person before them has finished flipping as many coins as count in a batch. Time how long it takes for the coins to reach the end of the production line for each batch size. The link here has a few more variations on that to broaden the conversations we can have. I played this as part of my training chocolate coins were used which I thought was a nice as you get to eat the game at the end! A Scrum teamSimulationY
TAKE SHAPE!Stand in a circle, ask everyone to remember who was on their left, walk around, strike a pose, imitate the pose that the person on your left did thought this one would be harder, and therefore more enjoyable but the group I did it with didn't seem particularly fussed by it. Maybe need to try and do it faster...?A workshop with multiple teamsPhysicalYYY
Someone like me Stand in a circle with one person in the middle, the person says a statement, anyone who agrees with the statement swaps places, last person to not swap is the new middle person for the next round was a great get to know you game that also acted as an energiser. When everyone is standing in the circle ask people to stand an equal distance apart so that the spaces can be seen.A workshop with multiple teamsPhysicalYYY
Mirror GameIn pairs mirror each others movements. Start with one person leading, then the other, then try so that both lead and follow at the same time played this with my teams. My expectation was that it would be a good focus game but some challenged each other to tricky moves and it became a great laugh. Maybe to get the focus back, introduce the challenge of fooling people with who is leading A workshop with multiple teamsPhysicalYYY
Walk Jump Freeze DashStart by telling the group the commands they need to do, then let the team shout out their own commands, then have the team enact a command but with no instruction workshop with multiple teamsPhysicalYYY
Word DisassociationEach person must say 4 words that are not associated with each other. The next person must then add four words on, etc. Scrum teamLanguageYYYY
Answers to questionsPerson A says an answer to a questions, person B must then make up a question that might give that answer and then make up an answer, person C thinks of a question for person B's answer etc Scrum teamLanguageYYY
Lava FlowClassic 'The floor is lava' game. Teams must cross a space only standing on 2/3 objects. All team members must cross to the other side without anyone touching the floor. played this game with a team and set a 10min time limit for 8 people to complete getting across a meeting room. They completed in around 7 mins for reference. A workshop with multiple teamsPhysicalYY
Barter PuzzleTeams are each given a jigsaw with some of the pieces mixed up across the different teams. Teams have to barter to get their puzzle pieces and try to finish fastest. workshop with multiple teamsProblem SolvingY
All Adrift Teams have to decide which items to save from a sinking ship this game being played by a group of 7 (split into 2 teams). Both teams had higher individual scores than team scores, so the lesson was slightly missing. Unless someone is a member of the RNLI the correct answers can be deflating for not knowing them as the teams had no chance. A Scrum teamProblem SolvingYY
Bridge BuildTeams must build two bridges that will fit together at the end of the time limit without being able to see each other Scrum teamProblem SolvingYYYYY
Electric FenceTeams must cross an 'electric' fence whilst always touching another member of the group. Scrum teamProblem SolvingYYY
Group orderA group aligns themselves in an order based on a category set. Rules can be introduced to not allow people to speak. have been a part of this game. It was used to line people up in what they considered to be their skill in a topic. The facilitator then used that to distribute the skill into different groups for training (i.e. number people down the line as group 1,2,3,1,2,3 etc.)A workshop with multiple teamsCommunicationYYYY
Powerpoint KaraokeEach person must present a slide from a slide deck that they have never seen before to the rest of the group. game was fun, particularly with the more obscure slides to talk about. We let everyone speak from sitting down as we were distributed, but I think it would work better for people to stand up with the slide. A Scrum teamCommunicationY
SlideshowOne team member talks through a story whilst the other team members act out the slides that go with the narration. Scrum teamPhysicalYY
MinefieldOne team member must walk blindfolded through the minefield whilst other team members give them directions Scrum teamCommunicationYY
Zip, Zap, BoingThe team stands in a circle and pass around an imaginary energy. Zip passes it to the next person in the circle, zap passes it across the circle to whoever you pass at, boing changes the direction of the energy and bounces it back at who sent it to you. ?NoGreat game, the faster the better. A Scrum teamPhysicalYYY
Would you ratherAsk the teams to vote (by standing on sides of the room for example) on Would You Rather statements - list of these can be found online?YesThis is great for helping teams feel safe as there are no good answers. Be aware of cultural differences and sensitivities with some of the questionsA workshop with multiple teamsPhysicalYYYY
Heads or TailsTeam members have to bet on a coin flip landing on heads or tails by putting their hands on their heads or their tails. People sit down when they are wrong. Keep playing rounds until there is a winner. Charity eventsYesThis game doesn't lend itself to setup any further activities but can be done quickly to get people energised a littleA workshop with multiple teamsPhysical
Human Rock Paper ScissorsSplit the group into two. Each team has to decide to make the shape of Rock, Paper, or Scissors to play the game. Best of 5 rounds. workshop with multiple teamsPhysicalY
Find Your PairEach person is given an animal on a post it. There are pairs of each animal in the room. Pairs must find each other by making the animal noise. workshop with multiple teamsPhysicalY
Visual PhoneIn threes. The first person writes a sentence, the second draws a picture of that sentence, the third writes a sentence of that picture. game can be used for communication/ interpretation conversationsA workshop with multiple teamsDrawingYYYYYY