Have you got a favorite office icebreaker? If you have, its likely it involves a pen and paper – since these simple tools are always close to hand. In this article, the Business Optimizer team shares our own favorite pen and paper games.
Even in today’s digital world, the pen and paper remains an essential piece of office kit. And, since you’ll always have a pen and paper close by, using paper games to break the ice or to entertain people – whether co-workers or kids – is a fail-safe standby.
Here’s two of the best pen and paper games we know.
You’re probably familiar with the circle game where one person whispers a phrase to the next person and so on around the circle until the message comes back to its originator. It’s always fun to see how things have got muddled as the message went around the room and from person to person – and it’s a powerful demonstration of why good communication is so important.
The paper version of the game demonstrates that written communication can be just as powerful – and just as easy to get wrong!
Line up a team of at least five people. The people at the back and the front of the queue should each have a piece of paper and a pen in front of them. The person at the back of the line starts by drawing an image on their sheet of paper. Keep it secret!
Then the same person will draw that image on the back of the person in front of them – we recommend that you use Navigator’s Universal 80 g.m-2 paper due to its silky touch, which can make it easier to feel the drawing with your back. Each person in line takes it in turn to draw what they think they felt on their own back, until the person at the front of the line has had the image drawn on their back. They must now translate the image onto their sheet of paper.
Now, the team can compare the two images to see how well they managed to pass the image along! You can even play this game in teams – the winning team will be the team who manages to get the two images the most similar.
For this exercise, you’ll need a stopwatch and some sheets of Navigator’s Expression 90 g.m-2 paper and a pen. The aim is to write a story together. Each player will have two minutes (on the stopwatch!) to write part of the story. When their two minutes is up, they fold over the piece of paper, so that their part of the story is hidden – apart from the last sentence they wrote.
The next person then takes over the story writing – taking the visible sentence as their inspiration and carrying on from where the previous writer left off.
Carry on around the room like this until everyone has had a turn. You can then unfold the paper and read the story! This usually has funny and unexpected results! It’s a great exercise for encouraging people to let go and let their creativity flow. It also underlines how little you really need to get started writing. Plus, hopefully, how easy it is to generate some new ideas!
That’s all good, confidence-building stuff you can take back into your own writing and creative processes.
It’s probably a good idea to establish some ground rules first: e.g. no rude or offensive content.
You might even like to agree some constraints, so that the different sections hang together better. This could be: characters, themes, location or even a rough plot outline!
Experiment with different constraints to see what generates the best – and most creative – results!