A classic improv game designed to encourage creative thinking, develop improvisation skills, and energize a group - great to break the ice and generate laughter with minimal set-up!
To engage workshop participants with a fast, fun improv game and encourage creative thinking at the start of a session.
Explain the game to your group. The aim of Questions Only is for pairs to improvise a conversation where every sentence is a question.
For example, if I asked you "How are you doing this morning?" you would have to answer with another question, such as, "What are you doing up so early?"
The basic rules for the game are:
- every question needs to be answered with another question
- if you answer a question with something other than a question, you're out of the game!
- you can't simply repeat the question that was asked to you. For example, "How are you doing today?" shouldn't be answered with "How are YOU doing today?"
For advanced groups, I add the rule that too much hesitation in responding to a question means you're out too.
Ask participants to pair up. Each participant takes it in turns to start a conversation with a question. Repeat a few times so that each person has a turn at starting the conversation.
Want to spice things up? Between rounds, give participants a topic such as a holiday, animals, or football. Each person should try to ask questions related to that topic.
Ask pairs to converge into small groups. Next, play the game again as a set of four, going clockwise around the group. But add the rule that you have to start with a different question word than the last person.
For example, if I asked you, "What did you have for dinner?" you would have to respond with a Why, How, When, Where, or Who question. You couldn't respond with a What question, or you'd be out!
Play for another few rounds so that each person in the group gets a turn at starting the conversation.
Tips for running this activity online
- When running this online, we tend to stick to steps 1 and 2 and move to a tournament set-up to keep things moving. Have the facilitator pair people up to play the first round before then picking another pair to play the next round. Make a note of all the winners from the first round and pair those up. Continue until you have a winner!
- Often, the game proceeds for only a few back and forths before you find a winner - if you find that two people are REALLY good at the game, introduce the challenge to respond with a different question type.
- Preferably have a gallery view turned on for all participants, so everyone can see everyone during this exercise.