Given that our team decided to pivot into creating a “getting to know you” game, I chose to discuss Never Have I Ever, one of the more common icebreaker games played among college-aged people.
The game doesn’t have a typical theme per se. The reason is that a theme could detract from the task of getting to know each other deeply. When players play Never Have I ever, they do not engage in fantasy – instead they must engage in reality, sharing there deepest darkest deeds.
At the start of a game, each player puts ten fingers up. Then, players take turns sharing experiences they haven’t done that they believe others have done. If someone has done one of the experiences shared, they lower a finger. The loser is the player who ends up with zero fingers up. There are alternative versions of the game where instead of lowering fingers, players drink an alcoholic beverage. Despite the bare-bones rules, the game is not without strategy. In order to win, a player has to target individuals with experiences they suspect the individual has experienced. The simple rules allow the game to be explained and played quickly.
The game engages in Narrative, Fellowship, and Discovery types of fun. The Narrative fun comes from the evolving narratives that players bring out from each other as they learn about each other’s lives. You can target someone with a never have I ever, and then obtain more information in the next round using a different never have i ever. You put the story together of a person’s life. Discovery fun comes from the discovery of facts about the person. Instead of uncovering secrets in a world, you uncover secrets in a person. Fellowship comes from the intense social interaction from the game. The fun in the game is getting to know the people.
Our team is hoping to create a “getting to know you” game, and Never Have I Ever might be the king in this genre. Other popular alternatives are Truth or Dare and 2 Truths and a Lie, but Never Have I Ever gives players the ability to extract information from each other in a fun way, allowing other players to answer in yes or no format, rather than being pressured to over-share like in Truth or Dare. We hope to incorporate this ability into our game. However, the simplicity, straightforwardness, and teenageriness of Never Have I Ever are off-putting to certain player groups. During a typical match of Never Have I Ever, the game quickly devolves into figuring out what the raunchiest things people have done are, a la “Never have I ever puked on a dog” or “Never have I ever put a cucumber in my anus.” For our game, we hope to offset some of this stupidity with more mechanics, random chance, and possibly some mini-games.