My idea: improv games meets amazon product reviews


While there are several sites that have a collection of games and exercises, they are static. There is no dialogue around how useful the exercise is, how one could use it in different settings, or what are common experiences from a game. 


What if there was a "recipe center" of improv games where people discussed them.


After AIN 2011, I've realized that an improv game is not the same thing as a recipe. Before the conference I thought they were the same. One-word-at-a-time is a great way of teaching listening, co-ownership, and letting go of one's preconceived ideas. If we all did that exercise with a different group, I'd imagine we'd have similar debriefing sessions eliciting similar experiences. However, after AIN2011, I realize that a game can be used for very different purposes with very different outcomes. In some sense, the exercise is a recipe that can be expanded and altered. Someone might change step two to illicit a different outcome, or ask specific questions to drive towards a goal. 


Given these interesting constraints, do you think site where people talked about an exercise and rated it would be useful?


If so, may I contact you over the coming weeks and interview you? (I have a prototype that I can show you.) 


What things do you look for in a improv game collection? 


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Replies to This Discussion

I too think this is wonderful. There is some precedent in sites or DVD's that index drama games for k-12 school teachers based on grade levels they can be used for and skills and curriculum areas they can be applied to. Feel free to call me. I'd love to help.


Missed the conference this year and i'd love to hear more about this Todd so feel free to get in contact. Coming from a social sustainability focus I'm very interested in Belina's 'how can improv save the world'

Maybe there's some online concept mapping approach that can be employed to show where games/themes etc. are interrelated eg/ I've tried VUE:



Great idea, Todd, and a big one at that! Feel free to contact me to interview!


I, too, think searchability is key. Perhaps we could use Sue Walden's spreadsheet of different types of Applied Improv as a starting point. Another option would be different themes ("Yes/And," "Status," "Attentiveness," "Letting Go of Control," and the like...

So many possibilities!



hai Todd,

I agree that it is very worthwhile to look at the different ways the same excercise can be used. In the improv-academy which I run in Holland, i train each year a group of students who want to become an improv teacher. It is often a surprise, how different individual players/students have different ideas, about the same game. One way i deal with this is by using this assignment.

Look at a specific goal which you think this excercise teaches. Then (re)design and do this excercise in such a way that this goal will come out. It usualy gives a great inside of the different perspectives the same game can be used. So if you, use this assignment as a startingpoint for a game like One word at a time, AIN-ers can contribute by setting a specific goal, describe how they use this game to achieve this goal. It means that you write something about the way you introduce it, how you debriefe it, how you alter or ad a specific rule, etc. (for example: if being used as a closing-excercise for a session of managers, I start the one word story with: "once upon a time there was a group of managers who....." and then start the story)

If you put this in a sort of format which people can fill in. It can easily and gradually grow this way and will add wisdom to the wonderfull world of applied improv.

And you can contact me if you would like to think along. I am currently writing a book (in Dutch) about (different) ways of using improv for trainingsessions, so it would be a pleasure to share things.

This is an interesting idea, if ambitious. :) You can contact me if you'd like some feedback on your concept.



This is a very good idea.  Of course, the next thought is to make it searchable by name, some basic descriptive info about the make-up of the game, the number of participants necessary (small, large, doesn't matter), and the various outcomes for which people have found it useful. 


Come to think of it, I don't even know if this site has that sort of customizing potential.

I'm with you Todd. But I see a rather large obsticle that I'm sure all of our clever members can overcome. To wit: (I've always wanted to say "To Wit:) Games don't have common titles. I play a game I call "Statistics," and Sue introduced the same game as "How about you?" I'm sure we can overcome this little obsticle with some good "yes and" thinking so let's get at it.

Todd....your story reminds me of the AIN conference several years ago in SF where I saw Izzy Gesell work word-at-a-time for 40 minutes and get great conversations and learning for the group.  Blew my mind.


When I put together the Playbook (improv games for performers) [] it was pretty much as a simple reminder of the games we play in improv - in short hand.  I felt that the more we describe a game the more we limit it.....and I think a place to discuss games and how to leverage them for participation and insight would be great.


I really missed being at the conference this year...and I'm glad that it was inspiring.




Great idea Todd.

Why don't you start here and upload the games that you know in a similar way to what Tiagi does?

Like Design Thinking, first do , then improve , then once the content is ready it will be easy to go online.



I think the is an excellent idea and your experience pretty much mirrors mine as far as how my view of games has changed.  I would love to see a discussion about different games and new ideas for using and modifying them - as well as ideas for completely new ones.  I'm particularly interested in games that help large groups to bond and have fun (ala Matt Weinstein) as well as games that are able to get a remote audience interacting with a live one.  I'm happy to help in any way I can. :)


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