Free Game: If You Had A

Looking for a fun and easy game to play with your family this holiday? Here’s one that my family has developed over the past several months. We call it “If you had a,” and all it takes to play is imagination.

Start the game

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One person asks a question that starts with “If you had a” and ends with “what would it be?” Here are some example questions to get you started:

  1. If you had a castle what would it be?
  2. If you had a birthday cake what would it be?
  3. If you had an adventure, what would it be?
  4. If you had a treehouse, what would it be?

Easy, right? Just think of something that would be fun to tell stories about

Time to Play

Now, go around the circle, with each person giving their answer to the question. Creativity is good, so is humor. There are two rules:

  1. The person who asks the question answers lasts
  2. You can’t include something that someone else already used. For example, if someone else put a firepole in their treehouse, you can’t.

Keep the answers relatively short. A timer isn’t needed here. Instead, once people get the idea of what’s being described, they should simply speak up.

Scoring

Scoring is optional, and doesn’t work if you only have two players, but my kids love it.

Here’s how: After everyone has answered, go around the circle in reverse order (so the last person who answered is now the first person to vote), voting on which is the best answer. When you vote, you cannot vote for yourself. You can give any reason you want for your vote, or none at all. You can also give a tie, dividing your vote among all the other players. You may not give a tie between some of the other players. Either pick one winner, or split your vote between everyone else.

In the end, whoever has the most votes wins.

Get the Creative Juices Flowing

Sometimes, it helps to hear what other people have come up with. Here are a couple of the answers from our games:

  • If you had a zoo, what would it be? A zoo that is incorporated into a city, with animal enclosures on roofs and suspended on the sides of buildings. Lions roam in a long, wide multi-story habitat that hangs on the outside of the buildings along mainstreet. Monkeys swing across skybridges over the streets, and gazelle peek down over rooftops. People wake not just to the sounds of traffic, but also lions roaring.
  • If you had a treehouse, what would it be? Imagine a peaceful forest in the mountains. Birds twitter in the trees, and you can hear small animals rustling in the underbrush. A river flows quietly through the middle of this forest, and if you look carefully at a bend in the river, you’ll see a rope hanging down from the branches overhead. The rope leads to a trapdoor in a treehouse that is completely hidden by leaves. Pulling on it, causes the kayak you’re riding in to be raised up into a wooden treehouse. The treehouse has three levels, with spiral staircases connecting them. Standing on the roof, you’re above the trees. It’s the perfect place for stargazing.

Educational and Fun

Like any storytelling game, this one fosters creativity, imagination, and encourages good storytelling. What makes it standout is how freeflowing it is. People can give ridiculous answers or serious ones, and there’s no telling how the votes will go. It also fits into the nooks and crannies of your daily life.

Sitting in a long car ride? Stuck waiting for a movie to start? Start an “If you had a” game, and the time will fly by!


In addition to being the editor and web guy for Games for Educators, Patrick Matthews writes stories, designs games, and builds web sites. Stop by DaddyTales for a quick laugh, or check out Live Oak Games to see some of his award-winning games.

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