It is going to start with one person just saying a number, and we’ll go in a clockwise direction.
I’ll say one and you’ll say two, three. As we go through the count we are going to as high as we possibly can. If you can get beyond fifty you will be in the upper echelon of groups I’ve ever worked with.
That is, we are going to keep counting all the way through the numbers as far past fifty. Means it is going to keep going around and around and around, but this is the kicker, it doesn’t come that easy, any time you come across the number of seven, either the number seven or any number involving seven or multiples of seven.
So let me cover that again.
Anytime the word seven is used, the number seven is used or multiples of seven. Now you can take your time, but if we have to sit for ten minutes and bring out the iPads to work it out it’s going a little too slow.
So for every time we make an error it will be really clear to you because everyone will point and laugh at you. No, we are not going to do that. It will just be the fun of the moment.
Then we just start to the next person on the left from one again. We just do this several times until we get as far as we can. Everybody ready?
(What happens when we get to seven?) Good question.
So when you get to that seven there is one very vital point missing. You say the word BUZZ.
So for example one, two three, four, five, six, buzz, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, buzz, fifteen, sixteen, buzz, and off we go.
Alright so we have given you the first three after that is gets a little heavier.
(Do we keep going in the same direction?)
Yup, goes in the same direction every time.
Are you ready?
That’s right, if you are being honest with me you’d say no.
Anytime that the number seven is used anywhere in the number or a multiple of seven is involved in the number say the word BUZZ, and then it goes onto the next person as if the count was continuing and you had used it.
Alright Megan would you like to start? You start with the one, it is a very simple start.
This is one of those games you either love or hate. I happen to get a kick out of it.
Form a circle, either standing or sitting. Explain that your group’s task is to count from 1 up to 100, one number per person at a time. However, there is a catch…
To begin, one person will say “ONE” and then the person to their left says “TWO” and so on. In response to a number of curious do-you-think-we-are-stupid looks, now explain that for every number that has the digit ‘7’ in it, or is a multiple of seven, the player whose turn is next must substitute the numeral with the word “BUZZ.”
An old drinking game I’m sure, but alcohol need not wet your lips, because you are sure to intoxicate your group with a dose of intense focus and explosive outbursts of laughter that is rarely ever seen.
The idea is, every time a mistake is made in the math, the counting stops, and the group starts over from zero. You are well advised not to start from the same spot each time, instead, asking the person to the left of the one who made the mistake to start.
Work it for five to ten minutes and see how far your group can get before an error occurs.
Practical Leadership Tips
Typically, the person who makes the error which stops the counting resumes a new count from “ONE.”
When you get the chance, observe the intense looks of concentration on people’s faces as the count gets higher and higher. Hilarious.
Technically speaking, if someone takes a long time to decide whether they need to say a number or “BUZZ,” the count should stop. However, if you apply too much attention to the rules as such, the fun will certainly suffer.
You could integrate Buzz as part of a well-designed SEL program to nourish the establishment and maintenance of healthy relationships by enjoying an outrageously fun group activity.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits to one’s wellbeing of enjoying a good laugh.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to successfully play Buzz speaks to the benefits of being mindful, but… this might be a stretch 🙂
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Buzz could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Three: For a greater challenge, substitute seven with another odd number, such as ‘3.’
Different Sound: Clap, not buzz.
Reverse Direction: As for any variation, once “BUZZ” is called, the direction of the count travels in reverse.
Elimination: As an elimination game, anyone who makes a mistake leaves the circle.
Sets of Ten: Each time a number divisible by ten (eg 10, 20, 30, etc) is about to be called, the person responsible will say “BUZZ” for each multiple of ten in the number. For example, for twenty, the person says “BUZZ BUZZ” and later when it comes time to say thirty, the words “BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ” must be uttered, on top of everything else, of course.
Open the Virtual Adaptation tab to learn how to present this activity online.
In advance, establish an agreed sequence or order of who goes first, second, third, etc. For ease of application, suggest the alphabetical order by the first name of each person. Tip: it helps if you instruct everyone to remember at least the one or two people in sequence directly before their turn. If you have a reliable internet connection, the simplest strategy is to ask each person to audibly say their number out loud when it is their turn. However, if there is the possibility of a lag in transmission, ask each person to type their number (or ‘buzz’) into the chat room facility.
Or, issue every person with two sets of numbers 0 to 9 printed on a sheet of paper, plus one word “BUZZ.” Tip: be sure to print the ‘7’ even though it will never be used in the standard game. Once cut from the sheet, instruct each person to lay the numbers and word (face-up) in front of them. Upon setting up the task, challenge each person to find, build and show the correct number or BUZZ to the camera (for all to see) as quickly as possible without saying anything, eg use a 2 and a 9 to create 29. Accuracy and speed are essential so you will need to determine how much time to allow an individual to indicate their response before they are deemed to have been eliminated.
If competition is your thing, repeat either of the two variations above several times in an attempt to record the world’s quickest times, eg quickest time to count to a nominated number.
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Useful Framing Ideas
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There are just too many ‘drinking games’ to number, but here is one of my favourites, and absolutely no alcohol is required…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this silly counting game:
What made this game difficult to play?
For what reasons do you think people laugh during the exercise?
What could your group do to make the count more successful? Would it still be as much fun?
Fun ‘Evening Games’ Session
What You Need:
8+ people, 60 mins
Buzz – silly counting game that is guaranteed to stimulate bursts of laughter
King Frog – animated circle game that involves good memories & sharp reflexes
BF Skinner – classic audience game in which two people volunteer to work together
The inspiration for Buzz, and many more crazy-fun activities, was sourced from the following publication: