Introduce five animated creatures, each with a unique physical stance and sound. For example:
– Egg – crouch down into a little ball with legs, and make muffled “EEK-EEK” sounds.
– Chicken – flap your arms by your sides and make clucking sounds.
– Dinosaur – raise your arms above your head, take big heavy strides and make scary noises.
– Ninja Turtle – make like a kung-fu champion slicing the air with lots of karate chops and kicks.
– Supreme Being – fold your arms like a genie, look calm and wise.
Everyone aims to become a Supreme Being.
When play begins, everyone starts at the lowest level (the egg.)
To progress through the five phases, each creature must find another like-creature and play a quick round of Rock-Paper-Scissors.
The ‘winner’ steps up one evolutionary phase, and the ‘loser’ will drop down a phase.
In the case of two eggs facing-off, the ‘loser’ remains an egg.
Play for a minute or two, or until the energy starts to wane.
I’m going to ask you as a group now to help me create five characters. These are my favourite characters if you use them with another group you could choose any other five characters, but these are the five that I particularly enjoy.
The first one relates to effectively the start of the universe where I’m basically this amoeba. I’m this egg, this small very small little atom where I start the evolutionary process.
Already people are going into a space where oh yeah I know this activity. Hold on, be sure that you’re listening to what I’m going to introduce because it could be a slight difference.
So start with me is that the amoeba is very, very small and it starts like this and it makes a sound where it goes “beep, beep, beep, beep.” It’s basically it’s little heart beat. It’s actually a life it’s just starting. So on the count of three I ‘d like you to show me the amoebas in this room. One, two, three.
(Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep.)
Alright, that is where the evolution starts. Alright, you could also regard that as an egg, but at some point the egg then became a chicken. And the chicken have with it’s wings out the side it creates a chicken like format. Such as…
Place the chicken now in this room, go. Show me the chicken.
(Group walks around clucking like a chicken.)
Good, alright, good. We have an egg, we have a chicken, we move in the evolutionary process from the chickens into the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs are identified as very large so with your hands above your head, and with really big stomping sounds a growl will be made as you move around the room. So it’ll be like….
For example, go. Show us your dinosaurs.
(Group walking around as dinosaurs as part of evolution game.)
Alright, good. Quick recap, quick recap show us the egg…
(Beep, beep, beep.)
The highest form of human evolution could be regarded as the ninja turtle, where they are highly evolved where they have the ability of doing Karate chops and all sorts of kicks like that as you see in the most famous martial art movie.
So without actually touching anybody, but chop the air with both your legs and your feet and making a chopping sound. Go…
(The group practises the ninja turtle action as part of evolution game)
And all of this, all of this is coming together to reach the highest level of being for anyone on this Earth is to receive the supreme being-ness of being better than everybody else. You stand there, and you don’t even make a sound because you’re higher than that, you’re better than that. With your arms crossed you just sort of pull out from the room to the side and watch and laud over everybody else and all other activity. You don’t need to compete because you’re above all of that. Everyone aims to become a supreme being.
Let’s quickly recap what those five are, go.
(Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, clucking, roar, chopping sound, supreme being-ness as part of Evolution game)
Beautiful, alright. For those who are not introduced to the concept, what happens now is that we all start off as eggs or as the amoebas. Everyone starts and you’re only ever participate or engage in mortal combat of someone of the same level.
So for example, if Ash and I were both chickens we could play, but if she was an egg or an amoeba and I was a chicken I couldn’t actually engage with her. But at the very beginning everyone can engage with each other because you’re all at the same level.
When you win you go up a level, however if you lose you go down a level. So two dinosaurs meeting one goes up to a ninja turtle, one goes down to a chicken. If two chickens meet one goes down to an egg, one goes up to a dinosaurs. Naturally when two ninja turtles meet one becomes a supreme being and they stay there forever, and the other one goes down to…
Dinosaur, I lost my count. Yeah, you got the idea? The way in which you engage is through a simple rock, paper, scissors.
So for example, and it’s a simple one, two, three. You could say “rock, paper scissors” or “one, two, three,” but it’s on three that you shoot. So you got the basics there Ash? So you ready? Okay, alright, one, two, three. Okay so who wins here?
Scissors beat paper, if paper would always beat rock, and rock would always beat scissors. One always beats another. Once you identify who wins you then identify who goes up an evolutionary phase and who goes down an evolutionary phase.
Your objective is to become a supreme being, however of course the closer you get sometimes you come back down again. Got the basic idea? Are there any questions?
(Is it best of three or is it?)
Nope, it’s an elimination round every single times unless of course you both have the same then you go into another round. Alright, you’re all starting off as amoebas and eggs.
(Each person plays Evolution.)
How To Play Narrative
Feel free to spin whatever story you choose to introduce this game, the wilder the better.
Here’s my take on the evolutionary cycle…
Ask your group to help you create five evolutionary creatures. At the bottom of the food chain, we have the egg, followed by the chicken, the dinosaur, a Ninja Turtle (the ultimate human form!), and finally, the all-knowing Supreme Being.
Each of these creatures has a unique physical representation. Invite your group to copy these movements and sounds as you demonstrate them. It’s way fun, and besides, you look funny doing them on your own.
Egg – crouch down into a little ball with legs, and make muffled “EEK-EEK” sounds.
Chicken – flap your arms by your sides and make clucking sounds.
Dinosaur – raise your arms above your head, take big heavy strides and make scary noises.
Ninja Turtle – make like a kung-fu champion slicing the air with lots of karate chops and kicks.
Supreme Being – fold your arms like a genie, look calm and wise.
Now, explain that everyone will start the evolutionary cycle at the lowest level – the egg. To progress through the five phases, each creature must find another like-creature (not too hard in the beginning,) and play a quick round of Rock-Paper-Scissors.
Whoever wins the round, steps up one evolutionary phase, and the ‘loser’ will step down a phase. In the case of an egg, there is no lower phase, so if an egg loses a round, they remain as an egg.
Everyone wants to become a Supreme Being, ie for this to happen, two Ninja Turtles must face-off, and play a game of ‘Rock-Paper-Scissors’ – the winner becomes Supreme, and the loser returns to being a Dinosaur.
Once you become Supreme, you are no longer required to play (Supreme Beings are above this nonsense,) and they can simply stand out to the side with their arms crossed, noses in the air looking very self-righteous.
Play for a minute or two, and then wrap it up.
Turn to applaud the Supreme Beings, and then the disconsolate Eggs.
Practical Leadership Tips
The bigger and more enthusiastic your presentation of each evolutionary creature, the more your group will get into it.
By all means, invite your group to create the moves and sounds of each creature. This will increase buy-in and the activity is more likely to succeed.
Note, it’s not possible to have everyone achieve Supreme Being status (nor is this desirable!) so plan to wrap the game up when you sense most people have had enough.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits of a short burst of gentle exercise and enjoying a good laugh. In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to successfully play Evolution speaks to the benefits of being resilient because it is not uncommon to see some people never progress beyond being a chicken or an egg.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Evolution could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Movements of Evolution: Identify five distinct areas within your playing space, in which people of a similar genealogy exist and play, ie everyone starts in the first area as eggs, and the winners race to the chicken area to face-off with other chickens, etc.
Continuous Play: For a more continuous format, invite Supreme Beings to match wits with one another, ie play a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, and the winner remains supreme, but the loser goes back to being an egg!
Alternate Creation Stories: Substitute the five evolutionary creatures with four or five other creatures or objects, eg fish, cars, insects, comic-book characters, etc.
Substitute the Rock-Paper-Scissors format with any other competitive element. For example, toss of a coin (heads win, tails lose,) UBUNTU Cards (first to pick the match wins,) Slap Bang (winner advances,) randomly selecting a card from a deck of playing cards (highest card wins,) etc.
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Useful Framing Ideas
Much debate has occurred over the years in regards how the earth came into being, and how humans evolved. Was everything created in seven days, or did we all just evolve from a freak cosmic accident. No matter, this next exercise invites you to consider the hierarchy of all earthly beings…
One of the oldest philosophical arguments to be heard is which one came first – the chicken or the egg? After extensive, thorough, empirical research, I have come to the conclusion that the egg trumped the chicken. Yes, that’s right! The egg got here first, and following a particularly warm summer one year, one of the early pre-historic eggs cracked open to reveal a chicken…
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 chaotic, fun community-building game:
Was it fun to play an animated character with enthusiasm?
How did it feel to frequently drop-back to the lower levels of evolution? Why?
How did it feel to become a Supreme Being? Why?
Does this game mirror certain behaviours and patterns in our life?
Fun Large Group ‘Evening’ Session
What You Need:
10+ people, 60 mins, Mr & Mrs Wright story (Print+Play), pens & paper, a roll of masking tape