Each team forms a circle by holding hands facing into the circle.
Position the circles so that the outside edge of each circle passes over a designated spot, eg hula-hoop lying on ground.
Each team rotates their circle, in any direction, always passing a part of their circle over the designated spot.
Randomly and simultaneously tap the shoulders of one person from each team when they are passing over the designated spot.
Upon being tapped, the two circles stop moving as these two people spin around and attempt to name the other as quickly as possible to earn a point for their team.
Play continues for several minutes.
The team with the most points wins.
Video Transcript for Name Roulette
presented by Nate Folan
So we’re going to continue with a little bit of that playful competitiveness as we go, and what I’m just going to ask is that the four teams that we have are going to condense down to two teams. So this team and this team if you could become one team over here, and this team and this team if you could condense into a team over here.
And as you do that if you could form a circle as such that one person in each team would be in one of these two hoops. So someone on this team will be standing in the blue hoop and then form a circle this way. This team same thing, one person in the red hoop, turning this way.
Good there? All set? And just for practice if you could reach out to your left and right, grabbing hands, just like that, and I’ll just invite you to right now just to rotate yourselves clockwise, just practise rotating clockwise. And each time you move having someone stepping into that hoop, just practising this motion. Great. Stop right there. Nice.
And we’re going to go… You’ll have those moments. We’ll go counter-clockwise or anti-clockwise, so whatever that means to you. Counter-clockwise. Anti-clockwise. Nice. Great. Stop. Clockwise. Stop. Counter-clockwise. Stop. Great. So thanks for bringing some awareness Steph.
No worries. You don’t have to apologise. It’s a great moment just to speak to this. as we’re going through being aware of the hoops, just noticing where your feet are and so on, more for your safety than anything else in that regard. There are markers in this case. You could use spot markers. I’ve chosen to use hula-hoops so it’s very clear.
What we’re going to do is keep rotating one of those two directions. Whenever I say STOP though is where the playful competition comes in. What’ going to happen is when I say STOP is the two people that are in the hoops are going to quickly turn, face one another, and immediately try to name the other person quicker than the other person.
Yes, great response there, right? So right now you might be thinking ooh, names, names, names. If anything we’ll just let the activity itself…
You want to review during lunch all the names?
This is your moment folks to review names through this game in particular, okay?
So again what’s going to happen is I’ll ask you to rotate one of two directions. At some point I’ll say STOP. Whoever is in the hoop at that moment turns… You’re so distracted right now, aren’t you? You have that moment, names, names, names. So we’ll start here and then we’ll add a layer to it. So let’s just practise, kind of move clockwise. Start moving clockwise. You can move at whatever pace you want, faster or slower is fine by me. Stop.
(group rotating Name Roulette)
Nice. Beth, that’s right. This is Beth, Steve. So if you choose to you could calculate some points. So one point over here. Clockwise. Continue clockwise. Stop.
Nice. So at this point you might be tallying points which is fine. To throw a little bit of a twist in the matter is we’re going to continue playing as we just have, however the person that gets it correctly actually claims that person to their team.
So now a team will grow and a team will shrink as you go in terms of increase numbers, decrease numbers. Makes sense?
So let’s see what happens here. Clockwise.
(group rotating as part of Name Roulette)
Might be a good route to go, especially when there’s another Steph in the room.
How To Play Narrative
Split your gathering into two relatively even groups, and ask each of them to form a circle by holding hands with their partners, facing into the centre.
Note, the two circles are not physically linked, but the outside edges of each circle will meet over a designated spot. This spot is useful to identify – such as a hula-hoop, the centre circle of a basketball court, or a chalk mark, etc – each group just needs to understand that one edge of its circle must pass over this spot at all times.
You then ask each circle to rotate, keeping a hold of their partner’s hands. It does not matter which direction they travel, but the circles should travel at an even speed that is comfortable for the least able in the group.
From a bird’s eye view, it should look as if two circles are spinning and their edges at the closest point are about a metre (3′) apart, passing over the designated spot.
At a time of your choosing, find a way to squeeze into the gap between the two rotating circles, and simultaneously tap the shoulders of the two people (one from each circle) who are (right now) passing over the designated ‘spot.’
Having observed the tap occur, both circles will stop moving, and as quickly as possible, the two tapped people will turn around and try to call the name of the other before they get named. It’s fast, high on energy, and there’s bound to be some dizziness, but it’s fun.
Award a point to the group when one of its members correctly calls out the name of the other first. Play continues for several minutes. The group with the most points wins.
Practical Leadership Tips
Naturally, your group must possess a good level of name-knowingness to have fun with this game.
Keep an eye on the speed of the circles. It doesn’t take much to whip people around the circle out of excitement, and then you have a real lottery on your hands.
If a circle should happen to break hold of their hands, award a point to the other group.
In case it’s not obvious, the name roulette refers to the spinning wheel gaming machine you often see in casinos.
You could integrate Name Roulette as part of a well-designed SEL program to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and effectively navigate settings with diverse people.
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 while engaged in a short burst of physical activity.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to successfully name your ‘opponent’ quickly and accurately may speak to the benefits of being mindful, but I wouldn’t push this too far. You may also wish to explore the behavioural norms as demonstrated by the manner in which each circle takes care of its members. For example, does the circle manipulate its pace to position certain individuals inside the hoop, or does it move so fast that some people struggle to keep up, etc. To this end, you could extract further value from this fun name-game by discussing Be Safe and Care for Self & Others.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Name Impulse could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Inside-Out: Ask your groups to form a circle by facing out, rather than into the circle.
Musical Chairs: Play music, then turn it off (think musical chairs) to indicate when the circles have to stop, to identify which two people are the closest to the spot.
Elimination Round: Eliminate those team members who do not name the other person quick enough. The team with the most members left at the end of, say, five minutes, wins.
Winning Team: Reward the ‘winning’ team by absorbing the firstly-named person into their circle, ie your circle gets bigger with every win.
Rapid & highly interactive greeting exercise for groups.
Blindfold group initiative to sharpen listening skills.
Fun trading game focused on ice-breaker questions.
Useful Framing Ideas
When you’ve got plenty of time to think, it’s often easy to recall the name of someone you know, but perhaps don’t see too often. You know what it’s like, you see them on the other side of the room, and as they slowly approach you, you’re thinking madly to yourself to recall their name. But, what happens when someone surprises you with their immediate presence, and you have no time to think?…
As powerful as it maybe, the brain can only do one thing at a time. In this next exercise, we’re going to test this principle by asking you to do up to three or four tasks at the same time…
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 fun, moving name-game:
What did you notice when people had to suddenly recall someone’s name?
Was it challenging to perform several tasks at the same time? What was the hardest thing to do?
Where else in our lives do we attempt to perform multiple tasks at the same time? Is this a good thing?
Fun ‘Get-To-Know-You’ Session
What You Need:
10+ people, 45 mins, ‘Nonsense Numbers’ sheets (Print+Play), bunch of soft tossables
Vortex – interactive, non-threatening, random partner sharing activity