I sometimes need to be ready with a game in unusual circumstances. Especially on shabbat, this can mean a large group of people and with no components (including paper and pen).
The following games can help you in a pinch. They are also good for corporations that need something to do for team building exercises.
To say sentences where the first letter of each sentence begins with a successive letter of the alphabet within an alloted period of time.
Choose a pair or group of people, a starting letter, and a topic or scene. One player starts off with a sentence whose first word begins with the chosen letter, on the topic specified, or acting in the scene specified. Another player (possibly in order) must continue the scene with a sentence whose first word begins with the next letter of the alphabet. If you reach the end of the alphabet (because you didn't start with A) continue from the beginning.
The group has 60 or 90 seconds to reach 27 sentences, beginning and ending on the same letter.
The most well-known of these games, Charades was actually a different game way back when, more like the riddle game from The Hobbit.
Each team is given a word or phrase to act out, and his teammates must guess the item within a certain time limit. The actor may not speak or sign words or letters. If his team cannot guess, the other team may guess the same word or phrase.
Players must guess a rule invented by one player using their own correct and incorrect guesses as clues.
One player picks a rule and indicates whether the rule applies to words, items, or something else (for instance, the players themselves). For instance, that the name includes an "A".
Players try to guess the rule by suggesting items or rules. Each time they suggest an item, the player says whether or not the item is in accordance with the rule or not. Each time they suggest the rule, the player either confirms the guess, or names an item that matches the suggested incorrect rule but is not correct, or an item that does not match the suggested incorrect rule but is correct.
Play continues until the rule is guessed. Players have a limit of time or number of guesses allowed.
Players have to lecture on a topic without hesitating or repeating.
One player from each team is chosen. A topic is selected. Each player has one minute to lecture on the subject without hesitating, repeating, or veering off topic. If they do, the next player takes up the topic with the remaining time left. The player speaking when the minute ends is the winner.
Players can challenge other players for breaking the rules, and a moderator may be necessary.
To provide the opposite of the last word in a chain of words without repeating. Opposites can be in any sense that a player can reasonably explain.
One player picks a word (it may be a simple two word phrase). The next player must say the opposite of this word, defending his choice if necessary. Continue until a player cannot say an opposite without repeating.
An unproven theory suggests that all games of Opposites can eventually come to the word "light". See how many opposites are required to do so from a given word or phrase.
Players act out strange secret characteristics, and others must guess what they are acting.
A few people are given strange personalities or roles to play in secret, and must act them out in an incongruous scene. After the scene is over, other players try to guess what their personality or role was. Example characteristics: an angry bowler, a depressed clown, ...
Guess words given clues by your teammates and opponents.
Players divide into teams. Each round, representatives from each team either receive a word from a moderator, pick a word from a dictionary, or choose a word together.
One representative starts by saying a single word as a clue. His teammates have to guess the selected word using the clue. If they can't, play passes to the next team who are given a single word clue by their representative. Play continues with both teams hearing all clues by both representatives until the word is guessed.
Passwords can also be proper names.
Players must repeat an ever expanding list of items. A well-known game for children.
One person begins "I went on a picnic and brought an " and then names something beginning with an A, such as "apple". The next player must repeat all items the previous player said, and add another item from the next letter of the alphabet. Continue until a player can't remember one or more items.
There are many thematic variations of this, including names beginning with letter of the alphabet, adjectives, and so on.
Players are eliminated if they talk but do not phrase a question.
Either all players play simultaneously, or one player from each team plays at a time.
Players must not hesitate overly much, and all talk must be phrased as a question. When playing with teams, an eliminated teammate is replaced with another, and this continues until one team is entirely eliminated. Otherwise, play until only one person remains.
The well-known game of knowing when to take orders.
One person is Simon. He gives all other players instruction as to what to do, prefacing all things that they must do with "Simon Says" (e.g. "Simon says touch your head"). He attempts to trick them up by doing things incorrectly himself or slipping in orders that do not include "Simon says". Anyone doing the wrong thing, of following an order that does not begin "Simon Says" is out of the game.
In this game, hungry werewolves are hidden among a town of villagers. Every night, they eat one villager. Every day, the villagers pick someone who they think is a werewolf and lynch him. The object of the game is to catch the werewolves before everyone in the town is dead. The werewolves win if one or more werewolves are the last ones standing.
One person acts as a narrator. All players sit in a circle with their eyes closed. The narrator begins with a lyric description of the situation. As he does so, he picks the werewolves by tapping them on their right shoulders.
He also selects someone to be a seer by tapping them on the left shoulder.
After he finishes the description, he asks the werewolves to open their eyes and choose a victim by pointing. The werewolves do so and close their eyes and he asks the seer to open his eyes and choose any other player. The narrator indicates silently whether or not the person pointed to is a werewolf or regular villager.
All players then open their eyes. The death is announced (that player is out) and all other players must decide as a group who to lynch. If they cannot decide within a certain amount of time, they vote. If the vote is tied, no lynching takes place (optionally, more discussion takes place, if this doesn't drag on too long).
Repeat each nighttime death and seer guess until the game is over.
This is a very popular game among gamers, and gamers have added many many additional roles to the game, such as renegades, priests, ghosts (so that those who were killed can do more than watch) and so on. You can easily find these on the internet.
The same game under the name Mafia involves killings by Mafia criminals instead of werewolves. The seer is then a detective.
Players are eliminated if they use the forbidden words during conversation.
All players play simultaneously. Players engage in conversation with each other. Any player using the forbidden words (exactly these words; synonyms are permitted), or refusing to talk, are eliminated from the game. Continue until only one player remains. A traditional set of forbidden words is "yes", "no", "black", and "white".