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Couch of Power

Think musical chairs, only with strategic planning and a test of memory in place of crap music and sweaty children.

8+ players (ideally even)
30 minutes
Requirements
  • A sofa large enough to hold four people (or four seats arranged in a line to replicate one)
  • Additional seats so that including the sofa there is a seat for each player and one left over
  • An identical piece of paper for each player

Set-up

  1. Players are divided into two teams with some visual way to identify which team each player belongs to (e.g. shoes/no shoes, hats/no hats, sleeves up/sleeves down)
  2. Each player's name is written onto a different slip of paper
  3. The slips of paper are shuffled and handed out so that each player receives the name of another player (or themselves), and only they know whose name they have
  4. The sofa and seats are arranged into a circle
  5. A randomly-selected team (or the larger team if playing with an odd number of players) sits one of its players in sofa's leftmost seat
  6. The teams alternate in sitting a player immediately to the right of the previously sat player, resulting in two players from each team being sat on the sofa and the only empty seat being located immediately left of the sofa

Objective

The aim is to be the first team to occupy all four seats on the sofa at once.

Play

On each turn, the player immediately to the left of the empty seat says the name of a player. They can call their own name, but cannot choose the name on their piece of paper, or the name that was called in the previous turn.

The player holding the slip of paper with the called name written on it must get up and move to the empty seat, changing the location of the empty seat. Once the player has moved, the next turn begins with the player to the left of the new empty seat.

Play continues this way until the sofa is occupied by four players of the same team, at which point that team wins the game.

Variations

  • To make the game a little easier and less focused on its memory aspect, the names on slips of paper can be replaced with something that's easier to associate with a person than another person's name, such as numbers, colours or animals
  • To make the game harder and a more challenging test of memory, add in the rule that on every turn the player who called a name swaps their slip of paper with the player who changes seats

Got a friend who'd like this game?