Games

In improv, “game” is an ambiguous term. For this page, a game is the set of rules given to the performers (and usually explained to the audience) that will be applied to a scene. I’ll also broaden that a bit to include exercises and warm-ups that aren’t done in front of an audience.

There are two lists of links. The first is an ever growing (and incomplete) set of posts I’ve made regarding games we use in performances or in the workshop. The second list is a set of websites that have their own lists of games.

Santa Barbara Impov Workshop Games

Games Around the Web

There are a lot of websites that maintain lists of improv games. Some are large, comprehensive lists, others aren’t much more than a list of names that troupe performs. Some are being updated regularly, others haven’t been touched in years.

These are sites I find useful. There isn’t a single site that I go to for all games. Some lists are more comprehensive that others, but I still like going to the smaller sites for unique takes on traditional games.

Keep in mind that the names used for games vary from region to region, and sometimes from group to group. Also, variations on games are common, so the description you find on one site may not match a description on another site, or the way that I teach the game in the workshop.

Improv Encyclopedia has the most comprehensive list that I’ve found, and provides the games either alphabetically or by categories. They also try and list the games under all known names and variants. I use this site most often.

IRC Improv Wiki includes some sketch and stand up comedy references, but it has a lot of games and exercises.

Improwiki is new to me, but I really like the layout. They have a pretty good list and many of them include short video clips of the game being performed.

Learn Improv also has a great list of games broken up into Warm-Ups, Exercises, and Handles. It’s got good descriptions and a nice format.

The Living Playbook is a very old site (dated 2001) that’s just a big, text list of games. The descriptions are short and not very comprehensive, but I’ll scan the site from time to time to see if there are any nuggets worth mining.

Long Form Stuff Shaun Has … this is another old list that at least has an index at the beginning of the big text dump. It’s a list of long form structures that Chicago’s Shaun Himmerick has collected from a variety of sources. The descriptions are pretty good although brief.

Fuzzy’s Games List is yet another old list (why did so many stop in 2001?) that’s worth browsing from time to time.

Friday Night Improv Games is a short, troupe specific list, but they have nice variations on some games.

Theatre Teachers is a site I just came across that has some games I’ve never seen before.

 

2 thoughts on “Games”

  1. I live in the Santa Ynez Valley and work as a teacher. I would like to begin using improv to practice some vocabulary. Do you happen to have classes or know of people in the Santa Ynez Valley that practice improv?

    Any ideas or suggestions would be helpful,

    Thank you, Titin

  2. Hi Titin,
    I’m not aware of any improv classes or students in the Santa Ynez Valley, sorry. You’re welcome to any of our Wed. night workshops in Santa Barbara!
    Alan

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