Tall Tales (The “Suddenly” Story Game)

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Spin fantastic yarns — amazing stories — with this engaging group activity. Each person will tell three sentences of a story and end with the word “suddenly…" The next person will then have to pick up the story and add three sentences of their own.

Tall Tales encourages the players to think on their feet and connect to the story that has already been told, which trying to stump the next person to speak. Everyone gets a turn to talk in this icebreaker, so quiet group members have an equal chance to participate. Tall Tales doesn’t require any movement and is therefore able to fit in a room of any size.

Tall Tales is an icebreaker for groups ages 10 and up. Children younger than 10 may not have the storytelling ability to play and enjoy this game. This icebreaker can be adapted for groups of any size, although it’s not recommended to play with over 25 people. For smaller group, the story can continue around the room until you are satisfied with the icebreaker or the group gets stuck.

Materials

To play Tall Tales, you will need:

      Nothing!

Optional- You may want to have a couple of story starters on hand in case the group gets stuck and needs to start again. See Tips and Notes for story starter ideas.

How To Play Tall Tales

  1. Explain the rules to the game. Subject material should remain appropriate to the group level.
  2. Designate a person to start the game or read one of the story starters provided below. End with the word “suddenly…"
  3. The next person picks up the story and tells three more sentences, taking the story in any direction they’d like. After three sentences, they end with the word, “suddenly…"
  4. The game continues until one of the following happens:
  • Every player gets a turn and the game has filled the time allotted.
  • Every player gets several turns and the game has filled the time allotted.
  • The players gets stuck, in which case you can either pass to the next person or start a new story.

Tips and Notes

Encourage players to make their stories twist and turn. Challenge each player to try to stump the person next to them.

If players have difficulty coming up with three sentences, give each sentence an objective to help get their creativity flowing. The first sentence should introduce the new scenario (the thing that suddenly happened). The second sentence should add to the story with narration, description, or backstory. The third sentence should begin to move the story in another direction, ending with suddenly…

Here are two sample story starters.

Jane liked to help her parents on the family’s farm, and caring for the chickens was her favorite chore. Every morning she would feed the chickens and collect fresh eggs as soon as she got out of bed and before she had eaten breakfast. But this morning, she heard a strange noise before she entered the chicken coop. Suddenly…

Jake had never had a pen pal before, so when the strange letter addressed to “My Friend" came in the mail, he wasn’t sure what to make of it. He opened the letter carefully, noting there was no return address. He read the first line of the letter, “Dear Jake." Suddenly…