Fish bowl is a fun and easy game for a party or get together. Combining teamwork, acting, problem solving, and critical thinking, it is a perfect game for breaking the ice with new people or for a fun night with family and friends. Start by getting into 2 even teams and selecting prompts from the bowl. You will then compete against each other for 3 fun filled rounds to determine the winning team.
EditCreating Teams and Prompts
- Divide everyone into 2 equal teams. Allow everyone to separate themselves into teams or separate them yourself. Make sure both teams have an equal number of players. Label 1 team “Team A” and 1 team “Team B.”
- If there is an odd number of people, have someone sit out 1 round and then sub them in for the next round.
- Pass out 3 pieces of paper to each player. Each player gets to create 3 prompts for the game. Each piece of paper will have a separate prompt written on it.
- Have each player write down 3 words or phrases. The words or phrases are the prompts, and they should be a person, place, thing, or feeling. Encourage players to choose words or phrases that are familiar and well known, as vague or obscure words will be difficult to use in the game. Keep the phrases short, no more than 2-3 words.
- For example, a player may write down words or phrases like, “Steak,” “Halloween,” or “Dance party.”
- 1 piece of paper should have 1 prompt.
- Collect the pieces of paper and put them in the bowl. Once everyone has finished writing their 3 words or phrases, fold up the pieces of paper and place them in the bowl or container you are using. Shake the bowl to mix up the pieces and put it in a central area next to the players so it is easy for them to access.
- Designate a score keeper. In Fish Bowl, teams earn 1 point for each piece of paper they guess correctly. 1 player should have a piece of paper and a pen so they can keep score at the end of each round for each team.
- Have a player from Team A take a piece of paper from the bowl. The first round of Fish Bowl is similar to the game Taboo or Catchphrase. Team A will select a player to go first and choose 1 piece of paper from the bowl. The player should read the word or phrase to themselves and make sure they understand it before the round starts.
- Set a timer for 1 minute. Make sure the timer has sound so it will go off or buzz when the time is up.
- Have the player use hints to get their team members to guess the clues. Their hints should consist of words and sentences only. Motions, spelling hints, or hints like “sounds like…” are not allowed. If the team guesses the word or phrase correctly, they keep the piece of paper and the player picks out a new piece of paper from the bowl.
- For example, if the player is giving hints for the word “Halloween,” they can say things like, “You dress up in costumes” or “It is a holiday in October.”
- Allow the player to pass once if their team cannot guess correctly. If the player’s team members appear stumped or confused, they can “pass” or “skip” a clue only once in the round. They should put the piece of paper back in the bowl and pick out a new 1.
- The timer does not stop when the player passes or skips. They still only have 1 minute to get the team to guess as many clues as they can.
- Tally up the number of clues the team guesses correctly within 1 minute. The time keeper on Team B should yell out “Time’s up” when the timer is done and Team A will count how many pieces of paper, or clues, they got correct in the round.
- Repeat the same steps with Team B. Team B will get a turn, choosing a team member to provide hints to the team so they can guess the clues on the piece of paper. Make sure the timer is set to 1 minute and the players follow the rules of the game. Tally up the total number of points for Team B at the end of the round and write it down.
- The highest score for the round will depend on how many pieces of paper are in the bowl. For example, if there are 12 pieces of paper in the bowl, the highest possible score for the round is 12.
- Put the pieces of paper back in the bowl. The same clues will be used for the second round of the game.
- Try to remember the words or phrases in the bowl from the previous round, as this can help you do better in this round and the third, or final, round.
- Have a player from Team B select a clue from the bowl. A player from Team B will go first this round, taking a clue from the bowl.
- Set a timer for 1 minute. It should buzz or beep when the time is up.
- Get the player to use 1 word to help their team guess the clue. In this round, the player can use 1 word only as a clue for their team. This is when remembering the clues from the previous round comes in handy, as it will help the team members guess correctly. Once the team guesses the clue correctly, the player can choose a new clue from the bowl.
- For example, if the clue is “steak,” the person may say, “cow” or “beef.”
- Tally up Team B’s score at the end of the round. Once the 1 minute is up, count how many pieces of paper Team B guessed correctly. Leave the clues they guessed correctly out of the bowl, to the side.
- Switch between teams until all the clues in the bowl are used. A player from Team A will pick out clues and play with their team for 1 minute. The teams should take turns guessing the clues in the bowl using 1 word hints for 1 minute at a time. Do this until there are no more clues in the bowl.
- Tally up the final point scores for each team for the round and add it to the total from the previous round of the game.
- Place the clues back in the bowl and mix them up. In the final round, all of the clues will be used by the players.
- Have a player from Team A select a clue from the bowl. Make sure they understand the clue before the round begins.
- Set a timer for 1 minute. Make sure it has sound so it will buzz or beep when the time is up.
- Have the player act out the clue without speaking. This round is similar to Charades, as the player can only use actions and movements as hints. They cannot speak or make any noises. Once the team guesses the clue correctly, the player can choose a new clue and act it out.
- For example, if the clue is “Dance party,” the player can perform dance moves and pretend they are dancing with others.
- Count up Team A’s score at the end of 1 minute. When the timer goes off, tally up how many clues the team guessed correctly. Then, put the pieces of paper that have been guessed to the side, not back in the bowl.
- Alternate between teams until all the clues have been used. Let a player from Team B choose a clue and act it out for their team. They will then act out as many clues as they can successfully for 1 minute. Keep switching between teams until there are no more clues left in the bowl.
- Tally up the scores for all 3 rounds and declare a winning team. Once there are no more clues left in the bowl, count how many points each team earned for all 3 rounds to get a grand total. The team with the most points wins the game!
- For example, if Team A has a total score of 12 points and Team B has a total score of 15 points, Team B wins.
- Play a bonus round 4 for added fun. If you want to keep the game going for 1 more round, get a blanket or sheet and drape it over a player from Team A. Then, have the player act out clues under the blanket or sheet for their team to guess. Time them for 1 minute and then switch teams. Alternate between each team for 1 minute at a time until all the clues in the bowl are used.
- Remember that the player cannot speak or make noises while they are under the sheet acting out the clues.
- Add up the points earned by each team for the bonus round 4 and declare the team with the most points the winner.
EditThings You’ll Need
- Pens (1 for each player)
- Pieces of paper (3 pieces per player)
- Bowl or container
- Sheet or blanket (optional)