MMHRD Online


101 Great Training Games

101 great training games for creating inspirational learning through doing!

Media Type - Toolkit
Author - David Cotton and Keith Tanner
Subject(s) - Train the Trainer

As children we learned through play, and as adults we still would, if we were taught that way. Think of every memory you have – the strongest ones will be linked to emotion of some sort – so creating an atmosphere of fun in your training sessions will make the learning experience positive and intense.

These games are geared to provide whole-brain learning, across all the senses and learning preferences. There are active and reflective games; visual, auditory and kinaesthetic treats and we leave it up to you to put in olfactory and gustatory!


The manual comes with a handy Theme finder– so whenever you are looking for an activity on change, listening skills, communication skills, time management, team building or any one of the 33 categories that you can use the games for, just turn to the Theme finder and pick the game that is right for you. There is also a Timings grid, so you can check that the game will fit your schedule.

Each game gives detailed instructions:

  • What’s it for?
  • How many people?
  • Time it takes?
  • Any props required?
  • Preparation required?
  • How to play?
  • What to do afterwards?
  • Variations on the theme?


A selection of the types of games included in 101 Great Training Games is given below...

Icebreakers and Energisers
A selection of shorter activities that quickly pep up your group when energy levels have dipped. Great for introductions, after lunch and any time you want people to shift state. Try No 61: Call to action or No 63: On tap

Games that help your delegates to understand what a team is, how they work and how to improve and cement relationships. All of these games have been tried and tested, will encourage greater understanding and will also inspire your teams to shift the performance curve. Try No 44: Watercourse or No 91:We’ve got rhythm

Diversity can be as much about the big issues – race, sex, religion and language as about small things for example, understanding that some people want to stand very close to you, making others feel their space is invaded. Try No 53: Culture vultures or No 56: Ninety-nine per cent (or Nature or nurture?) to get people discussing diversity issues. Change
Change is often resented and resisted. These games will help your people to understand why that is so, and also to see that change can be a wonderful opportunity which can be embraced. See No 3: Chameleon or No 13: Extreme Sports

Communication Skills
Communication is one of the most critical skills in both your business and personal life. We all complain of poor communication throughout organisations – these games can help to redress the balance by ensuring your delegates use voice and body language appropriately and check for understanding. Try No 16: Bag of tricks for checking understanding or No 24: Master and apprentice for clarity of description, good questioning and effective listening skills.


The 101 Games/Activities are listed below:

1. Clean sweep
If the head cleaner was about to run your organisation, how would you feel? Our beliefs colour our perceptions, which in turn colour our behaviour and affect the way we work.

2. The business laboratory
Players are given a ‘laboratory’ situation in which they can conjure up practical solutions to identified business problems using scientific metaphors and analogies.

3. Chameleon
Players create an objective profile around the ease of changing the business in a specific area. They discuss where it would be easy and where it would be difficult and explore the interventions that would be needed to address it if it changed in this way.

4. Evolution
A game exploring change in business, through the analogy of archaeology. Players are taken to the year 2525 and ‘dig down’ into the past, reviewing what they find in a newly discovered architectural site of the 23rd century ‘possiblyleft to waste due to economic or social change’.

5. Feast or famine
Players are told that the company’s revenues are drastically cut and have to determine how to get the best from the company on reduced funds.

6. I object
A competitive game that tests players’ ability both to construct a cogent argument for change and to counter any arguments against proposed changes to their business.

7. Karma
A game about ethics, ideas and morals, exploring the concepts of karma, right mind and right action. What would happen within or across the business if you applied karma to the business?

8. Metamorphosis
A decision-making game exploring shape and structure, using modelling clay as a metaphor for reshaping the business.

9. Soundscapes and landscapes
A game in which players reflect on the ways in which some changes can go almost unnoticed, through recalling sounds and sights of the past which they no longer hear, new sounds and sights which they did not hear in their youth, and sights and sounds which they may notice in the future but which they have not yet experienced.

10. Streets ahead
A game in which players apply the meanings of road traffic signs to their own business to determine the practices, processes and behaviours in their workplace that work well or merit change.

11. Snake oil
Teams are given notional bottles of vanishing cream, snake oil and hair restorer. Vanishing cream can make any process, behaviour, service or any other unwanted aspect of the business disappear. Snake oil can cure any problem within the business. Hair restorer can restore anything that used to exist within the business and is no longer present but sorely missed. Each team must explain how they will apply one measure of each product to the business.

12. Your Excellence
A game about improving quality of the working environment, processes, and so on, using the Excellence Model and playing cards.

13. Extreme sports
A game to take people out of their comfort zones, exploring the emotions that accompany a shift outside those zones. Players develop a service or product that appeals to the ‘emotional rewards’ of individuals wanting to participate in extreme sports activities.

14. Paperball
A coaching game in which pairs coach each other to throw a paper ball into a wall-mounted paper cup.

15. How insensitive
A coaching game in which players are robbed of some of their senses.

16. Bag of tricks
A game about descriptive language in which players describe mystery objects sufficiently clearly for others to draw them and guess their identity.

17. Blind trust
A trust game in which a blindfolded player is led, without verbal instruction, around a course to identify mystery objects en route.

18. Change of direction
A team-building and problem-solving game in which teams notionally ‘bury a treasure’, using a street map, and guide their opponents to the treasure using descriptions of landmarks only, with no further reference to street names.

19. Drawing conclusions
A communication skills game in which one player is given a picture and the rest of the group ask questions about the picture, to which the only permissible answers are ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The rest of the group must draw the picture as accurately as possible.

20. Emblems
A communication game about ‘Emblems’ – gestures which convey whole words or phrases. Individual players must demonstrate the meaning of emblems through non-verbal communication and the remainder of the group must guess the meaning.

21. Frame-up
A game about symbolism, in which teams identify and explore symbols used within their businesses, communicating them both verbally and graphically to the rest of the group.

22. Interestingly boring
A communication game in which teams juxtapose apparently contradictory or mismatched words to create new meaning and relate them to their business.

23. The language of business
Teams guess key words and phrases related to their business from descriptions of those words or phrases.

24. Master and apprentice
A communication game in which two teams in separate rooms must build the same construction using a runner to convey information between the two.

25. Mix and match
A game exploring communication of verbal and non-verbal clues valuable in developing assertive behaviour.

26. A question of taste
A game using the sense of taste to develop sensory metaphors which are used to create business improvement.

27. Reversal of fortune
An ethics and morality game in which players explore the best and worst scenarios they may experience at work.

28. Story time
A listening-skills game based around telling and retelling stories.

29. Talking business
A game exploring ‘spin’ in corporate literature, in which teams rewrite real corporate literature for a variety of different audiences.

30. Touch talking
A non-verbal communication game in which a code is passed around a circle simply through tapping on the backs of players’ hands.

31. The wedding breakfast
Players plan a ‘wedding breakfast’ in which staff and customers are placed at tables in arrangements that will facilitate improved communication and remove potential problems.

32. The ICEman cometh
A listening-skills game in which, as a speaker talks about an emotional issue, other players listen for intention, content and emotions in order to sharpen their ability to understand the meaning of a communication.

33. Tangrammatically yours
A game in which each team uses tangrams to fashion symbols or representations of issues related to work or working practices, and the other teams guess the meaning of the symbolism.

34. I don’t like your tone
An exploration of the importance of tonality in conveying meaning. Players are given selected phrases and meanings; through changes in tonality they must convey the hidden meaning, regardless of the words they utter.

35. A–Z
A training review game in which players find words beginning with each letter of the alphabet related to key learning themes.

36. A game without rules
A surreal game for team-building, creativity and negotiation skills development. Teams are given scant instructions about a problem and asked to solve it. First, they must properly define, or invent, the complete problem.

37. Business in a box
Teams explore the best aspects of their businesses by imagining that they can bury 12 symbols of business excellence for future generations to unearth.

38. Give or take
A multi-purpose game to stimulate thinking on ways to improve personal and organisational behaviours.

39. Enigmatic
A training review game in which players take key words or phrases related to learning themes and encode them, then break them down and hide them in short verses, poems or jokes, and use synonyms and analogies to further hide their meaning.

40. If I could
A game to encourage creative thinking through exploration of how players could change certain aspects of their own and others’ lives.

41. A mini adventure
A creative problem-solving and team-building game in which elements of a mystery are printed on 20 tiny cards, which are secreted around the training room or building. Players must discover the clues and piece together the story to solve the mystery.

42. Productise
A creative approach to product development which stimulates ideas about potential audiences, geographical markets and pricing.

43. Strange designs
Small groups of players are asked to design, on paper, machines or other constructions to fulfil strange purposes, which are never fully explained – so there is as much creativity in imagining the purpose of the machine as there is in the design of the machine itself.

44. Watercourse
A creative team-building game in which players transfer water from one side of a playing area to another in paper cups, steadily increasing the distance between them whilst still improving their performance.

45. Coda!
A game relating to clarity of communications to customers, in which teams develop codes and use them to encode messages about the services they offer for other teams to decode.

46. At your service
A customer-service game in which players review service offerings of their own organisation as other, well-known organisations would manage them.

47. Looking in on ourselves
Game about image and service, in which players describe their own organisation as through the eyes of a savvy, new joiner to the business.

48. Louse it up
By identifying all the ways in which they could ruin customer service, players develop a charter for excellent service.

49. Sleeping with the enemy
A business improvement game in which players imagine that in order to get a job with a competitor they must describe all that is good and bad about their current organisation.

50. The customer journey
Explore what it is like to be a customer or client of your organisation in order to improve your services. Players describe the entire journey from first hearing about the company through to after-sales or post-contract support.

51. Ninety-nine per cent (or Nature or nurture?)
A game in which players reflect on our differences and similarities and the effects of nature and nurture on our development.

52. Alien race
A game in which players discover each other’s attributes to design an ‘alien’ race of perfect mentors, in order to define the qualities that they would require in order to be the ideal mentor to others.

53. Culture vultures
A game in which players explore the need for sensitivity to cultural diversity. Two teams act as trade delegations from countries with diverse cultural norms and have to guess and mimic each other’s cultural niceties in order to gain acceptance.

54. In the dark
A communication game in which pairs of players are taught the rudiments of finger spelling and must then communicate messages to each other.

55. Mirror writing
A game about perceptions of disability in which players must communicate by writing whilst looking in a mirror.

56. New religion
A game about diversity in the workplace, in which players create a new religion based around their personal beliefs and values.

57. Step forward
A fun way to develop the recognition and acceptance of our perceived and actual differences and similarities, which is important when addressing equality and equanimity in the workplace.

58. Emotional relay
A relay race based on emotional and physical responses to questions.

59. What’s up?
Players discover emotional types and differences, and both the support for them and antagonisms towards them that can develop in teams.

60. Spies and spycatchers
An instant energiser in which each player determines that one player in the room is a spy and one a spycatcher. Players must manoeuvre around the room in order to block the line of sight between their notional spycatcher and the spy.

61. Call to action
An icebreaker in which players rhythmically chant and clap together, and gradually change their actions so that ultimately each is doing something different, but still in rhythm with the rest of the group.

62. Knowing me, knowing you
An icebreaker in which players are given a tally sheet and cards describing significant life events and must discover how many of the other delegates have had similar experiences, how they felt about them and, if they have not experienced them, whether or not theywould like to.

63. On tap
An energiser in which players, in a circle, communicate by an ever-increasing number of taps on the shoulders of the participants next to them.

64. Slogan’s run
An icebreaker in which individuals, pairs and then three players create slogans which summarise or encapsulate something important about them.

65. Wheels within wheels
A game to help a large group to introduce themselves to each other.

66. Knowledge quest
Players work against the clock to discover as much information as they can on a given topic, then present it to the rest of the group.

67. Teach me
Players trade or auction skills which they can teach others during the training event.

68. Experience tells me
A game about performance improvement, in which players imagine they are about to retire and so share their wisdom and experience with the trainer, who plays the part of a new employee to the organisation.

69. Leader of the pack
Exploration of management and leadership styles in which players manage the remainder of the team in an apparently simple task and then feed back on the way in which they led and managed the group.

70. Management styles
A game based on the six management styles described by Daniel Goleman in his works on Emotional Intelligence and leadership. Players explore their own and others’ preferred management styles as they are asked to manage given events in a specific style.

71. Profitometer
By collectively working as their own organisation’s MD, leading the company at a time of reduced profits, players generate ideas to achieve an increase in those profits.

72. Tomorrow’s news
Players explore their perceptions of a business and methods of performance improvement by creating the front page of a newspaper or magazine that communicates everything newsworthy that could happen during the next 24 hours in their organisation.

73. You’ve been ’ad
Players script and perform a television advertisement about their department, a service they offer or their organisation, as appropriate to the group.

74. On a lighter note
A negotiating game in which players trade a notional currency against the clock to amass as many sets of banknotes as possible.

75. Split riddles
A game in which players negotiate for clues to several riddles, which are split between two envelopes.

76. Shape up
A negotiating and planning game in which teams of players buy and rent materials to create towers of stacked cardboard cubes.

77. Circle of doubt
A multi-purpose game about teamwork, trust, developing relationships, support, connections, confidence and non-verbal communication.

78. In or out
A game to develop emotional and behavioural awareness, in which players construct profiles of different characters and then identify the appropriate ones to deal with specific business related situations.

79. Interview with an emotion
In this game, players explore their reactions to emotions in the workplace, by interviewing each other as though players are the human embodiment of a particular emotion.

80. Jekyll and Hyde
A game exploring our darker side, in which players list their ‘Jekyll’ and ‘Hyde’ responses in given scenarios.

81. Making connections
Players describe every physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, economic and cultural association which they can link to given objects throughout their lifetime. They then link their thinking about past, present and future associations to business impact.

82. Mental tattoo
An energiser in which each player imagines that they could have a tattoo anywhere on their body and describe what and where it would be, its significance, colour, placement and meaning.

83. Moving minds
A simple mental energiser in which players close their eyes and imagine moving their thoughts around their minds, to the front, back, and so on, and then explore old adages such as ‘out of sight, out of mind’ as well as some basic NLP principles.

84. The perfect partner
An exploration of behaviours, attitudes and skills as players draw and annotate figures depicting the ‘perfect partner’ for a given situation.

85. Tree of life
A game exploring symbolism, in which players map out a Tree of Life symbolising actions in business as actions in nature.

86. Ten up
A simple game about self-limiting beliefs in which players are simply asked: ‘Write down ten things about yourself’. The resultant lists are used as a springboard for discussion around the way that people pigeonhole themselves and demonstrate the limits of their own self-belief.

87. All talk
A team-building and team motivation game in which players identify their major stakeholders and answer a number of questions relating to their perception of the stakeholders’ feelings about their team. From this they create a plan of action to help manage the team to meet the stakeholders’ expectations.

88. Lost your marbles?
A strategy game in which players move marbles across a course using cardboard tubes.

89. Good for the heart
A team-building game in which, given minimal materials, players must build the tallest possible structure that will support a tin of baked beans.

90. Play by the rules
A strategy-, interpretation- and communication-based game exploring the ways in which we can approach the same problem but achieve different outcomes. Players are given a board design of interwoven circles and squares and design a strategic game with instructions for other teams to play.

91. We’ve got rhythm
A team-building game in which players clap increasingly complex rhythms.

92. Time for thought
A game to help groups and individuals to focus on their true work priorities by imagining that the working day is halved. Variants include doubling the working day and doubling spare time, with no increase in salary or benefits.

93. Time machine
A game exploring personal concepts of time by applying time-line techniques to planning the achievement of business goals.

94. Top priority
Players work together to develop their prioritisation skills using a template which incorporates 50 issues relevant to a particular business theme.

95. Mind your brain
A game about the workings of the human mind in storing, recalling, processing and analysing information, as players reassemble an idea broken down into its component parts by other players.

96. Total recall
A game which explores how we store and recall information and how we can develop memory strategies.

97. Speed dating
Game which explores the extent to which individuals and corporate values and goals match or mismatch.

98. In shape
A creative game in which players use shapes to help carry out imaginary tasks.

99. Up in the air
Players juggle balloons that represent business problems. As balloons are dropped, so players must find solutions to the problems they represent.

100. A question of business
A competitive game in which players find solutions to burning business issues.

101. Front page news
Teams work together to design a newspaper’s front page in a given style, identifying topical issues from their workplace or home life. The debrief discusses prioritisation and work/life balance.

  • Publisher - Fenman Training
    Support Material - Printed copy in ring-binder + CD-ROM • 101 Games • 59 'OK to copy' pages
    Length - 238 pages
  • Printed Activity Pack
    Price - INR 13,950
    Intl. Price - £ 199.00
    Stand-alone CD-ROM
    Price - INR 8,950
  • Stand-alone CD-ROM also available:  Rs.8,950/-

    The printed activity pack sold for Rs.13,950/- is also available as a stand-alone CD-ROM which contains the entire resource as a printable PDF, allowing you to print off pages from the CD as you wish. The content is identical. It also contains PowerPoint slides taken from the original pack.