Telephone Game is also known as ‘Broken Telephone’, ‘Pass the Message’ or ‘Chinses Whisper’ is a fun icebreaker and party game that is perfect for large groups. Almost everyone at some point in time has played ‘Telephone Game’ when they were young. The game setting involves a participant who passes on a Telephone Game phrase, word or a sentence to another person through several others until the message reaches the last participant in the group.
The game works around the idea that errors occur as the message is transmitted throughout the entire group. The fun part is that there are no winners in Telephone Game, but the entertainment is guaranteed because the initially transmitted message significantly differs from the final message. However, to make it more entertaining you can always spice it up with funny yet clever Telephone Game phrases or words that shall make the game even trickier.
Apart from being amusing, Telephone Game holds education value as it highlights the fact that people intentionally or unintentionally, misinterpret and miscommunicate the things they hear (or overhear).
The telephone game is the perfect evidence that once we are talking to people about other people, we do end up changing the facts in our conversations.
The telephone game is fun and easy and does not require any materials to play, which makes it very convenient to play anytime and anywhere.
The game is equally popular among kids and adults as it can be played by both in parties and social gatherings. The adults tend to play ‘Telephone Game’ in conferences and team building programs to develop a better understanding of effective communication.
Just in case you are planning to teach your kids about social skills, Telephone game will serve as a fun way to do so.
How to Play Telephone Game / Chinese Whisper
- Step 1: To get started you shall need a minimum of 6 to 8 participants. However, the larger the group, the funnier shall be the outcome of the game.
- Step 2: Align the participants in a circle or a straight line. Make sure they are close enough to whisper to each other but be cautious that other participants are not able to hear it.
- Step 3: The game begins when the first participant in the circle or straight line, whispers a word, phrase or a sentence to the next in line. The second participant communicates the message to whoever stands next to him/her.
- Step 4: The process is repeated without taking any breaks in between until the last participant in the circle or line receives the message.
- Step 5: The game concludes when the first and last participants say out the original and final message respectively. Usually, the final message has no connection with the originally communicated message. It’s silly and eccentric to see how much the original phrase or word has been modified when whispered around in a group.
Telephone Game Rules to be Followed
- Make sure the word, phrase or the sentence is whispered only once and participants do not repeat the message. Ask them to proceed with the game even if they haven’t been able to hear the whisper properly since that is the entire point of the game.
- You need to ensure that participants don’t take unnecessary breaks when whispering the message so that they don’t forcefully try to correct themselves. Keep it more spontaneous.
- Use words or phrases that are not commonly used or easily pronounced so that final message can be much funnier and bizarre when said out loud at the end.
- The original message needs only to be communicated to the first participant at the start of the game and kept as a secret till the end.
Guinness World Record for Largest Telephone Game
Funny Telephone Game Word Ideas
There are many tricky and fun telephone game words that can make any telephone game interesting. If you are playing Telephone game, the words you select should be used that are not commonly used and are not easily pronounced. Following are fun to pronounce Telephone game words:
Variations of Telephone Game
Telephone Game can be made more fun by adding some variations to the original Chinese whisper game. Below you can find a few of the recommended variations that you can try yourself.
Paper Telephone Game
Paper telephone game or Telephone Pictionary game is an entertaining spin-off of the original childhood version. This paper telephone game version is played using a paper and pencil instead of whispering. You shall need to have a group of a minimum of 6 participants.
- Provide each player with a paper and pencil and ask everyone to write their name at the bottom of the paper.
- Once the game commences, each participant writes a random sentence on his/her sheet. This sentence can be anything from a song lyrics to something about yourself.
- After everyone has written the message, the sheet is passed to the participant on the right. The participants now use their creativity to illustrate the written message with a small drawing just under the message.
- Once all participants have finished their drawings, they need to fold the paper in a way that only the drawing is visible while the message is hidden by the fold. Yet again, everyone is asked to pass on his/her paper to the next in line.
- Now when the participants receive a paper with visible drawing part, they shall write the message that supposedly led to the illustration.
- This process is repeated until every participant gets his/her paperback.
- The game ends with a burst of laughter when the papers are unfolded and hilarious drawings are uncovered that are modifications of the original sentence.
Telephone Charades Game
Telephone Charades Game is a ridiculously fun crossover of Telephone Game & Charades Game. This variation of Telephone Game works on a similar idea but in this version, the participant shall act a word using body language and facial expressions instead of whispering it. Choose a minimum of 6 people for the game
- Select one participant who is asked to act a word or phrase while another is supposed to guess the act without talking or asking questions. While the rest of the participants are made to line up and face the wall.
- After a specified time limit (e.g 10 seconds) the first participant turns around and faces the wall while the second participant acts his/her understanding of the third person.
- This process continues until the last person in the group is asked to guess the word. In the end, all participants get amused by the interpretations that have taken place to the original act.
Note: You can play it just for fun or even divide the group into teams and play it by scoring points on guessing the word.
Translation Telephone Mashup Game
Now you can even play ‘Telephone Game’ online but with a slight twist. This variation of the ‘Telephone Game’ can also be played by yourself only. The mashup of Telephone Game and Google Translate API allows a random original phrase to be taken through 20 different languages and then back to the original language make the final phrase to be hilariously different from the original.
- Input a message in Translation Telephone or Translation Mashup and just click go once you have selected the language. The results are shown at the bottom of the page where you can see how much the original phrase has changed.
- You can also use Google Translate to manually translate your original message into different languages and then translate it back in the initial language to see the modifications that have occurred in the process.
Note: The game is a reminder that Google API can be very wrong when not considered within the right context.
Telephone Game Phrases for Kids
The Telephone game is challenging for kids as they are most likely to make mistakes remembering telephone words or phrases and ultimately learn more and have more fun participating. Go ahead and try the following fun-filled telephone game phrases for kids:
- More maids mop hotels.
- The shark tank has a guppy.
- Cold crunching coconut covers.
- White flowers with thorny stems.
- Blue chair on the table.
- Suitcase with a new suit.
- Ten cups in the cupboard.
- Green bag burst big bubbles.
- Too blue to make it through.
- It is nice to have black mice.
- She sells seashells.
- The big box on the road.
- The door closed behind the poor.
- Sparkling sweet sugar.
- Popping pure purree.
- Low light looks gloomy.
- Micky Mouse enjoys raw fish.
- The ice cream was melting.
- Candy floss is my favorite snack.
- My ponytail got stuck in my shirt.
- My dad got me a pink balloon.
- I broke my toy robot.
- Lane did not wash the dishes.
- I wish I had a pet bunny.
- The eggs just broke on the way.
- The store ran out of yoga mats.
- Chocolates make my teeth hurt.
- I once saw a rainbow in London.
- I learned to swim when I was 14.
- Scattergories game challenges you to come up with items fast
- You score points when you come up with items that nobody else does
- Play in teams for tons of fun
- Includes timer, die, Scattergories cards, score sheets and instructions. Ages 13 and up
- Ditch the TV and re-ignite family night with the get-together amusement of a Hasbro game
Telephone Game Phrases for Adults
Telephone games are equally popular in adults in parties as well as for ice-breaking activities. Some fun telephone game phrases for adults are:
Online Telephone Game Apps to be Played
The inference is a drawing game coupled with a traditional Broken Telephone or Chinese Whisper game. Once you start off by providing a sentence, other players draw and describe it one by one. But since the players are only able to view the previous step, the message tends to get lost as the game progresses and turns out to be hilarious. You don’t need to have the exceptional artistic ability to play this drawing game. Anything is acceptable as long as you can communicate your message.
Telesketch is a multi-player Telephone drawing game in which players draw fun phrases and let friends take turns guessing it. Just as the original Telephone version, the phrase gets really messed up by the time the game ends. Telesketch is super fun and addictive game which shall give life to your otherwise boring party.
Pass It On is yet another game which is an amalgamation of a Telephone guessing game and drawing game. Just as the name says it, the players draw a word or phrase and let their friends do the guesswork about the drawing and pass it on. It is an excellent party night game which can be best played with 2 or more players. The app provides carefully crafted entertaining categories that shall get you started.
Lessons to be learned from Broken Telephone Game
Broken Telephone game highlights the need for effective communication. It explains how the messages can be modified as it travels from one person to another. In the real world, the broken telephone game or Chinese whisper goes by the names such as gossip, grapevine or rumor. The reason that such a miscommunication occurs is that people learn and recall information differently. The recall ability of every person varies according to their different levels of knowledge.
Following are the ways how you can avoid miscommunication:
- Keep your communications short and direct as much possible so that there are fewer intermediaries.
- Keep in mind the level of knowledge of your audience when initiating a communication.