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Learning Activity: Zip, Zap, Zoom Alternative

When I attended a regular acting workshop in Denver, Colorado we would often play a game called Zip, Zap, Zoom which some people loved and some people found frustrating. Even though I had great success with most improv games, this game did not work as well for me. That's why I offer this alternative.

Training games, team building games

Purpose:
To experience the frustration of playing a winning or losing game and then finding ways to convert that to a win/win game in order to develop a creative habit of looking for mutually beneficial outcomes.

Applications:
Conflict resolution. Communication skills. Team building.

Materials:
A writing surface and markers. Dots, or stickers (several for each player)


Process:
  1. Play the game, Zip, Zap, Zoom conventionally in the first round. Form a circle of people, up to twelve people (for larger groups, break into multiple circles). One person starts by looking at a person to their left and saying either zip or zap. If zip, the next person turns to the left and has the same choice. If someone says "zap" then the direction reverses. The idea is to keep flowing quickly. At any point a person can choose to look at someone across the circle and say "Zoom" in which case THAT person has the next person.
  2. Each person responds with zip (go left) zap (look right) or zoom (across the circle at any other person.) 
  3. If a person misses a turn by going in the wrong direction or saying the wrong word for that direction, they are immediately out of the game and must leave the circle.
  4. Continue until someone wins.
First Debrief:
  • How did that feel?
  • Was there anything stressful about that round?
  • What were you thinking of?
  • What about this round required you to think like a team player?
  • What about this round required you to think about individual, rather than team success?
  • How did it feel to be knocked out of the game?
  • How could you improve this game?
Revision Process:
  1. Invite the group to invent a version of this game with no losers.
  2. Record all of the possibilities on your writing surface, such as a white-board or flipchart paper.
  3. Consider all of the offered possibilities. 
  4. Give each player 3 dots/stickers to vote with.
  5. Players vote for their favorite ideas their dots/stickers. They can put as many of their dots/stickers on as many of the possibilities as they want, including all of them on one if they like.
  6. Adapt the most popular ideas and play the new version.

-- doug smith


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