Rank It! Your Familiar Bonding Activities

Reading Time: 6 minutes

By: Azzahra Osman (22S03P), Keiran Koh (22S06M), Ting Kaily (22S03P)

Wacko, Burning Bridges, Blow Wind Blow. Do these games ring a bell? That might be because you remember the whirlwind of emotions you experienced while playing them. These games are staples in every icebreaker, orientation and class-bonding sessions but are they necessarily enjoyable/effective? Here, we rank 5 classic bonding games for you based on the thrill factor, its replayability and its effectiveness in achieving its main goal: bonding.

Burning Bridges

Think about all the times you felt awkward and refused to look one of your classmates in the eye after playing this game. Isn’t it funny how burning bridges (a game where you are meant to share some hidden spiteful thoughts about someone that could potentially cause irreversible awkwardness, or worse, the breakdown of friendships, as the name implies) is a commonly played game among classmates who are barely acquainted? 

While this game has its intrinsic flaws, we cannot deny that the game also gives our bland lives some cheap thrills. Secrets, rumours and gossip feed our nosy souls and the ‘spiciness’ of this game appeals to those sadistic individuals who thrive on strife. This is so much so for teenagers whose existence is often validated by other people’s perception of us. 

Burning bridges provides a thrilling endeavour into what your peers think of you which never leaves a dull moment while playing the game. You are always on the edge of your seat, either dying to know the unsettling question or dying from utter embarrassment. Nonetheless, it is a wildly fun game that we absolutely recommend (if you are thick-skinned enough, of course).

Rating: 3.5 /5 stars 

And we gonna let our relationship burn, burn, burn, burn (Credits: iStock by Getty Images) 

Whacko 

Next, we have the classic game of Whacko, which everyone has definitely played at some point in their lives. No doubt, it can be exciting in the first few moments, flailing around, screaming and trying to get the names of your fellow classmates right. However, the game gets dry and repetitive fast. It can be pretty exhausting too, if you have been stuck as “the guy in the middle” for many rounds— you would have spent the last couple of minutes running around the circle like a mad woman. (However, with that being said, we won’t discredit the game for training one’s agility!) 

Nonetheless, we do acknowledge that Whacko is ultimately still a relatively effective way for students to get to know some, if not all, of their classmates’ names in a lighthearted manner but we are afraid that that is all that the game has to offer. While this might suffice as a simple get-to-know-you activity (hence explaining its ubiquity in nearly every icebreaker session), it definitely is not the ideal bonding activity. 

Rating: 2.0 /5 stars 

Arguably, the most rewarding part of this wannabe Whack-A-Mole game is smacking others with a so-called hammer. (Credits: http://www.ubuy.co.th)

Blow Wind Blow

You’re probably wondering why this game is on the list, since it seems like something we last played in  primary school camps. But believe it or not, it is still a popular bonding activity. The game requires a person standing in the centre of a circle to “blow” whoever has a certain characteristic, and the people with said characteristic will have to run frantically to another spot in the circle. 

Just like Wacko, the only exciting part of this game is running around and knowing bland facts about the other players, such as something as shallow as them wearing glasses (which most of the time, we can all see for ourselves, and even then, it’s not very interesting since around ¾ of the RI student population is myopic). 

Although it is true that this game is simple enough for everyone to play, the excitement wears off fairly quickly and there are other more fun and interesting activities out there that are able to better fulfil its intention of strengthening the camaraderie among classmates. Regardless, we concede that no class bonding session would ever feel complete without this customary game we are all too familiar with.  

Rating: 2.0 /5 stars  

Up, up and away! (Credits: dreamstime.com)

Truth Or Dare

Truth or Dare is one of the more quintessential games to emerge  as a cultural pop phenomenon in the 21st century. Depending on how truthful your group of friends are, this is one of the more exhilarating games where your insecurities and deepest secrets are fleshed out and laid bare for everyone to speculate. In an option of ‘Truth’, one can ask borderline socially inappropriate questions unflinchingly under the guise of a game and the victim has to respond truthfully. Truly an innovative way to elicit information out of a stranger without coming off as socially unhinged! 

If you’re daring enough, you may choose to accept a dare from the circle of players and potentially humiliate yourself (hopefully not in the worst way possible). Dares may arguably be the better option as you’re not divulging top secret information about yourself. Instead, you’re merely participating in a fleeting moment of embarrassment (which you chose to do anyway). After all, shouting “siu!” for the whole floor to hear can’t be as bad as telling a whole group of people about the person you’ve been crushing on for months, right?

After a few rounds, this amusing game may leave you rolling on the floor laughing, as humour is often used to jazz it up. Due to this, we can’t help but be in favour of this game, as it may capture some of the funniest memories you’ll experience in your JC life. Plus, while burning bridges is meant to have some malicious intent, this game is versatile in the sense that you can ask anything, good or bad. (though good is preferred – let’s all be nice to each other!)

Rating: 4.0 /5 stars  

Broken Telephone

Even though Broken Telephone may not be a game that is always played during class bonding activities, especially in JC, it is one that many of us have probably played before at some point in our lives (cough, cough – preschool). For those who have already forgotten how the game works, here’s a quick recap: A message is passed down a line or circle of people and the last person in the line or at the end of the circle will have to repeat the message out loud. 

It is definitely amusing to find out how bad your peers’ listening skills are, and to be appalled by how an initially innocuous message can be severely distorted to the point it is either incoherent or inappropriate (or a little of both). That said, the game is only made fun when the messages turn out different from the initial ones as that would add laughter to the game. 

We would strongly recommend playing this game in large groups to maximise the fun factor. However, we would advise against playing this game too often as it’s the kind of game that leaves you satisfied only if you play it occasionally – it probably won’t leave you wanting more after that. It also doesn’t really help you to understand your peers better, but it does provide you with another reason to laugh at them. 

Rating: 3.0 /5 stars  

Similarity: Both have endured the test of time. Difference: An iPhone remains highly popular but Broken Telephone… not so much. (Credits: GIPHY)

Conclusion

Of course, just like how a handshake precedes a formal greeting, bonding activities are usually conducted for formalities’ sake. They should not diminish the value of conversations. Instead, they are only there to alleviate the tension and awkwardness between a class of strangers. Perhaps, we should avoid delving too deep into these simple games and stop trying to derive some form of practical benefit from them which ultimately strips them of their light-hearted nature. Who knows, you may end up having more fun than you think!       

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