Everyone wants to be the Boss! Looking for an awesome small group circle game? Then you make like to try the Big Boss game.
Big Boss is wonderful for teaching listening and speaking skills to participants. It requires intense concentration. Without focus it will be near impossible to win the game.
The aim of the game is to be the Big Boss and to stay the Big Boss for as long as possible.
The game best suits people 8 years to adult, however, a modified version of the game can be run for younger participants.
Allow 5 minutes to explain the game and another 5 minutes to practise with the participants (takes a bit to get their heads around the game) before playing. The game runs for 15 to 30 minutes.
Video Demonstrating the Big Boss Game
How to Play Big Boss
Set up chairs (one for each player) in a circle facing inwards. Have one chair that is bigger than all the others. You may like to have (not a necessity) props and job labels.
Players sit in a chair. Each is assigned a job title. The Big Boss gets to have the biggest chair!
Job titles are in an order of seniority. They go as follows: Big Boss, Managing Director, Accountant, Secretary, Tea Lady, Toilet Cleaner, Unemployed (have multiples of each for more players).
How to Play
- Big Boss starts by calling another player on the phone (use hand as a pretend phone) “Big Boss calling …”
- The player called, must answer with their job title then call someone else, eg: “Managing Director calling Toilet Cleaner”.
- Continue the game until a player fumbles.
- The player that fumbles is demoted to Unemployed (move to Unemployed’s seat).
- All players that were below the player being demoted get a promotion. They all move up a level and move to the next seat.
- Each round always begins with Big Boss calling.
Fumbles include the following:
- Saying “Um”
- Being too slow to answer
- Calling the person who calls them back
- Answering the phone when not meant too
Note: introduce the fumbles gradually as participants get better at the game.
Playing Big Boss with younger players
Younger players will be challenged with remembering the somewhat complicated job titles. If you were to use the job titles it would help if they each wore the title on a tag attached to their shirts or hats (perhaps a headband).
An alternative is to have simpler titles such as the hierarchy in the animal kingdom: Lion, Bear, Fox, Rabbit, Mouse, Flea.
The participants may like to choose the characters for the game themselves. Another idea is to use Disney characters: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Tweedy Bird, Road Runner, Goofy etc.
Props for the Big Boss Game
People love to dress up. To help participants get into character introduce some props. Keep them simple, like one or two for each character.
- Big Boss needs to look cool! Give him/her a pair of sunglasses and an important hat or tie to wear.
- Managing Director is also considered to be important. He/she could wear important attire.
- Accountant could wear a pair of reading glasses.
- Tea Lady wear an apron or hold a tea pot.
- Toilet Cleaner holds a toilet scrubber (clean one of course!)
- Unemployed wears a sign ‘I need a job’.
Step Up the Difficulty
I find the more you play the Big Boss game the better the participants get… to the point where no one gets out. This is when additional conditions need to be applied to make the game difficult.
Suggestions to increase the difficulty of the game include:
- Create complicated or longer job titles.
- Include additional job titles.
- Play the game where all participants must speak with their tongues poking out. This impedes their speech and thus messes with their concentration, causing them to make errors. Playing the game with tongues out adds a little fun to the game!
I’ve played Big Boss with many groups over the years. It has always been a favorite game for the kids (and adults too!).
I find Big Boss works best with smaller groups of between six and twelve. With larger groups, the game can become difficult to manage.
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