I went on a first date yesterday and that awkward moment came
“I make storytelling games”
“Oh, what’s that?”
Oy vey! Where to start?
The Murder Mystery analogy? D&D? Choose Your Own Adventure books? Hope they like the Coen Brothers so I can bring up Fiasco? Or start with @JacksonTegu's Morning, to show the range? Or just go with Beastfucker? (Always memorable. Safe choice.)
What a great idea!
I'd like to say that I came up with something brilliant. But I froze. So in true next morning "esprit de l'escalier", here's a bunch of tiny 2 minute storygames for all your future first dates & sundry small talk.
...be playable in a couple minutes by anyone
...be easy to memorize and require no materials
...really impress your date (yeah right, hah)
- Tell a 6 word story
- One word story. Each person adds a word (classic improv warmup)
Each add a detail to the series of unlikely events that could make a fictional version of this very date go incredibly and hilariously wrong
Each volunteer a movie & a genre you love, then imagine it in a completely different genre. For example, if you said “Shakespeare in Love” and “romcoms” and I say “Aliens” and “sci-fi”, then imagine sci-fi Shakespeare in Love, then re-imagine Aliens as a romcom
Pick any item on the food menu, and together imagine a character who will die if they can't consume that item at least once a day. How did they become that way? Magic? Curse? What happened?
Choose a couple sitting near you and imagine they are Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell in Groundhog Day. How are they doing in the cycle? Do the still hate each other or are they almost close to making it out?
Imagine the opposite, totally evil versions of yourselves and describe them to each other. Follow up question: what is their evil plan for world domination?
Imagine 3 ways that two characters are so different their love is both impossible & a terrible idea (e.g. one lives in the sky, the other at the bottom of the sea). Describe their first few dates, then epilogue—does it work out?
[If sharing two foods that come in bits, like fries] Start a mundane story (going to the post office). Each turn, eat from one of the two foods. If you pick one, the other person adds something AWESOME that happens. If the other, it's something TERRIBLE.
Each person picks 3 unrelated words from the menu (or just use cocktail names) and the other person has to create a character based on those words. How do they meet in a ridiculous way? Does it work out?
Imagine the first day this very place was open. What was it like for the owner?
Imagine the people at another table are undercover aliens. What’s their mission? What are each of their roles in the mission to study humanity?
Imagine that instead of on a date, you're in a tense interstellar negotiation, guns drawn under the table. What do you want? What are the stakes?
Pick 3 objects from around the place you’re in and they are…
...Pirate Loot! From where? What is the nature of the place they came from?
...Estate Sale! Who were the creepy owners?
...Magical Artifacts! What powers will they grant?
The place you’re at is a cover for a supernatural agency with good/evil plans. The staff are all in on it. What’s their evil plot / the thing they are protecting us from?
The number of fries remaining is a character’s life force as they are locked in an endless battle. When there are no more fries, they die. Every time you eat a fry, describe another chapter in this final battle.
Take a handful of fries (or other food that comes in a bunch of pieces), and drop them on a plate. Do a full divination of the other person's fate based on the way they have landed
Pick a food on the table and imagine it comes from the most unlikely, magical place. Work backwards to describe an increasingly ludicrous set of obstacles that had to be overcome to get it to the table in front of you. Think Princess Bride.
Imagine this restaurant isn’t wherever you are, but rather on the concourse of a space station way out in the furthest reaches of space. Where is it? What are people doing there (Mining? Science? Alien diplomacy?) Why did this place end up there?
One of the foods on this table is a delicacy that must be consumed in a certain way and for a certain reason. Today is that day where the ritual must be performed. Each add a detail to the ritual (How is it done? Why? How do you know it worked? Who officiates?)