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If ‘4 on a couch’ doesn’t ring any bells, maybe you’ve played it under a different name. This game is also known as:

  • The ‘Couch’ game
  • ‘Four on a couch bench’
  • ‘Four on the pew’
  • The ‘King of the couch’ game
  • The ‘Boy girl’ game
  • ‘Kings and queens’
  • ‘Hot seats’
  • The ‘Name’ game

It’s all about fun and memory and works best as an icebreaker game for teenagers, or as a team building activity for adults. But first, you are going to need a few things…

Materials and equipment

  • People: This game is designed for medium groups of people. You should have at least 10 players involved, but the number can go up to 30, as long as there’s enough room for everyone.
  • A couch that can fit four people. This can be replaced with a bench or 4 chairs. 
  • Ideally, there would be enough seats for everyone in the room. Still, if you are 30 players and you do not have that many chairs in your house, sitting on the floor will do the trick as well.
  • Slips of paper and pens – so that everyone could write their names on them.
  • A bag – to collect all the pieces of paper.

Skills and abilities

If you think that this would be a great game if you’re throwing a party where some alcohol is involved… well, you should reconsider that, because ‘Four on a couch’ is all about:

  • Focus
  • Strategy
  • Memory
  • Quickness

If you plan on having some Mojitos with a few friends and you want to enjoy yourselves, go for the drinking ‘minute to win it’ games for adults! We have prepared a bunch of these on eTeamBuilding. Go check them out!

Players and purposes

  1. The goal of ‘Four on the couch’ is to get four members of your own team on the couch. 

2. The first thing when playing ‘Four on a couch’ is to divide the players into 2 groups. Usually, there are boys VS. girls. That’s because you always have to remember in which team you are and this way is the easiest. If there are not enough boys or girls to form a team, there can be teens VS. adults, family VS. family, or any other split that the players will be able to remember easily. 

3. Next in the ‘Four on the couch’ game, there are 4 players asked to sit on the couch. Everyone else has to sit – on the ground, or the chairs – in a circle, with the outer boundary including the couch/the bench/the 4 chairs designating the couch.

4. The 2 teams sit in alternating order (boy-girl-boy-girl). This means that every team will have 2 players on the couch.

5. Then, leave the seat by the left of the couch empty (a chair or just enough room for one person to join the circle).

6. Every player writes their name on a piece of paper, folds it, and puts it in a bag. You have to shake the bag and hand it over to them again. Each player has to draw a slip of paper and they will get someone else’s name. Someone might get his or her own name, but that’s fine. It’s important to let them know to keep that name a secret.  

The couch game: Rules

  1. The player who is standing to the left of the empty chair begins the game. He has to call out someone’s name (other than the one he or she has drawn). The player who is holding a paper with that name must move from their seat to the empty seat. 
  1. From now on, all you have to do is continue the pattern. There is a new empty seat, so the person to its left has to call out a second name. 
  1. As the game goes on, more and more names will be called, and the players should start remembering who is who. Encourage your people to keep in mind the ‘new’ names of players on their team and on the opposing team. This way, when it’s their turn to call a name out (because the empty chair is to their right) they will be able to call specific people away from their chairs, or onto the couch (if that’s where the empty seat is).
  1. The winning team is the one that manages to have four of their teammates sitting on the couch.

*Note: Team members are not allowed to help each other, especially when it’s the team member whose turn it is to call someone to an empty chair. People might talk and whisper when it is not their turn, but try to keep it to a minimum.

4 on a couch… with a twist!

Change the rules of ‘Four on the couch’ a bit and turn it into an even greater indoor game. Make it so that when someone calls a name, they swap their name with the person they called. 

Eg. If someone had the empty chair next to them and called out ‘John’, the person who has the ‘John’ name will move to the empty seat and then swap their name slip with the caller. So the caller will now have ‘John’ and the person who did have ‘John’ will have the caller’s old name (which may not be known to the group yet).

All that seat-switching and name-switching can turn the ‘Four on the couch’ game into a very challenging activity. If you’re looking to test your memory and strategic thinking, give it a go next time you’re having your friends over!

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