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Learn How to Unplug and Play!

Question: What inspired you to write this book?
Whenever I am with a group of friends, members of my family, and/or colleagues, I am always eager to create an experience which brings us closer together. I truly love playing games of all kinds, but for as long as I can remember I have had a particular passion for inventing social games which can be both fun and educational. Although all of these games include rules for friendly competition, any emphasis on winning or losing is a distant second to the primary objective which is to have a ton of fun learning more about the people in your life.      
Question: How did you decide on the title Unplug and Play? 
While I was testing the games with hundreds of people over the two-year period it took to put the book together I noticed one common theme: Hardly anyone looked at their phones while we were playing—something we all know is a near impossible task these days. Unplugging from our attachment to our phones and devices can be a welcome relief for us all from time to time.
Question: How did you come up with the ideas behind the games?
All of my games are divided into five basic categories:
Matching/Mind Reading— These games are all about trying to match your list with everyone else’s lists. The games in this category always lead to a lot of topical discussions and discovery about the interests of all the players in your group. I love creating games for this category. They’re probably the most popular ice breakers and the easiest games to play.
Creativity— These games simply inspire creativity from even the least creative people in your group. Usually I ease these games in after the matching games if I have a group of people I don’t know that well. These games can be a ton of fun and lead to many laughs and long lasting memories.
Strategy— These games are the most difficult to create but I have come up with a general scoring theory and system for many of these which make people really think about how to approach them.
Speed— There are endless possibilities here. Essentially, these are puzzles which are easy to create. For every one of these games, each player comes up with a puzzle based on the rules I have set up and the first person or group to figure out the answer wins.
Memory— I love creating games which test your memory. Making them fun is the real challenge.        
Question: Why did you create games that require (at most) pen and paper? Why not dice or a board with game pieces?
Paper and pens are easy. Just go to any pharmacy or convenience store and you will walk out with everything you need for the Unplug and Play experience! I just feel that the need for any other props could actually be a deterrent.  

Question: What are some of the benefits of playing group games?
Often when you have a decent sized group a lot of individual conversations break out, which is fine of course. However, with a group game everyone is engaged at once and you create memorable moments which will always bring your group together.   

Question: What types of groups would enjoy these games?
One of the main benefits of Unplug and Play is that you adapt the games to your own group based on the interests and even personalities of each individual. For example, you may have an entirely different experience playing the same games with your family as you do with your friends, classmates or colleagues. The topics and categories you select are your own and the themes in many cases are dictated by specific personal interests and experiences, unlike with most board games where the topics are selected for you. These games are fun for any type of group in any kind of environment.
Question: How often do you play these games? Who do you play them with?
I play these games all year round with many different people, including people I don’t even know that well. I am never shy about introducing a game to a new group. The key is to simply just take charge and do it. Before you know it, everyone is engaged and having fun!
Question: What are your favorite games from Unplug and Play?
 I have many favorites in every category. It is really difficult for me to single out any of them. However, with a new group I almost always start with the game “Popular” from the first chapter of the book. It’s an easy ice breaker for any group.  

Check out Unplug and Play in action with this fun video!

Like the article? We bet you’ll love this book:

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Erika Sargent was raised on the stage singing, dancing, and acting. Combining her love for imagination, expression, and words, she graduated from BYU with a BA in Communications (Advertising emphasis) and an English minor and has put her degree to wo… Read More


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