Better Me games are ideal for meeting new people. The game encourages people to open up, share and make commitments to growth within a comfortable, supportive environment meaning people can form high quality relationships quickly.
Many people like to organize local events for strangers to come together and play Better Me. This is awesome! However, there are few things it’s good to know before organizing a game with total strangers. They help to make sure the game goes smoothly and everyone gets the most out of the experience.
If this is your first time organizing a game of Better Me, or you are interested in finding out ways to improve your games, we’ve put this list together for you of ways to get the most out of hosting a Better Me local event.
1) Choose the best game ending type
There are few different ways to decide when a game of Better Me is “finished”, and it’s best to decide in advance what that ending type will be. This prevents confusion and avoids that awkward moment when the game is not really finished, but people still want to pack up and go do other things.
The ending types mostly depend on how much time is allocated to play the game and how many players there are. More players means the game takes longer, because players take longer to cycle around the board.
The three ending types are:
- Time limit game – this is probably the best choice for coaches and consultants organizing public events and anyone playing with strangers for the first time. Limiting the game time means expectations are clear, and whatever happens in game, we always end inside the allotted time. There will still be a winner, because in this play style the player that is fulfilled in the most amount of categories wins.
- All categories fulfilled – this is the ‘long play’ version of the game. The game ends when the first person has become “fulfilled” in all categories. This can take a while, depending on how the game goes (are people talking more, or less?) and how many players there are (more players, means longer game time in general). It’s best to stick to games with family and friends for this method, or people who are aware it’s open-ended and are in for the long-haul.
- Just draw cards – the “light version” of Better Me is just to draw cards at random and strike up interesting discussions. There’s no real ending or winner here. It’s just fun to fill an hour or two at home, stimulate conversation at dinner or over coffee, or on a road trip.
2) Make it clear whether people should bring gifts
A nice way to play Better Me is to arrange for everyone to bring a gift that could potentially be appreciated by any other player. At the end, the winner will get first pick of the gifts. Then we go down the line from “most fulfilled” to “least fulfilled” to pick gifts from the pile.
Better Me is not a competitive game, but this does help to give a little meaning to “winning” a game, and it’s also really nice to walk away from an inspiring game with a memento of some sort.
The gift shouldn’t be too expensive and it’s best to specific a dollar amount (such as $5 – $10). To give some examples, I like to bring packets of tea to share, and I remember someone sharing an empty journal and all sorts of things like juggling balls. There was once a game where a player put an offer to treat someone to coffee into the gift pile. That was a good one and actually went first.
The really important thing here though is to make it clear to all players before they arrive! That includes the dollar value and whether players are expected to bring gifts or not. It’s a little awkward if some bring gifts and some don’t, so just make sure everyone knows well in advance.
3) Try to arrange an ideal number of players
We’ve found that 4-6 players is probably the ideal amount. It’s enough players to make it a “group event”, have a range of voices around the board and meet enough new people (if playing with strangers).
Larger groups can tend to make the game last too long, and players can feel bored waiting for their turn to come back round. Games of 2-3 players may feel a little too intimate, like you’re just having a really deep heart to heart with a couple of friends (nothing wrong with that of course, Better Me can be really powerful this way too).
Often we have groups of 10 to 15 or more show up, in which case we usually split the group up and play 2-3 games simultaneously!
4) Try to know who will be playing
The personalities around the board will affect your game! This is both a blessing and challenge of Better Me. If you’re playing with family, it’s best to keep it to close relatives or really close friends. You’re going to be touching on some pretty intimate topics, so having a stranger there may throw off your game (or may not – it could work out really well – but it’s hard to say).
Likewise if you’re organizing total strangers together, it’s probably best to consider whether everyone is new to each other, or if there is a “core” of friends who know each other and a couple of strangers. The strangers may not want to open up in that scenario (again, they might – this is just about being aware of the parameters of setting up a game).
With all the above, personalities matter. Better Me games go much smoother when everyone around the board is respectful and positive, or at least willing to allow others to speak uninterrupted.
5) Enforce the ‘you don’t have to share’ rule
Many cards that can be drawn in Better Me encourage players to share something deep or personal. To protect players from opening up about topics they would rather keep quiet, we have a rule that you don’t have to share if you don’t want to, and you don’t need to say why.
It’s important to let all players know this before starting.
6) Enforce the ‘no feedback unless asked for’ rule
This is another rule that helps players avoid topics or discussions they are uncomfortable with. The rule goes that when a player has shared from one of the cards, you shouldn’t really give feedback unless the player asks “what do you think?” or says it’s OK to discuss. This isn’t really a strict rule, but making players aware of this prevents uncomfortable discussions.
7) Create a Facebook event or group chat for players
Keep your players in one place! It’s not only useful to make sure everyone is informed before the event, but serves as a great tool to keep everyone connected after the event and follow up on commitments made during the game. It doesn’t have to be a Facebook group, you can create a group chat on Messenger or What’s App for example.
You can also use the same group to put on future events, or organize other activities.
Also, if you haven’t joined our Better Me Players group yet, make sure to jump in and say hi: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bettermeplayers
8) Emphasise accountability and encourage players to take action
A big part of Better Me is setting goals and taking action! During the game, many of the cards prompt players to decide on an action, choose an accountability partner (or multiple partners if others want to jump in on the commitment) and commit to doing it in the near future or ongoing.
Players will be encouraged to write down those commitments and partners during the game, and the taking action element helps cement new habits. It’s part of what makes Better Me more than other board games, so make sure to encourage action taking and accountability!
9) Choose a suitable location
Not all locations are ideal for Better Me. It could either be a public or private space, and needs to be a place you can speak freely and comfortably. A library will probably be no good, because they expect you to keep quiet, and a bar will probably be too noisy.
Cafes and social cowork spaces work well, so long as they don’t mind you staying around for a couple of hours. Also, it’s best to make sure the place is comfortable. Having plenty of cushions around or soft seating means people can stick around longer and really relax.
10) Promote your event! (If it’s public…)
If you’re hoping to attract total strangers and want people to find your event, make sure to put the details up online.
You could list your event on craigslist, create a meetup.com event or list on other local event listing websites. If you’re organizing a business-focused meeting, then LinkedIn is a great way to find players.
One piece of advice we give here, is to direct people to a booking or event solution of some sort. Facebook events and other sites like Craigslist, Meetup.com and Eventbrite work well. This makes sure you know who is coming, can prepare people in advance and have an idea of numbers before you get there!
11) Join our Better Me Event Organisers group
It’s always better to do things together and compare notes on what works, what doesn’t and any ideas that may be useful.
To join our private group of Better Me organizers, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll connect you 🙂
BEFORE YOU START: You’ll need a copy of Better Me to organize a game! You can purchase the game on our website or on Amazon. We also offer a free print and play version for those who can’t afford to make the investment yet.