Life is Life Evolution Game

Collaborative team-building game

 Fun Games
 Communication, Collaboration, Having Fun
6 – 15 minutes
1 – 8, 9 – 16, 17 – 30, 31+
Children, Youth, Adults

Step by Step Instructions:

  • Gather the group and introduce 5 ‘creatures,’ all of which have their own
    mannerisms and sounds. For example:
  • Fish: Pretend to swim around making fish faces and underwater noises like “Gloop-Gloop”
  • Snake: Keeping your body straight, arms to the side, weave through the room
    making hissing noises.
  • Dinosaur: Stomp around fiercely making loud roaring noises.
  • Ape: Jump around the room, scratching and making “ooh-ooh, aah – aah” noises.
  • Nirvana: sit in a yoga pose and appear superior and calm.
  • The aim of the game is to reach the Nirvana stage of evolution.
  • Everybody begins at the bottom and start out as fish.
  • To move up the evolutionary ladder, each person must find another creature
    like them. These members then play a game of rock-paper-scissors.
  • Winner gets to move up the ladder and evolve into the next creature, while
    the loser steps down the ladder.
  • If the one playing rock-paper-scissors loses and is a fish, they will remain a
  • Continue with the game for two minutes or until you see the groups
    enthusiasm waning.


  • Exciting and playful
  • Very interactive
  • Encourages critical-thinking
  • Best for large groups
  • No props needed

How to Play

To prepare for this game, you can come up with any story you can think of, just use
your imagination. What version of the evolution cycle can you come up with, here’s

Get together with your group and let them help you to come up with ideas, you need
to create 5 evolutionary ‘creatures.’ First, you can have the primordial fish, a snake,
a dinosaur, an ape, and finally Nirvana.

These ‘creatures’ are each represented by certain movements. Demonstrate and
have the group copy them, you could also include some sounds to go along with the

Primordial Fish: you can make swimming movements and fish faces along with
noises like, “gloop – gloop.”

Snake: keep your arms next to you and sway from side to side making hissing

Dinosaur: stomp around making ‘roaring’ noises

Ape: scratch under your arms and jump around making monkey noises.

Nirvana: Do some yoga poses or make as if meditating while looking calm.

Inform the group that all members will start at the beginning of the evolutionary
cycle, which is the fish. During the game, each player must search out a ‘creature’
that is the same, which is easy at the start of the game. Players must then play a
game of rock-paper-scissors, whoever wins, will then move up the evolution ladder.
The loser will move down a step or remain the same if it is the fish.

Obviously, everyone wants to move to the top of the evolutionary ladder to enter
Nirvana. For this to occur, you have to have two apes coming together for a game of
rock-paper-scissors. The player to win the round moves up to Nirvana, while the
loser moves down to become a dinosaur. Once a player reaches Nirvana, they don’t
have to play the game anymore. They can simply sit on the sidelines meditating.
After a few players reach ‘Nirvana’ play for a few minutes longer and then finish the
game. Everyone left playing can then applaud those who reached ‘Nirvana’ and then
turn to also include those left being fish.

Useful Framing Ideas

There are different ideas on how everything came into being, did we actually evolve
from some kind of primordial ooze millions of years ago after a ‘Big Bang?’ Let’s
explore the sequence of evolution and what creatures started from the bottom up.

Many think we came from the water, maybe as fish and eventually crawled our way
onto land. Surviving, evolving and becoming more…

Practical Leadership Tips

You will have to demonstrate the various phases of evolution and the creatures you
chose. The more elaborate and imaginative you are with your display, the more you
will motivate and inspire your group.

Involve the group from the beginning by having them come up with the creatures,
their moves and their sounds they make. This should pique their interest more than
just providing them with the information.

The game is not long, so not all players will reach the Nirvana stage, and that’s okay.
Play until you feel the group is losing interest and everybody has done enough.

Reflection Tips & Strategies

Here are some questions to ask the group, which will help them to process their
experience of playing the interactive game ‘Life is Life Evolution Game’

  • Did you enjoy having to play a character with a certain amount of gusto?
  • What did it feel like to drop down the ‘evolution ladder’? Explain.
  • Were you excited to reach the Nirvana stage, or what did you feel and why?
  • Do you think this game can represent certain patterns or behaviors that
    occur in real life?

Popular Variations

  • Play on: To have more of a continuous flow, have those who have reached
    ‘Nirvana’ to play a game of rock-paper-scissors against each other. The
    winner can remain at this stage, but the loser must go back to the fish stage
    and work their way up again.
  • Stages of Evolution: Mark off designated areas that represent each stage of
    the evolution process. For example, everyone begins as a fish in the selected
    area, those who win the game of rock-paper-scissors then run to the snake
    area etc.
  • Creature feature: Change the evolving creatures into something else, use
    your imagination. Try insects, or even go for something like characters in
    books or movies.
  • Game change: You can use other games instead of rock-paper-scissors. Come
    up with other quick and easy competitive games, like, tossing a coin (tails you
    lose and heads you win). There is also the Ubuntu Cards option, players can
    easily pick matching cards. You could also use some playing cards, where the
    winner is the one to pick the highest card.
  • There are also other games that involve playing characters in teams, such as,
    ‘Giants -Wizards- Elves’