How to Play Never Have I Ever

By C. Taylor
Friends, "Never, I, table
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The social exploration game Never Have I Ever provides a great opportunity to learn about your peers and have fun in the process. The game also breaks the ice with new acquaintances and helps you make new friends. No equipment is necessary to play the game, so it's ideally suited for road trips and parties.

The Rules

You can play Never Have I Ever with as few as two people, but it's best suited for larger groups of 10 to 15 players. Participants sit in a circle and hold up 10 fingers each. Moving clockwise, each player takes turns declaring an activity that they've never done, beginning with the phrase, "Never have I ever." Anyone who has done the activity must visibly and truthfully lower a finger. When a player lowers his last finger, he's out of the game. The winner of the game is the last remaining player with a finger raised.

Strategies

The primary goal of Never Have I Ever is to learn about your friends and have a few laughs, so explore topics that don't typically come up in normal conversations. As an example, ask questions like, "Never have I ever sneaked out of the house at night." If your goal is to win, choose questions that keep you safe and penalize many other players, such as a girl declaring, "Never have I ever shaved my face," during a game with several boys.

Limits

The game should be fun, but certain lines of questioning can make others feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. For this reason, participants should agree to any topic limits before beginning the game. Some topics you might consider forbidding are sex, intimate details, personal attacks, legalities and other sensitive subjects. As an example, stating, "Never have I ever been dumped by John Smith," could take the game in a bad direction. All players should help keep the questioning within the agreed limits of the game.

Variations

For shorter games, reduce the number of fingers used to just five. Fingers can be replaced by a more obvious physical act, such as hitting a buzzer, taking a drink, running around the sofa, or whatever you think would be fun; this variation draws more attention to the losers of the round, so they can't inconspicuously lower a finger in the background. To avoid players getting knocked out early and sitting idly by, you might also consider starting a new game when anyone gets knocked out, so everyone stays engaged and has fun.