One Word Storytelling


One Word Storytelling

(This exercise was co-created as part of a collaboration day between myself and Geoff Watts.)

About 5-10 mins for new teams, longer for more mature teams or creative types

Dead easy to set up, quick and very fun. Even more fun over beers. Sit the team in a circle. Ask the team for a boy or girl’s name, a household object and a location. Write down this down somewhere visible if required.

The team must then make a story by only speaking one word at a time and going around the circle.


  • The story must “flow”
  • Players can add the words “full stop” to indicate a new sentence
  • The story elements the team chose must be used

Learning points:

Collaboration & Emergence. Players must be able to build on the previous word successfully. Nobody knows what the story will look like at the start, and it changes based on peoples own input. Some players will throw in “bad” words which are difficult to build on. These are BLOCKS. A good collaborator can turn a BLOCK into an OFFER which allows the next players to build the story more easily and create flow.

About Tasty Cupcakes

This content was originally published on Tasty Cupcakes, a community-run website founded by Michael McCullough and Don McGreal after they presented a series of games at Agile2008 in Toronto. The site’s tagline was “fuel for invention and learning.” After 15 years at, the content has found a new permanent home here at Agile Alliance.

The games, techniques, and approaches presented are here to use and explore. All we ask is that you tell others about us and give us some feedback on the games themselves. All of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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