What If

What If

What is it?

In this storytelling game, players create a story or scene sentence by sentence using "What If ..." statements.

How to Play:

The game can be acted out while played, sketched in storyboard form, or simply told aloud. Each players adds a line to the story that begins with β€œWhat If,” and they pass the storytelling back and forth.


In a one-on-one, in-person setting, the storytelling is passed back and forth from mentor to mentee.


In addition to telling the story aloud, you can try variations, such as each putting in a "What If" statement to build on the last in the chat, and choosing together which one to build off next. Or, you could each quick-sketch a "What If" and share them visually. Mixing up the approaches can keep the game fresh and fun.


Use the chat to brainstorm "What If" possibilities. Either vote by raised hands, or roll a die to choose the option you'll go with. (The first option offered for this round would be one, the second two, and so forth. With a large group, you could use a pair of dice to include more possible answers.


During live play, players can pass their ideas around a circle, or pair up and tell their stories back and forth. You can also play in teams. If you're playing in a group, you can create frozen tableaus to depict each "What If" scenario, allowing players to be humans, scenery, or anything else they choose as part of the frozen picture.


If you want the scene to be cohesive, side-coach before asking for each "What If ..." to build the storytelling toward a climax and resolution. For instance, "What would make the situation even (worse, more exciting, more surprising, more funny)?"

If someone doesn't have an idea when it's their turn, tell them you'll return to them later and skip to another player. Sometimes a pretend microphone can make this quick switching feel like part of the fun of the game.

Alternate Uses:

Exploring Tone: Players specifically focus on creating a specific tone with their "What If" choices, and make two contrasting scenes as a way to explore how tone can be chosen and then created.

Idea Generation: Players can build a variety of ideas for stories rather than one cohesive scene. Consider using an imaginary hallway of doors, and as you open each one, a different "What If" scenario ensues.