A great activity for everyone

Fake Artist

Unravel the Mystery: A Drawing Game of Deception and Deduction

Fake Artist
By Jon Zajac

What is Fake Artist?

The Fake Artist icebreaker is a creative and engaging group activity that challenges players to uncover the identity of a “spy” within their midst, while trying to figure out a secret codeword based on a series of single-line drawings. As the facilitator of this game, my role is to ensure that all players understand the rules and are engaged in the process of drawing and guessing.

The purpose of this activity is to foster communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills among participants. By requiring players to communicate solely through simple line drawings, the Fake Artist icebreaker challenges them to think creatively and to interpret each other’s visual cues with precision and accuracy. This can help build trust and rapport within a group, as well as encourage active listening and observation skills.

During the game, players take turns drawing a single line on a shared piece of paper, based on their knowledge of the secret codeword. The player who receives a blank slip of paper (the “spy”) must try to blend in with the group and avoid revealing their true identity. At the end of the round, all players vote on who they believe is the spy, and the spy has an opportunity to guess the codeword for a chance at victory.

Overall, the Fake Artist icebreaker is a fun and dynamic way to promote team-building and communication among group members. Its unique format and engaging gameplay make it a popular choice for corporate training sessions, school activities, and social gatherings alike.

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Rules for Fake Artist

  1. An organizer writes the same codeword on all but one slip of paper, leaving one blank for the spy.
  2. The slips are dealt to players, with the blank going to the spy.
  3. The organizer gives a clue related to the codeword.
  4. Players take turns drawing one line on a shared piece of paper.
  5. After two rounds, players vote on who they think is the spy.
  6. If the majority votes for a non-spy, the spy wins. If the spy is correctly identified, they can guess the word to potentially win.

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Materials needed for Fake Artist

  • Paper slips: These will be used to give each player their word or blank slip.
  • Pen or pencils: Each player will need a pen or pencil to draw with.
  • Central piece of paper: This will serve as the canvas for all players to draw on during the game.
  • A list of categories or words: The organizer should prepare a list of words, one of which will be chosen as the codeword for each round. A category related to the word can also be provided as a clue.

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Setting up for Fake Artist

To set up for the Fake Artist icebreaker activity, follow these steps:

  1. Select an organizer who will be responsible for preparing the game materials and facilitating the game rules. The organizer should not participate as a player.
  2. Decide on the number of players for the game. This will determine how many slips of paper you need for the codewords.
  3. Prepare the slips of paper. Write the same word or codeword on all but one slip. Leave the remaining slip blank, which will be given to the spy. Make sure the number of slips matches the number of players.
  4. Choose a clue related to the codeword. This clue should help guide the players in their drawings without explicitly revealing the word itself. Write this clue down for reference during gameplay.
  5. Prepare a pen or pencil for each player and a shared piece of paper for drawing the lines during gameplay.
  6. Randomly distribute the slips of paper to all participating players, ensuring that only one player receives the blank slip (the spy). The organizer can do this by asking everyone to close their eyes, handing out the slips, and having the spy identify themselves after the distribution.
  7. Explain the game rules clearly to all players, emphasizing the importance of subtle communication and deception through drawing. Encourage them to think creatively while interpreting other players’ lines and deciding who might be the spy.
  8. Begin the game by selecting a starting player at random. This player will begin the drawing phase with their single line. Remind everyone that they have two turns each during this phase.

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How to play Fake Artist

  1. Receive the slip of paper: At the beginning of the game, I receive a slip of paper from the organizer. If it’s blank, that means I am the spy; otherwise, it contains the codeword known to all other players.
  2. Maintain secrecy as the spy: If I am the spy, I must remain inconspicuous and avoid revealing my identity while trying to guess the codeword at the end of the round.
  3. Follow the organizer’s instructions: As a group, we pay close attention to the organizer who shares the rules, clue related to the codeword, and guides us through each turn.
  4. Draw one line per turn: Each player, including me, takes turns drawing a single line on the shared paper based on their knowledge of the codeword. I should make my lines ambiguous enough not to reveal the codeword if I am the spy but clear enough for others to understand if I’m not.
  5. Engage in discussion: Between turns, players discuss and analyze each other’s drawings, trying to deduce who among them is the spy or decipher the codeword based on the clues given. I take part in these discussions while being mindful of my role as the spy if that’s what I am.
  6. Vote for the suspected spy: After each player has taken two turns, everyone raises their fingers and points at who they think is the spy. If I am not the spy, I should point to players I genuinely suspect; if I am the spy, I may choose to vote strategically or blend in with others’ choices.
  7. Reveal the spy: Following the voting, the player with the most fingers pointed at them can reveal themselves as the spy if they are not; otherwise, the spy has one last chance to guess the codeword correctly and win the game. If I am the spy, I attempt to make an educated guess based on previous discussions and clues.
  8. Play multiple rounds: The game continues with additional rounds, rotating roles, and changing codewords to encourage interaction, observation, and critical thinking among participants.

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Benefits of Fake Artist

  • Builds Communication Skills: In Fake Artist, players must convey information through a single line drawing, which can be challenging but also rewarding as you learn to communicate more effectively through non-verbal means.
  • Encourages Critical Thinking: The game requires players to think critically about the clues and drawings presented by others, helping to develop analytical skills that can be applied in various aspects of life.
  • Fosters Collaboration: Although Fake Artist is a competitive game, it also encourages collaboration as players work together to identify the spy among them, promoting teamwork and building relationships.
  • Promotes Active Listening: Players must pay close attention to the drawings and responses of others, making sure they understand what has been presented before adding their own contribution. This helps to improve listening skills and overall communication.
  • Boosts Creativity: With a limited means of communication, players are encouraged to think creatively in order to convey information effectively. This can help to boost creativity and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.
  • Enhances Observation Skills: Players must carefully observe the drawings and reactions of others in order to make informed decisions about who they think is the spy, helping to improve observation skills and attention to detail.
  • Provides a Fun and Engaging Icebreaker: Fake Artist is a fun and engaging icebreaker that can help to break down barriers between individuals and promote social interaction. It’s a great way to get people talking and building relationships in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.

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Skills built with Fake Artist

  • Deductive Reasoning: I have to carefully analyze the lines drawn by my fellow players, trying to understand what they could represent and how they relate to each other, in order to infer the secret codeword.
  • Critical Thinking: I need to weigh the likelihood of different words being the codeword based on the clues provided and the drawings made, while also considering possible deception tactics from the potential spy.
  • Non-Verbal Communication: By observing my fellow players’ reactions to the drawn lines, I can gather additional information about their thoughts and assess their potential role as the spy or a non-spy.
  • Strategic Thinking: I must choose what line to draw next in a way that demonstrates my knowledge of the codeword without giving away too much information, while also trying to identify the spy based on their drawing behavior.
  • Social Awareness: Paying attention to the group dynamics and the interpersonal relationships between players can help me make more informed decisions about who might be the spy and how I should approach my own drawings.
  • Emotional Intelligence: By understanding the emotions conveyed by my fellow players, both verbally and non-verbally, I can better assess their potential role in the game and adjust my strategy accordingly.

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Why I like Fake Artist

The Fake Artist icebreaker game is one that I thoroughly enjoy due to its unique blend of creativity, deduction, and social interaction. One aspect I appreciate is the limited communication channel, which forces everyone to think critically about how they convey information through simple lines on paper. This constraint creates a fun challenge that keeps me engaged throughout the game.

As a fan of mystery games, I find the guessing element in Fake Artist intriguing. The need to identify the spy among the group adds an exciting layer of suspense and encourages players to pay close attention to each other’s drawings for potential clues. This aspect fosters a sense of camaraderie as everyone works together to uncover the truth.

Furthermore, Fake Artist offers opportunities for creative expression through drawing. I personally enjoy interpreting the lines and shapes created by my fellow players and guessing what they are trying to convey. The game also allows me to practice my improvisational skills when I don’t have a clear understanding of the codeword but want to contribute meaningfully to the collective drawing.

Lastly, Fake Artist is an excellent icebreaker because it encourages interaction between players who might not know each other well. By working together to solve the mystery of the spy, participants can learn more about one another’s thought processes and communication styles in a low-pressure, enjoyable setting.

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Tips for making Fake Artist more inclusive

  • Tip: Choose a codeword that is accessible and familiar to all players Make sure the codeword is something that is widely known and easily recognizable by people from diverse backgrounds. Avoid using culturally-specific terms or references that may not be understood by everyone.

  • Tip: Use simple and clear clues The clue provided should be straightforward and easy to understand, so that all players can participate in the game without feeling left out due to language barriers or lack of knowledge on the topic.

  • Tip: Encourage descriptive drawing Instead of just drawing a specific object or symbol, encourage players to draw something that represents the codeword in a more abstract or descriptive way. This can help ensure that all players have an opportunity to contribute and understand the picture, even if they don’t immediately recognize the exact object being drawn.

  • Tip: Promote open communication Encourage players to ask questions, share their thoughts, and engage in conversation throughout the game. This can help create a more inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable participating and sharing their ideas.

  • Tip: Adapt the game for different abilities and learning styles Be prepared to modify the rules or provide additional support as needed to accommodate players with different abilities or learning styles. For example, you could allow players to use words or gestures in addition to drawing, or provide visual aids to help players who have difficulty processing verbal instructions.

  • Tip: Emphasize process over product Encourage players to focus on the collaborative process of creating the drawing rather than just the final product. This can help reduce pressure and anxiety around “performing” or producing a perfect drawing, and create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all players.

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Reflection questions for Fake Artist

  1. What was your experience being the spy in the game? This question can help participants reflect on the challenges and strategies they used while trying to stay hidden as the spy.
  2. How did you approach drawing your lines during the game? This question can help participants think about their decision-making process and how it evolved throughout the game.
  3. What was your strategy when voting for who you thought was the spy? This question can encourage reflection on group dynamics, communication, and trust.
  4. How did you feel when you were accused of being the spy? This question can help participants consider their emotions and reactions during the game, and how they might handle similar situations in real life.
  5. What did you learn about communication through playing this game? This question can encourage reflection on the importance of clear, effective communication and how body language, context, and tone can impact understanding.
  6. How did your group work together to identify the spy? This question can help participants think about teamwork, collaboration, and problem-solving skills.
  7. What was challenging about this game, and how did you overcome those challenges? This question can encourage reflection on resilience, adaptability, and critical thinking.
  8. How might you apply the lessons learned from this game to real-life situations? This question can help participants think about the relevance of the skills they practiced during the game and how they might use them in their daily lives.

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About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.

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