A great activity for everyone

Last Letter City Journey

Test Your Geography Skills with Last Letter City Journey

Last Letter City Journey
By Jon Zajac

What is Last Letter City Journey?

The Last Letter City Journey is an entertaining and educational icebreaker activity that I like to facilitate in various settings, from classrooms to workshops and social gatherings. This game encourages interaction, quick thinking, and learning about different places around the world as participants take turns naming cities, with each new city starting with the last letter of the previous one.

As a facilitator, I find this activity captivating because it can be easily customized to fit diverse group sizes, ages, and knowledge levels. The objective is simple: players think of a city and say it aloud; then, the next player must name a city that starts with the last letter of the previous city’s name. This continuous chain creates an engaging experience, especially as participants explore lesser-known cities or delve into their geographical knowledge to keep the game going.

What I appreciate most about this icebreaker is its ability to foster connectivity and engagement among the group. The Last Letter City Journey encourages active listening and memory recall, ultimately creating a positive atmosphere for any gathering or educational session. With minimal materials needed and simple rules to follow, it’s an ideal activity for those looking to spark curiosity and interaction in their participants.

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Rules for Last Letter City Journey

  1. Participants take turns naming cities, with each new city starting from the last letter of the previous city’s name.
  2. The first player is chosen randomly, by volunteer, or based on seating arrangement.
  3. Play continues clockwise, with participants taking turns to say a city’s name within the time limit (optional).
  4. City names must be unique in each round; repetition is not allowed.
  5. Set a penalty for stalling, such as elimination from the current round or other friendly consequences.
  6. Allow challenges on city legitimacy but keep disputes to a minimum and use trusted sources for verification.
  7. The game ends when there’s only one participant remaining who can come up with a unique city name or within a set timeframe.
  8. Optional modifications include focusing on capitals, including towns, or expanding it to geographical features (rivers, mountains, etc.).

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Materials needed for Last Letter City Journey

  • Globe, map, or atlas (optional): These can be used to verify city names, explore unknown locations, and spark discussions about various places mentioned during the game.
  • Device with internet access (optional): This can serve as an alternative to physical maps for verifying cities or researching them on the fly.
  • Timer or stopwatch (optional): Implementing a time limit keeps the game dynamic and encourages quick thinking, making it more challenging and engaging for participants.

Remember that the primary materials needed for this icebreaker activity are an adequate group size, a space to play, and a shared enthusiasm for learning about different cities around the world!

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Setting up for Last Letter City Journey

For setting up the Last Letter City Journey icebreaker activity, focus on the following aspects:

  1. Group Management: Determine the number of participants and arrange them in a circle, either physically or virtually. Make sure everyone can see and hear each other clearly.

  2. Seating Arrangement: If conducted in person, consider arranging seating in a way that encourages interaction among all participants. For virtual gatherings, ensure webcam positions allow for good visibility of every participant’s face.

  3. Round Timeframe: Decide on the duration of each round or whether there will be time limits for individual turns to keep the game dynamic and engaging.

  4. Dispute Resolution: Appoint a designated arbitrator or establish rules for handling disputes about city names, such as using an online map or atlas to verify the cities mentioned.

  5. Group Dynamics: If participants have varying knowledge levels regarding geography or different cultural backgrounds, consider adjusting the game’s focus (e.g., capitals, towns, or geographical features) to accommodate and engage everyone effectively.

  6. End Condition: Choose how you will determine when a round or the entire game concludes, whether it’s based on time, participants’ ability to think of unique cities, or another agreed-upon criterion.

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How to play Last Letter City Journey

  1. Determine the Number of Participants Decide how many people will participate in The Last Letter City Journey. This icebreaker game works well with groups of 5 to 20 people, ensuring everyone remains engaged.

  2. Choose a Suitable Space Select a space where participants can comfortably sit or stand in a circle, either physically or virtually. This can be a classroom, meeting room, or video call screen.

  3. Gather Any Necessary Materials While no physical materials are required, having access to a globe, map, atlas, or device for city verification might be helpful during the game.

  4. Explain the Game’s Purpose and Rules Clearly explain that participants must name cities in a sequential fashion, with each new city starting with the last letter of the previous city’s name. Specify time limits, turn-taking order, and rules against repetition and stalling.

  5. Begin the Game Determine who will start by volunteer, random choice, or seating arrangement. The first player names a city, and then clockwise or in predetermined order, each participant takes turns naming cities using the previous city’s last letter as the starting letter.

  6. Verify City Names and Resolve Disputes Appoint an arbitrator or use a trusted source to verify city names if disputes arise. Limit challenges to maintain the game’s flow and foster positive interactions among participants.

  7. End the Game Gracefully Conclude the game when there’s only one participant remaining who can come up with a unique city name or within a set timeframe, depending on your group’s preferences. Encourage exploration of lesser-known cities and geographical features to keep the game engaging and informative.

  8. Adapt the Game for Specific Skill Levels Modify The Last Letter City Journey by focusing solely on capitals, including towns, or expanding it to geographical features (rivers, mountains, etc.) to accommodate various skill levels or areas of interest within your group.

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Benefits of Last Letter City Journey

  • Boosts Geographical Knowledge: By engaging in the Last Letter City Journey icebreaker, I have learned about various cities and their locations around the world that I wasn’t previously familiar with, which has contributed to my geographical awareness and understanding of global connections.

  • Encourages Active Participation: As a facilitator or participant, this game motivates everyone to be engaged in the conversation and actively listen to others, since each turn relies on the previous city’s name, making it an excellent choice for icebreaker activities.

  • Enhances Memory Skills: Quickly recalling the names of cities from earlier turns can become increasingly challenging as the game progresses, which helps improve memory retention and cognitive abilities while keeping participants mentally sharp and focused.

  • Fosters Cultural Awareness: In discussing different cities, participants may discover various cultural aspects related to those places, encouraging learning about diverse customs, traditions, and histories from around the world.

  • Develops Quick Thinking: With a time limit for each turn, the Last Letter City Journey icebreaker encourages players to think on their feet, which can help improve decision-making skills and spontaneity in social situations or under pressure.

  • Promotes Group Bonding: This activity facilitates interaction among participants by creating a shared experience where everyone has an opportunity to contribute and connect over common knowledge or curiosity for the unknown.

  • Caters to Various Age Groups and Skill Levels: The game can be easily customized based on the group’s composition, making it suitable for intergenerational gatherings, classrooms, workshops, or social events, ensuring an inclusive and engaging atmosphere for all.

  • Provides an Educational Element: By promoting exploration of cities, their names, locations, and connections, this game offers a learning experience that can be adapted to focus on different aspects such as capitals, towns, or geographical features, catering to the group’s preferences and interests.

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Skills built with Last Letter City Journey

  • Geographical Knowledge: Playing the Last Letter City Journey icebreaker significantly enhances participants’ understanding of geography by encouraging them to think about various cities and countries around the world. They learn to associate city names with specific regions, cultures, and landmarks, promoting spatial awareness and a broader sense of global connectedness.

  • Memory and Recall: The gameplay requires players to remember previously mentioned cities, which in turn strengthens their short-term memory and recall abilities. This cognitive skill is essential for daily life and contributes to enhanced learning capabilities in various academic or professional settings.

  • Quick Thinking and Problem Solving: In the Last Letter City Journey, participants must rapidly think of a new city name that adheres to the rule. Doing so stimulates their ability to process information quickly, identify patterns, and solve problems efficiently. These skills are valuable in many real-life situations where critical thinking and prompt decision-making are required.

  • Interpersonal Communication: The icebreaker format promotes interaction among participants, facilitating the development of interpersonal communication skills. Players engage with one another by actively listening to others’ turns, offering feedback or suggestions, and building upon their contributions in a collaborative manner.

  • Cultural Awareness: As the game progresses, discussions about various cities might arise, exposing players to new cultures, customs, and histories. This exposure fosters curiosity and appreciation for global diversity, enhancing participants’ cultural awareness and empathy towards people from different backgrounds.

  • Competitive Spirit and Resilience: While the Last Letter City Journey is not overtly competitive, there is an aspect of friendly competition that encourages players to push their limits and strive for success. Failing to think of a city name within the given time frame or encountering repetition can be discouraging, but participants learn to persevere, adapt, and maintain a positive attitude in the face of setbacks, building resilience and grit.

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Why I like Last Letter City Journey

I appreciate the Last Letter City Journey icebreaker for its ability to encourage interaction, quick thinking, and geographical learning among participants in a fun and engaging way. Its versatility makes it suitable for various settings and group sizes, ensuring that everyone remains engaged and connected throughout the activity.

One aspect I enjoy is the simplicity of the game’s rules combined with the depth of knowledge required to excel. The pressure of thinking quickly and remembering previously mentioned cities adds an exciting challenge that can lead participants to discover new places and cultures they might not have otherwise explored. This dynamic also allows for customization, as the game can be tailored to fit different skill levels or areas of interest by focusing on specific types of locations, such as capitals or geographical features.

Moreover, I find it rewarding when the game sparks curiosity and prompts discussions about various cities, cultures, and countries. It’s a fantastic opportunity for participants to learn from each other while also building connections based on shared experiences and discoveries.

In conclusion, I like the Last Letter City Journey icebreaker because it fosters engagement, interaction, and learning among participants through an enjoyable and customizable activity that encourages exploration of geographical knowledge and cultural curiosity.

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Tips for making Last Letter City Journey more inclusive

  • Consider using both city and country names. This can help accommodate participants with different backgrounds and make the game more inclusive for non-native speakers who might struggle to think of cities quickly. For example, if “Brazil” is mentioned, the next player could say “Lisbon” (city in Portugal).
  • Encourage players to share pronunciations and interesting facts about cities. This can help create a more inclusive environment by promoting cultural exchange and understanding. It also adds depth to the game, making it more educational and engaging for all participants.
  • Create a list of diverse cities before starting the game. Share this list with everyone, so they have a reference point and feel included in the game. Make sure to include cities from various continents, cultures, and languages. This can be particularly helpful for younger players or those with limited geographical knowledge.
  • Allow for creative interpretations of city names. Some city names might have different spellings or variations based on language or region. Be open to these differences and allow participants to use them during the game. For example, if “Beijing” has been mentioned, accept “Pequim” as a valid response since it’s the Portuguese name for the same city.
  • Set ground rules to ensure respectful interactions. Establish guidelines that promote positive communication and discourage unintentional bias or exclusion. Encourage players to avoid using colloquial names or terms that may not be familiar to everyone. Instead, use official or widely recognized names for cities and countries.
  • Adapt the game based on your audience’s needs and preferences. For example, if you have a multilingual group, consider allowing city names from any of the spoken languages. Or, if there are young children participating, simplify the game by focusing only on capital cities or popular tourist destinations. These adjustments can help make the game more inclusive for all participants.

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Reflection questions for Last Letter City Journey

  1. What did you learn about geography and cities during this activity? This question encourages participants to reflect on how much they already knew and what new information they gained from others’ contributions. It highlights the educational aspect of the game.
  2. How did you come up with city names when it was your turn? What strategy, if any, did you use? By asking this, facilitators can understand each participant’s approach to problem-solving and decision-making under pressure. It may also reveal creative thinking processes.
  3. Did you find yourself focusing on certain regions or types of cities (e.g., capitals, small towns)? If so, why do you think that happened? This question can help participants become aware of their potential biases and assumptions about different parts of the world. It can also encourage further exploration of underrepresented areas in the game.
  4. Did any cities or stories shared by others spark your curiosity? Which ones and why? Encouraging reflection on memorable moments enables connections between participants, promoting a sense of community. It may also inspire individual follow-up research or discussions.
  5. How did you feel when someone challenged the city name you provided? How did you respond to that situation? This question allows facilitators to gauge participants’ reactions to disagreements and learn how they handle constructive criticism. It can lead to insights on conflict resolution strategies and resilience.
  6. What challenges or successes did you experience while playing the Last Letter City Journey game? Inviting introspection about personal experiences helps participants recognize their growth, strengths, and areas for improvement in similar activities. It also highlights the value of perseverance and adaptability.

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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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