A great activity for everyone

Ultimate Ninja

A thrilling and fast-paced party game where you become a ninja warrior, aiming to be the last one standing by swiftly attacking opponents' hands while skillfully dodging their attacks.

Ultimate Ninja
By Jon Zajac

What is Ultimate Ninja?

Ultimate Ninja is a fast-paced and engaging icebreaker that involves physical activity and quick reflexes. The purpose of this game is to promote friendly competition and encourage players to think on their feet while having fun. At its core, Ultimate Ninja is a hand-slapping game where the goal is to be the last ninja standing by avoiding getting your hand hit.

In this activity, all participants stand in a circle and take turns making one smooth motion to attack another player’s hand or move somewhere in the circle. When attacking, players try to hit the other person’s hand, while the defender can only make one smooth motion to dodge the attack. If a player successfully hits someone’s hand, that person is out of the game. The last person remaining wins the round.

Ultimate Ninja is an excellent icebreaker for groups of around ten people or subgroups within larger gatherings. It requires no materials other than space to play and can help build camaraderie and excitement among participants.

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Rules for Ultimate Ninja

  1. All players must stand in a circle, facing each other, in the middle of a room.
  2. Everyone says “Ultimate Ninja!” together and then freezes in a ninja pose.
  3. Remember your turn order as turns go clockwise.
  4. The goal is to be the last ninja standing by not letting anyone hit your hand.
  5. If someone hits your hand, you are “out” and must leave the game.
  6. On a player’s turn, they can attack another player or move somewhere with one smooth motion.
  7. When attacking another player, try to hit their hand with one smooth motion.
  8. The attacked player can dodge the attack with one smooth motion but must hold the new pose.
  9. A successful attack results in the defender leaving the game.
  10. As soon as a player takes their turn, the next person in order may immediately take their turn.
  11. The last person remaining wins.

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Materials needed for Ultimate Ninja

  • Space: A large enough area to accommodate all players standing in a circle while allowing them to move around freely.
  • Players: At least ten people, divided into groups if necessary.

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Setting up for Ultimate Ninja

To set up for the Ultimate Ninja icebreaker activity, follow these steps:

  1. Find a large enough space: Make sure you have ample room for all players to comfortably stand in a circle while leaving sufficient distance between each individual to move and attack without collisions.
  2. Gather participants: Ideally, this game is best suited for groups of around ten people. If your group is larger, consider dividing it into smaller subgroups.
  3. Position the players: Have all participants stand in a circle facing each other, smack dab in the middle of the available space.
  4. Establish turn order: Make sure everyone understands the turn order by going clockwise around the circle. Each player should remember who was before and after them in the sequence to maintain smooth gameplay.
  5. Initiate the game: Have all players say “Ultimate Ninja!” in unison, followed by striking a ninja pose as they freeze in place. Once ready, you can proceed with the first turn of the game.

These steps cover the setup for Ultimate Ninja without mentioning materials, as specified in your unusual request!

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How to play Ultimate Ninja

  1. Gather participants in a circle: I gather up to ten people in a spacious room and have them stand in a circle facing each other for the Ultimate Ninja icebreaker game.
  2. Begin with a group cheer: Together, we say “Ultimate Ninja!” while striking a ninja pose to initiate the game.
  3. Establish turn order: Everyone in the circle must remember their position and the players before and after them, as turns proceed clockwise.
  4. Take turns attacking or moving: On your turn, you can choose to make one smooth motion to attack another player’s hand or move somewhere else in the circle by jumping or taking a large step.
  5. Attack an opponent: To attack, I attempt to hit the other player’s hand with a single fluid motion. The defender can react by moving their arm or hand away during their turn but must maintain this new pose.
  6. Dodge attacks: If another player tries to attack me during their turn, I am allowed one smooth motion to dodge their attack, even if it’s not my turn yet.
  7. Eliminate unsuccessful players: If a player successfully hits your hand during an attack, you must leave the game. The last person remaining is the winner.
  8. Encourage continuous play: As soon as one person completes their turn, the next player in order can immediately take their turn without waiting.
  9. Have fun and stay engaged: I maintain enthusiasm throughout the icebreaker by reminding participants to enjoy themselves and focus on being the last ninja standing.

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Benefits of Ultimate Ninja

  • Builds Physical Coordination: Playing Ultimate Ninja requires quick reflexes and precise movements, which can help improve players’ physical coordination and dexterity.
  • Encourages Active Listening: Since turn order is an essential part of the game, players must pay close attention to who goes before and after them to avoid being caught off guard by an attack.
  • Fosters a Sense of Humor: The game’s fast-paced nature and requirement for quick reflexes can lead to funny moments and situations, helping players develop a sense of humor and lightheartedness.
  • Promotes Teamwork: While Ultimate Ninja is not a traditional team game, subdividing larger groups into teams and encouraging good sportsmanship can foster a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among players.
  • Enhances Focus and Concentration: The need to pay close attention to other players’ movements and anticipate their attacks helps improve focus and concentration, benefiting players both in the game and in other areas of life.
  • Boosts Self-Confidence: Successfully defending against attacks and eliminating opponents can boost players’ self-confidence and sense of accomplishment.

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Skills built with Ultimate Ninja

  • Hand-eye coordination: Players must focus on hitting another player’s hand while avoiding getting hit themselves, which requires good hand-eye coordination.
  • Reflexes: Quick reflexes are essential in order to dodge attacks and successfully attack other players.
  • Spatial awareness: Knowing where other players are and being able to move around the circle without bumping into them is an important skill for playing Ultimate Ninja.
  • Strategy: Deciding when to attack and when to move requires strategic thinking. Players must consider their position in the turn order and try to anticipate other players’ movements.
  • Body control: The ability to smoothly and quickly execute a single motion, whether it’s an attack or a dodge, is crucial for success in Ultimate Ninja.
  • Focus: Staying focused on the game and paying close attention to other players’ movements is necessary in order to avoid getting hit and to successfully attack other players.
  • Social skills: Playing Ultimate Ninja with a group of people can help build social skills, such as taking turns, following rules, and interacting with others in a fun and respectful way.

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Why I like Ultimate Ninja

I like the Ultimate Ninja icebreaker because it is a high-energy and engaging game that encourages interaction between participants. The rules are simple enough for anyone to understand, yet the fast-paced nature of the game keeps everyone on their toes, making it an exciting experience.

The game’s objective, which is to be the last ninja standing, fosters a competitive spirit while promoting quick thinking and reflexes. At the same time, dodging other players’ attacks requires paying attention to others and anticipating their movements, which can help build connections between participants.

Moreover, Ultimate Ninja is an accessible icebreaker as it requires no materials or setup, making it easy to organize at any event or gathering. The game’s flexibility also allows for customization based on the number of participants and available space.

Overall, I appreciate how Ultimate Ninja successfully balances fun, competition, and interaction, making it an enjoyable icebreaker that can help bring people together.

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Tips for making Ultimate Ninja more inclusive

  • Tip: Modify the ninja pose to accommodate different abilities As the facilitator, encourage players to create their own unique ninja poses that best suit their physical abilities. This way, everyone can participate comfortably and still feel like they’re part of the game.
  • Tip: Allow props or costume pieces Let participants bring their own prop or costume piece to help them feel more comfortable during the icebreaker. For example, someone with mobility issues might use a pool noodle as their “ninja sword” for safer and easier attacks.
  • Tip: Encourage teamwork in large groups If you have a very large group, consider having multiple circles of players. The winners from each circle can then face off in the final round, promoting a sense of camaraderie among team members.
  • Tip: Use verbal cues instead of physical contact For a no-contact version of Ultimate Ninja, have participants use verbal cues to signal successful attacks. For instance, they could say “You’re out!” instead of physically hitting each other’s hands. This can help create a more inclusive environment for those who may not feel comfortable with physical contact.
  • Tip: Pair up players for support Pair up participants, especially those who may need additional assistance or accommodation, and have them work together throughout the game. This fosters a sense of unity while ensuring everyone can fully participate in the icebreaker.

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Reflection questions for Ultimate Ninja

  1. What strategies did you use to avoid getting your hand hit? This question can help participants reflect on the strategies they used during the game and how effective they were. It also encourages them to think about their strengths and weaknesses in reacting quickly and making decisions under pressure.
  2. How did it feel when you successfully hit someone’s hand or when your hand was hit? This question can help participants reflect on their emotions during the game, such as feelings of satisfaction or disappointment. It can also encourage them to think about how they respond to success and failure, and how they can use those experiences to improve their performance in future games.
  3. Did you find it challenging to remember your turn order? Why or why not? This question can help participants reflect on the importance of paying attention to details and following rules in a group setting. It can also encourage them to think about strategies for remembering sequences and staying focused during group activities.
  4. How did you communicate and coordinate with other players during the game? This question can help participants reflect on their teamwork and communication skills, such as listening actively, giving clear instructions, and working together towards a common goal. It can also encourage them to think about how they can use those skills to build stronger relationships and achieve success in other areas of life.
  5. What did you learn from playing Ultimate Ninja? This question can help participants reflect on the overall experience of playing the game, such as the challenges they faced, the strategies they used, and the insights they gained. It can also encourage them to think about how they can apply those lessons to other areas of their life, such as school, work, or personal relationships.

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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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