Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Life-Sized Game of Life - Complete Instructions

We played the Game of Life for our combined YM/YW activity last week.  It was a great success and the kids had a lot of fun.  It was, however, quite complicated to put together.  After viewing different versions on line, I put together our game and thought I would share with you how we did it.  We had a total of about 20 kids and needed all of our adult leaders to help keep track of the various aspects of Life. 

I had never played the Game of Life so I sat with my daughter one afternoon and played with her.  We then discussed how to simplify the game to make it conducive to playing on a large board in the cultural hall.  We eliminated some aspects of the game such as "Spin to Win" or divergent paths.  It took us about 40 minutes to play.  Here's how we did it:

1.  A game board made by 8 1/2" x 11" sheets of card stock.
2.  Dice - used in place of a spinner.  (I bought inflatable dice from Amazon.)
3.  A chalkboard to be the bank.
4.  A small tablet and pencil for each player or couple.
5.  An item to represent debt.  (I used red Mardi Gras bead necklaces.)
6.  An item to represent marriage.  (I used a flower lei.)
7.  An item to represent children.  (I used clothes pins.)
8.  Houses to buy printed on card stock.
9.  A clipboard with careers listed.
10.  A tablet for Life experiences.
11.  Badges identifying different leaders' positions in the game.  (I used sticky labels.)
12.  Ring Pops.

1.  Game supervisor (Me)
2.  Two Bankers
3.  Two people to roll the dice
4.  One person to give out houses - the Real Estate Agent
5.  One person to give out debt - the Loan Officer
6.  Two "Sealers" - one for children and one for marriages
7.  One person to give out jobs - the Career Counselor
8.  One person to tally Life points - the Life Counselor

The Rules-
1.  Enter at Mission
2.  On your turn, roll the dice and move the number of spaces indicated.
3.  If you land on an occupied space, go forward one space.
4.  Decide whether you want to start on CAREER or GO TO COLLEGE.
5.  If you decide on career, choose a career by selecting a number between 1 and 25.  The leader will give you your career choice and salary.  You may not choose a college career.
6.  If you choose college, borrow $100,000 from the bank for your tuition.
7.  Collect pay every time you pass a PAYDAY space.
8.  Spaces labeled LIFE are for community service, family activities, and good deeds.  A tally mark is given for each of these.
9.  Stop at all STOP signs regardless of the roll of the dice.
10.  If you land on a "Lose your job" space, choose another number between 1 and 25.  A leader will give you another career and salary. 
11.  As you move through the board, follow the directions.
12.  You will be given a spouse when you land on the "GET MARRIED" space.
13  Whenever you land on BABY or TWINS, you will be given a clothespin representing your "Family."
14.  Choose a starter home.  If you are short on cash, you must borrow from the bank.
15.  All loans to the bank must be paid back through the ATM.
16.  If you decide to buy a new house, sell your house back to the bank and buy a new one.  If you are short on cash, you must borrow from the bank.  You must sell the first house to buy a new one.
17.  When you reach RETIREMENT, you must STOP, even if you have moves left.   Pay off all loans.  Sell you house for the amount listed.  Collect $10,000 for each of your children as a retirement gift, and wait until all players have retired. 
18.  Add up all income and receive $10,000 for each LIFE experience.  The player with the most $ at the end of the game is the winner.  

The Game-
The "Board" papers were snaked across the cultural hall floor and taped down with painters' tape.  I paired up the youth into couples.  They were told they were "engaged" so each girl got a ring pop.  We had one or two that did not have a partner.  Each couple had a small tablet (purchased in a bulk package at a party store) that was their bank reconciliation sheet and a pencil.  Each pair started with $10,000 and one career was given per couple.  They kept track of all their paydays, raises, debits, and credits.  Two leaders kept track of their debt only and one of the pair had the job of "running to the bank" to pay off their debts.  When then went into debt, they were given red beads to wear and when the debt was paid, they returned them.  One leader kept track of their LIFE experiences on a tally sheet making a mark for each space they landed on.  One leader rolled the dice for the CAREER players and one leader rolled the dice for the COLLEGE players.  The Real Estate Agent kept track of the house cards and when a couple landed on "Buy a House," they picked one card from a stack of Starter Homes.  We made the Upgraded Homes and optional choice.  They had to STOP and pay tithing and STOP to be married at which time they were given the floral necklaces.  When the couple landed on "BABY" they were given a clothes pin to hang on their necklaces.  A "Sealer" gave the girls the flowers and the clothes pins. The winner received a small bag of candy coins a couple of Million Dollar candy bars I found at the Dollar Store. 

I went through the Game of Life game board and used most of the experiences such as babies, twins, buying homes, buying TVs, etc.  Because we played in a Church setting, in place of lawsuits and the like, I added LDS experiences such as "Called as Bishop or RS President" or "Missionary Reunion."  All the kids entered the game at the spot called MISSION as if they had just returned from their mission and all the kids got married in the Temple (hence the use of Sealers).  Extra careers and houses were added to accommodate the larger number of players. 

I had somehow assumed that we would play as we did the board game, one player taking turns at a time but I found out that in the beginning there was just a mass of kids lined up to play and it was just easier to keep going all at once.  The difficulty was making sure that each kid moved up.  They patiently awaited their turn at the dice and I had a couple of wonderful brethren who really stepped up and moved from place to place accommodating each couple.  They also had a great attitude and made it much more fun for the kids.  We were pleasantly surprised at how quickly the youth paid off their college and house debts. The girls told me they had "tons of fun" so I have saved all these items for another time in the future.  All-in-all, it was a success.  If you are planning on this type of an activity, I hope this will be of help to you and successful for you as well. 

Download the game board here.  


  1. Would you be willing to share your game board that you made? This is a wonderful idea.

  2. Hey my name is Cayla Baker and I am planning on doing the Game of Life for a YSA conference in August. I remember doing it as an activity in youth several years ago and I decided to make it the main focus for our conference which is themed "Finding Joy in the Journey". I am so glad I found this pin on pintrest because it was already "mormonized'. Anyways I wanted to know if you would be interested in helping me plan my activity? I mostly just have questions about the game and how to make it bigger also any ideas or suggestions on what you learned from making the game for your youth. Please let me know if you would be able to help. my email is Thank you.