The 7-Day Gameplay Challenge

word game

It is a happy talent to know how to play.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

How often do you play?

Play is often defined as purposeless, an activity for enjoyment, recreation, or entertainment. When I looked up synonyms for play, I came across words like frolic, romp, and cavort.

Perhaps this is why some people find play unbecoming of an adult. Only there is so much research to show that play is an important part of becoming a functioning adult, as it is important for an adult to retain a healthy measure of inner child.

While there are many types of play, some structured, others unstructured, this experiment is focused upon a structured form of play that we know as a game.

Jane McGonigal, in Reality is Broken, offers a simple definition for a game. A game can be anything that includes these four elements: a goal, rules, a feedback system (Am I getting closer to the goal?), and voluntary participation (fun). This can include everything from video games to board games, card games. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of types of games.

Play is good for mind, body, and soul. With that in mind, this life experiment is a chance to experiment with adding a little more play to your life.

  1. This challenge is a simple one. You are going to play one game a day for 7 days in a row. It can be any type of game that you want, but to keep things interesting, we’ve given you 9 different types for this challenge. Choose 7 of them: a card game, a strategy game, a board game, a multi-player video game, a guessing game, a word game, a conversation game, and a game that you make up (see the 4 simple rules above).
  2. First, review your calendar and choose 7 consecutive days for this challenge.
  3. Next, using the links and explanations of the different types of games provided here (or you can draw from your own resources), pick a game for each category that you have never played, or that you have not played for at least 10 years.
  4. Now that you’ve selected your games, you can either assign a game to each day on your calendar, or you can more spontaneously play and mark off a game for each of your 7 days.
  5. As with all good life experiments, make time to reflect and journal about your thoughts and experiences throughout the week, giving some extra time at the end.


  • Have fun!
  • Consider blocking off a certain time each day. Or, maybe you want to enjoy seeking out and creating time more spontaneously. Either way, you don’t got to bed at night without playing one of the games that you selected.
  • Games don’t need to be long. If you are tight for time, limit yourself to 15 or 30 minutes a day for the game. Just choose games where that will work.
  • If you don’t pay video games, consider asking a friend or family member to be your tour guide. The same can go for any of these categories.
  • Involve others in the fun. You might ask one or more others to join you in the challenge, either playing the games together, or just doing this at the same time and sharing your stories and experiences.
  • For the day where you make up the game, it doesn’t need to be elaborate. Keep it simple. Keep it fun.

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