Knee Coup

Type of Activity: Energizer

Props Needed: Marker Cones

Set Up: Many moons ago, when Indian tribes warred against one another, honor and bravery often counted for more than ultimate physical victory on the field of battle.  An Indian warrior, for example, could prove his bravery in combat by simply touching an opponent and voicing the words, Count Coup.  In the game Knee Coup, we have adapted some of these same philosophies.  The basic rules are as such:  Establish boundaries with Marker Cones.

Process: Emphasize that the only way to get other participants out of the game is to tag them on their knee caps.  Now the tricky thing about tagging on the knee caps is that it is a very small area.  Usually only the person who owns the knee cap will know whether or not they have been tagged.  Once someone has been tagged on the knee cap they are to take themselves to the outside of the boundaries.  I like to add in another rule, and that is if you catch yourself telling someone they are out you must also remove yourself to the outside of the boundaries.  That way, the person who owns the knee cap will be the sole judge on whether or not their exact knee cap was tagged.  Play it a couple times this way, then add a few more rules.  Now tell the participants that they do not have to remove themselves from the game until their knee caps have been tagged twice.  Also add, if you catch yourself  judging someone else you must remove yourself from the circle. Players can not cover or hide their knee caps during game play.

This is a great game to talk about personal integrity and judging/blaming.  Interesting discussion topics can be around what personal integrity looks like in Knee Coup.  Is it better to stay in the game the longest and look like you have lied about the amount of times your knee cap has been tagged?  Or is it better to remove yourself from the game to avoid judgmental thoughts from other participants?  Lying and blaming are other good topics of discussion.

Debriefing Topics:

  • What was difficult about this activity?
  • Did everyone follow the rules?
  • Was is difficult not to judge others?  Why or why not?

For original write up purchase "Silver Bullets.”  

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