Play the "I've Never" Game

The “I’ve Never” game – also referred to as “Never Have I Ever” – can be played with or without the board game version. This is a simple game that can provide entertainment for large groups. It can be an interesting icebreaker! Choose a family-friendly or adult version, depending on the age range of the participants.


Gathering a Group

  1. Recruit players. Gather a group of at least two people. For the board game version, find two to eight players. Ten to fifteen people is ideal for group playing without the board game. Make sure participants are comfortable with playing first. You may reveal some secrets about yourself in this game.[1]
  2. Agree upon what questions to avoid, if any. Consider avoiding questions that might make people feel uncomfortable or regret playing. For example, topics involving sex, personal attacks, or sensitive subjects.
  3. Make a circle. Set up chairs, if desired. Leave enough room for some shuffling around inside the circle. Making a circle is not necessary, but it can help keep the focus on the game. Use enough chairs for the total of participants minus one, if you want to have the speaker stand in the center.
    • If you’re playing the board game, you may want to put pillows or cushions on the floor so that you can play the game either on the floor or at a coffee table.
  4. Set up the board game, if applicable. Assign a pawn to each player. Open the game board on a flat surface. Shuffle the deck of cards and place them on the appropriate square for them on the game board.
    • Have the die ready for rolling.

Playing the Game

  1. Think about your strategy. Your main object should be to have fun, laugh, and learn new things about your fellow players. However, if you’re competitive and trying to win, pick your questions wisely. Come up with statements that you think will penalize a lot of players but keep you safe.[1]
    • Try to think of things you haven’t done that other people most likely have. For example, “I have never climbed a tree.”
  2. Determine the order of game play. Have everyone roll the die; whoever gets the highest number should go first. Play the game by taking turns, going clockwise around the circle of participants.
    • If multiple people roll the same highest number, have those people re-roll to determine who will go first.
    • If you aren’t using die, choose someone to go first at random.
  3. Make a statement. Pick a card, if applicable. Otherwise, the person making the statement can choose whatever statement they like. Say a true statement out loud. You may choose to have the speaker stand in the middle of the circle, or everyone can remain seated.
    • For a kids’ game, try saying, “Never have I ever ran a lemonade stand.”
    • For an adults game, try saying, “I’ve never been in handcuffs.”[2]
  4. Perform silly actions. Whoever has done what the player announced should take the action. For an adult game, the action is often drinking a shot of liquor. For a family game, the action may be spinning in a circle, dancing or singing. If you’re playing the board game, the action will depend on the card chosen. Advance your pawn on the board, if applicable.[3]
    • Try saying, “I’ve never rolled down a hill.” Everyone who has rolled down a hill should spin in a circle five times.[4]
    • For an added twist, if no one has done what the player announced, everyone can perform the action.
  5. Change seats. The speaker should take a seat. Everyone who has done what the speaker mentioned should switch to a new seat.[4]
    • Whoever is left without a seat is the new speaker. Or, if there is only one person who has done what the speaker mentioned, that person is the new speaker.
    • Optionally – if the new speaker has done what the previous speaker mentioned – the new person standing in the middle can tell the details about what happened before starting the next “I’ve Never.”

Trying Variations

  1. Have everyone hold up ten fingers. As you go around the circle, each person who has done the announced action should put one finger down. Whoever still has a finger raised at the end of the game wins. Alternately, you can restart the game when someone is eliminated, to keep everyone engaged.[1]
    • This is a faster version of the game and doesn’t require props.
    • Alternately, you can keep a tally, and/or use a buzzer.
  2. Change the words or penalties. Use different statements and/or actions to mix things up. Not every statement has to start with “I’ve never” or “Never have I ever.”[5]
    • For example, try saying, “Everyone who likes country music, start dancing!”
  3. Do workout moves. Combine the I’ve Never game with fitness! Make the penalty action a set of exercise repetition.[6]
    • For example, everyone who has done what the speaker announced should do ten burpees, five push-ups, or fifteen sit-ups.


  • Try to be honest.
  • Be creative with your "I've never" statements.
  • Don't think of anything elaborate (for example, 'I did not see the Loch Ness Monster'). Instead try more simple and common things. For example, “I’ve never been stranded on the side of the road.”[7]
  • This game can be entertaining for a bachelorette party.[8]


  • If you’re drinking during this game, please do so responsibly.

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Sources and Citations

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