Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

This game can actually be played indoors or outdoors – I learned it at camp!

Four people are selected to be the title characters and they sit apart from the rest of the group. Everyone else gets a number starting at 1 and going as high as you need to go so that every participant gets a number.

It is a clapping and cadence game. Matthew starts and sets the pace by clapping hands twice and clapping his/her legs twice (with hands) and gets a cadence going. Mathew starts by saying his name (“Matthew”) twice (must be on the upbeat – i.e. when hands are clapped) and calls out someone else’s name or number on the downbeat (i.e. when legs are clapped). Whoever’s name or number is called must respond immediately on the next upbeat by calling their own name or number on the upbeat and somebody else’s on the down beat.

If someone makes an error by missing the beat or calling out incorrectly or incoherently, they lose whatever position they are in and go to the end of the line. Everyone else behind that person in line moves up to the next number or name in line. (Sometimes it is hard to remember who you are because it is always changing!). The object of the game is to become Matthew, so the students should be trying to get somebody ahead of them to “mess up” so that they can move up in line.

Matthew can be called out if he / she calls out “Matthew” on the downbeat (instead of the upbeat) when the game starts!

Once everyone is comfortable with this, there are variations that can be added. Obviously, the cadence can be adjusted by Matthew at the start of any particular round (although it should remain constant in any given round). Start slow and work up the speed as people learn the game. Also, when everyone learns the game, the person calling their own name or number can continually repeat their own name or number as many cycles as they want, as long as they call out someone else’s name or number on the downbeat. This can throw people off, but it is dangerous as you must remember to call out the other name or number on the downbeat or you go to the end of the line.

I am not sure if I have explained this very well so I will attempt to give an example. A round could go like this:

Matthew: Matthew, Matthew, Mark, Mark
Mark: Mark, Mark, 2, 2
2: 2,2, Luke, Luke
Luke: Luke, Luke, Matthew Matthew
Matthew: Matthew, Matthew, Matthew, Matthew, Matthew, Matthew, 6, 6
6: 6, Luke, Luke

6 would be out because they only said their number once. Of course this has to happen with the clapping and keeping up the cadence.