Worst Community Ever game

I used to run “the worst team ever” games with recently formed teams. It helped the team capture all the things they didn’t want to become. And also eventually helped them shape their team vision and goals.

A lot of people would share horror stories of previous teams they’d worked in. It was pretty cathartic for some.

Wonder what it would be like running a “Worst Community Ever Game” with the community members I advocate for. I think it would be fun! Cos we could then turn it around and put in checks to ensure we do the opposite – and also celebrate that we are already the opposite of the worst community ever. It’s an established community so it could be valuable for new members and folks who have been around for a while to sense-check the current “state/health” of the community.

How about you? Have you played this game with your community? What other games have you played to help define what your community stands for and/or to health sense-check?


I love the idea, especially as I often think about communities as the things we do and don’t do.

So it sounds feasible to state the things that are the worst (things we don’t do) and think of what would be the ideal solutions.

What has been the format of the ‘game’ when you’ve done it in the past?

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This was back in the days when everyone was working in person. It looked like this:

  1. Set the scene with the game and give some examples of the worst team
  2. Ask people to think of real experiences of bad team experiences and some that are just imagined
  3. As individuals, spend up to 10 minutes writing one worst thing per sticky note
  4. Go around the room inviting people to walk up to a whiteboard to stick their worst team sticky on the board. Ask them to describe it a bit more.
  5. Affinity group similar items and summarise each grouping
  6. In pairs, spend 10 or so minutes discussing each group and coming up with ways to avoid/counter the worst things happening
  7. Go around the room again and capture those items up on the whiteboard
  8. Spot affinity groups and capture

Sometimes prior to the activity, I’d ask folks to capture individual values – the stuff that people find important to them to work successfully. And in some cases, ask each person to share and then play the Worst Team Game. It helped people reflect on stuff that was important to them first before starting to think in terms of team.