Event Lists Game Template



Included in Create set/collection.

The Lego blocks (or Minecraft) of music games! Improvise by choosing lists while playing. One by one players quit until no players are left. A game that has endless possibilities in gameplay!


You will need something to write 10 lists on (large paper, cardboard, whiteboard), a writing utensil and a tape - or something to hang paper with.


The player’s area should be well lit. Place all the players in a semicircle, or in a situation where everyone can clearly see each other and all the Event Lists.

First, brainstorm together to create 10 different lists that contain words which depict how to improvise a section of music. Make a short list of words that can guide an improvisation. Something like this:

Event List #1

  • Ambient
  • Acoustic only
  • E minor (different minor modes)
  • 10 minutes

Event — "Anything" in music terms — a unit of music at any given scale of consideration.

Let’s call these words Events. What’s an Event? Short answer: an Event is ANYTHING.

Be creative with the Events you choose. Think of musical terms or aspects. Atmospheres. Ideas unrelated to music. Inspiration. Game mechanics. Abstract notions. Anything of any length! Try to keep the list under 5 Events.

Now, include everyone involved, even the audience if there is one, and make 9 more Event Lists with different Events. Clearly number each list. Some lists might have only one word. Or even a whole song! Or a simple music game that everyone knows how to play (like Room Score). It’s also interesting to add Events that require subjective interpretation. For example, from words like ‘frozen static’ to using pictures (drawn or on inspire cards).

Write the Event Lists in big text so it’s easy to read. Hang them where they are easy to see.

Gameplay instructions

The first player to pick an Event List is chosen. Event Lists are chosen by reaching your arms up with the number of fingers corresponding to the Event List number desired to be played. For example, if you want to play Event List #4 then you will hold up 4 fingers.

The players must follow the rules given but are free to play anything else that is not stated in the list. In the example list presented above the style/genre (Ambient), instrumentation type (Acoustic only), key, and length are given, but that’s all. Any dynamic can be played since dynamics are not indicated.

Next, as the players are playing any player can choose to change to a different Event List at any time. Just hold up the number of fingers corresponding to the Event List number. If you can, try to keep your hand held up until you start to hear players changing the music to the desired Event List.

Every player should start playing the new Event List within 5 seconds after it's number was given. Make the transition smooth. Try to work together with the whole group.

Lists can be repeated. If two players put their fingers up at the same time, then it’s up to all the individual players which list they’d like to play. This is the rare occasion when two Event Lists have the chance to be played simultaneously!

Game end

At any time any player can decide to quit playing, by putting his instrument down and walking away from the playing area.
Warning: quitting is final and you are forbidden to join again until the next round.
The other players will continue playing for as long as they like. As the game progresses, one by one players will quit. The game is over when the final player quits (and this is an end condition not a victory condition).

Gamemaster's notes

Think about the Event Lists you make. Is there a theme? Whats the relationships between the Events in a single Event List? When building an Event List list treat it as you would composing a piece of music. Try to make each Event List unique in their own way. Keep the Event Lists simple enough so that players need to merely glance at it to understand what they have to play.

If there is no room to walk away from the playing area when you quit you can simply put your instrument down and give a look that ensures you’ve stopped. If you’re a singer not using a microphone, perhaps you could stand during the performance and sit down when you want to quit.


This is one of those games that begs to be changed up. The Event Lists are the Lego blocks and it's up to others to build something with them. See an article on using event lists for more inspiration.


Marcus Staniec (notrightmusic)

This needs more explanation
This needs simple language

Unless stated otherwise Content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. See licensing details