Four on the Couch

A team-building, relaxed, icebreaker, memory game

Also known as: Four on a Couch, The Couch Game, The Boy Girl Game, Hot Seats, Kings & Queens, Four on the Pew, The Name Game, Four on a Couch-Bench

How To Play Four on the Couch

Materials Needed

One chair for each person + one extra, one couch (optional)

To have only your gender sitting on the couch.

If you don't have a couch large enough to fit four people, just designate four chairs as the "couch". Circle the rest of the chairs, with the couch include in the perimeter of the circle.

Divide the group into two teams, guys versus girls (if you have a larger number of one gender, someone will have to play for the other gender's team). Have them sit boy-girl-boy-girl in the chairs and on the couch, but leave the chair by to the left of the couch empty.

Have everyone write their name on a slip of paper, fold it up, and put it in a cup. Shake the cup and have everyone draw a name from the cup without letting anyone else see what it is. The name they have drawn from the cup is their name for the game.

The person the to left of the empty chair calls out the name of someone sitting in the circle. The person who drew that name (NOT the person actually named that) gets up and sits in the empty chair. Now there is a new empty chair and the person to the left of the new empty chair calls out a different name. Play continues until only one gender (team) is sitting on the couch.

As the game goes on, more and more names will be called, and the players should start to remember who is who. It's helpful to remember players on their team and on the opposing team. So when it's their turn to call a name out (because the empty chair is to their right) they will be able to call specific people away from their chairs, or onto the couch (if that's where the empty seat is).

After a name has been called it cannot be called again until after a different name is called (e.g. if the person sitting next to the empty chair calls out "Tom", the next person to call out a name can't say "Tom" but the person after them can).

To add a different twist to the game, you can make it so that when someone calls a name, they swap their name with the person they called. So if someone had the empty chair next to them and called out "Tom". The person who has the "Tom" name will move to the empty seat and then swap their name slip with the caller. So the caller will now have "Tom" and the person who did have "Tom" will have the caller's old name (which may not be known to the group yet).

Web App Helper
Instead of using paper, if all players have access to a phone or tablet with internet access then you can use this great helper website at This website allows everyone to enter their name and then shuffles them with the click of a button.


Added by
on 4 February 2009


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There is a really easy to use website to play this game that everyone can go to on their phones so you don't have to rip up a piece of paper! its at

Posted by Matt 3 years ago

Played this game with a very large group (35-45 students) which took a couple of hours lots of fun, but some of the student got very bored towards the end. We know the game as "President". Another alternative to boys vs. girls is shoes vs. socks. We also swap names when the name you are secretly holding gets called.

Posted by Jesse 6 years ago

Do you put four on the couch or two or three

Posted by Zoey 8 years ago

Suggestion: @ the top have at spot for "ideal size of group" - example:
for this game it seems 15-25 would be perfect - smaller would suggest have 3 seats in the middle - larger would suggest it starts to take too long (maybe never) for a person to get a chance

Posted by Tim 8 years ago

We used to play this with a German Christadelphian youth group and called it Parliament. I've been looking for ages for the rules - so thank you so much for these instructions. I'm going to try it with my primary classes tomorrow!

Posted by Abi 9 years ago

The goal is to get 4 of your team onto the same couch. There must be one less seat than people in the room (must have a couch; you can play three on a couch if necessary). Divide into at least two teams and have everyone put their name in hat. Everyone draws a name and that becomes his/her new name for the game. But everyone should keep their names a secret. Now the person to the left of the empty seat in the room calls out a name. The person, who drew that name, now moves to the empty seat, and switches names with the person who called out the name. Now the person to the left of the new empty seat calls a name. You repeat the process. So you have to try to get to the empty the couch and call the right names to get folks on the couch. This takes some thinking but is fun and competitive in a non-athletic way.

Posted by KIDD_116 10 years ago

Amazing Game! However, my church calls it "The Name Game"

Posted by TJ 11 years ago

@stephanie or anyone else that played this game did you have the kids swap names or just let them keep the name that they drew (the easier version) just wondering which one I should do?

Posted by Amy 11 years ago

This game is awesome... once you play it, it makes more sense... my kids caught on before I did... They loved it and still ask to play.

Posted by stephanie 12 years ago

I willmost definetly try this game i have a small group and please feel free to email me some icebreakers and activities i can use for my group thank u.

Posted by Delmarie 12 years ago

I played this game in primary school in a class of about 27.. it worked really well and would be one of the best games i've ever played. Once you get the hang of it, it can become a strategy game as well. Never fails to entertain..

Posted by =] 13 years ago


Posted by sabrina 13 years ago

this game is AWESOME, i know it sounds super complicated, but it is so much fun once you get into it

Posted by julia 13 years ago

we played this at my sunday school class party and it was so much fun!

Posted by alex 13 years ago

haha this game looks interesting! i was hesitant at using the game because i wasn't sure how it would turn out but from the comments that im reading, it seems fun! i'll give it a go! more websites need to have user comments inside so that we can decide whether the game is fun or not with other people's opinions

Posted by moonshire 13 years ago

This game was lots of fun but we played it with a group of about 40 people and it did not work. It took way too long and I ended up having to end the game. Good game but needs to be played in smaller groups.

Posted by Mick 13 years ago

thank u sooooooooooo much 4 this game!! 2day i lead worship in our youth group and i had this game in mind 4 us 2 play after the worship time.. and i couldn't remember the rules exactly!! thankss!! :D btw im from egypt and we're a christian band..!
God bless u!

Posted by anne alfred 14 years ago

I know this as 'Kings and Queens' and there are 4 'thrones', rather than a couch. Kids of all ages seem to love it. Although we start with an easier version, where you don't swap names when moving to the empty seat. We find we lose people with the harder version you have described, because they can't keep track of what people's 'names' are.

Posted by Harriet 14 years ago

love this game! also call it 4 on a pew, when using a pew. We have played this with our youth group over & over again, never gets old :)

Posted by thea 14 years ago
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