How to Play Number Clumps

Number Clumps is a great "icebreaker" activity at parties or other large gatherings of people. The rules are fairly simple as well, making it easily understood and played by people of all ages. All you need to play is a fairly large area, a lot of people, and some basic math skills.


  1. Image titled Play Number Clumps Step 1
    Pick someone to lead the game. At an organized event, this would most likely be someone in charge of the event, but if you're playing with a group of friends, just find someone who's willing to do it. It would be advisable for the leader to have a microphone or bullhorn, if the group is large enough.
  2. Image titled Play Number Clumps Step 2
    Find a few volunteers to count clumps instead of playing. This is the most time-consuming part of the game, so the more people you have counting, the more quickly the game will go.
  3. Image titled Play Number Clumps Step 3
    Explain the rules, which are as follows.
    • The leader will call out a number, for example, 6. The people playing the game must form "clumps" of 6. Once they have 6 people, they sit down together and wait to be counted.
    • If a clump is found to have more than 6 people, all the people are out unless they can manage to throw someone out and be re-counted before the end of the round. If there are fewer than 6 people, they must get more people or they will all be out. If people are still not in a clump and it is obvious that they can't make one (ex. there are only 5 people left), those people are all out.
    • Once all the clumps have been counted and only have the specified number of people and all other people have been cleared out of the playing area, the leader calls another number and play resumes.
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    Declare winners. There have to be at least two, because if the game gets down to three people, the next logical number to call would be 2, thus eliminating one person, but there's no way to eliminate anyone else after that. Due to time constraints or a desire to keep the level of "combat" down (as it gets pretty fierce when there are only a few people left), the game can be stopped at any time.


  • Watch out for cheating. It doesn't take most people long to figure out that after a full clump is counted, if they're still short a person or two, they can grab those people and drag them over to their clump so they'll be counted twice. Be on the lookout for this, and decide what the penalty will be. Usually, this would result in all members of both clumps being out, but you can be creative.
  • If you're in close quarters or don't have very many people, you might choose to require the clump members to hold hands, just to make it clear who's with who. However, use common sense. Unless you want huge circles, don't require hand-holding when you're playing with 300 people and calling numbers like 40.
  • The leader should be strategic in deciding what number to call. For instance, if the people are split into 7 clumps of 20, for maximum chaos, a good number to call next would be 60. This ensures the elimination of 20 people automatically, and a mad dash to combine clumps.
  • Avoid multiples. If there are 50 people on the floor, don't call 5 and then call 10.
  • To keep things interesting, try increasing your numbers for a while (ex. 10, then 12, then 15), and then suddenly call a tiny number, like 4.
  • To aid the counting volunteers in counting large clumps, try having everyone raise their hand and then put it down when they're counted. It saves a lot of time and aggravation when the number was 55.
  • The tone of the game changes somewhat depending on what age group you're playing with. For younger children, Number Clumps can be a great game to reinforce counting skills in a fun way, but with college kids, it will likely become more wrestling than counting after a while.


  • Number Clumps has a tendency to get somewhat violent, as the whole point is to either push people out of your clump or desperately try to pull more people in.
  • Due to the amount of combative physical activity involved, it would be advisable to avoid mixing people with large age differences. College students wrestling middle schoolers never ends well.

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Categories: Party Games