RPM Challenges

A textra game requires the participants to read and process ideas from a document. In this textra game, the participants review an article and take turns to announce a unique sentence based on its content.


To understand, recall, and apply information presented in a handout.


10 to 20 minutes


Five or more


Ask participants to study a handout. This can be done before or during your training session.

Divide participants into groups of four to eight. Try to assemble them into as many groups of five as possible. Then assign any extra participants to different groups.

Select the first speaker. In each group, assign this role to the shortest person (or the person with the longest name, or the person who looks the most like you, or some other convenient criterion).

Brief the players. Ask everyone to put aside their handout and any notes. Beginning with the first speaker, everyone should take a turn to say a unique sentence based on the content from the handout. This sentence should be directly from the handout (referred to as The Source) or it can be derived from the information in the handout. A player’s sentence should not duplicate any previous sentence. The sentence need not relate to the preceding sentence. You can say a sentence that is “out of sequence” to the previous sentences.

Explain the challenge rule. Immediately after a player says a sentence, any other player may challenge it by calling out, “Repeat”, “Pause”, or “Made up”.

  • Repeat accuses that the sentence is substantially the same as a previous sentence.

  • Pause accuses the speaker of hesitating for more than 5 seconds before starting a sentence or pausing for more than 5 seconds in the middle of an empty sentence.

  • Made up accuses the speaker of saying a sentence that is not directly based on the assigned reading. It does not matter whether the sentence is factually correct or not. As long as it is not based directly on The Source, it is made up.

Explain the jury procedure. Whenever a player challenges the speaker, the other players become a panel of jurors and decide whether the challenge is valid or not. In case of a made-up challenge, jurors can refer to their handouts. The decision of a majority of the jury is final and binding.

Explain the scoring system. If the jury decides that the challenge is invalid, the challenger gets a point (which counts against him or her). If the challenge is valid, the speaker gets a point.

Explain how the game ends. Whenever a player accumulates 10 points, the game comes to an end. At this time, the player with the least number of points becomes the winner. If there is more time available, the groups immediately begins another round of the game.

Start the game. Announce a suitable time limit. Keep track of the time and stop the game after this time has expired.

Play Sample

During a recent workshop, I used the description of the RPM Challenges game (the content that you read) as the assigned reading. Here’s how the game went:

Alice: “The desired group size is five.” No challenge.

Beth: “You can ask participants to divide themselves into groups of four to eight.”

Chuck: “Challenge. It’s made up.” The jury agreed with Chuck after checking with the handout and finding no mention of exactly how the groups are formed.

Chuck: “Try to have as many groups of five as possible.”

Alice: “Challenge. Repeat.” The jury agrees with Alice.

Dale: “The game ends when one player reaches the score of 10 points.” No challenge.

Esther: “The game really ends when the facilitator announces that time’s up.” No challenge.

Alice: “The most important thing in playing the game is, you know, um…”

Dale: “Challenge. It’s a pause.” The jury agrees.

Try this game with any handout you use. You will probably find that the participants not only enjoy reviewing your training material, but retain more of it also.