5 Popular Event Game Ideas to Increase Attendee Engagement & Learning

Many event planners get excited about the idea of incorporating gamification into their event, but when it comes time to making those event game ideas into a reality, it can be hard to know where to begin.

The Secret to Executing Your Event Game Ideas

To ensure your odds for success, make sure you have a solid understanding of what event goals you’re looking to achieve, and identify each goal’s success metrics.

If you don’t have a solid event strategy in place at the very beginning, it’ll be difficult to execute gamification efficiently and effectively. Integrating fun and games is great for designing an engaging event experience, but ultimately, tie them back to measuring success against your event goals.

Leveraging an Event App for Gamification

An in-person event with a live audience, with a popup of a mobile phone showing a poll. Another popup shows one of the gamification challenges of the event.

No doubt about it, you can create a game for your event without event technology. But if you’re looking for efficiency, effectiveness and ease, then there are a lot of reasons why gamification and event apps are a great way to make your event game ideas come to life.

Gamification delivered through an event app provides an equal amount of benefits to you as the event planner, as well as to the attendee event experience. Here are just a few examples:

  • It makes it easier to ensure game rules and challenges are available to all event participants
  • It saves you time and effort because it doesn’t require manual tallying of participant game points
  • It lets players view their progress in real-time on a leaderboard and maintain engagement throughout your entire event
  • It provides a medium for players to connect with each other through messaging
  • It makes it possible for remote participants to also get involved

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The Top 5 Most Common Event Goals

Event planners have many goals, but typically one or two takes priority above the rest. Identifying and prioritizing your goals is very useful because it can help guide you on which event game ideas are the best fit for you and your attendees. Here are the most common event goals:

1. Boost attendee engagement with event content

Ensuring your attendees get maximum value out of your speakers’ presentation material and walk away feeling like they learned something useful is a key priority depending on the type of event.

In some cases, communicating important information, such as product updates at a user conference or the company’s financial performance at an AGM, may be the primary motive for holding the event in the first place.

Many events hosted by associations or not-for-profits also have an integral educational component that is vital to the event’s primary purpose of educating its industry members.

Event Game Ideas: Test Your Knowledge

People love to be seen as subject matter experts, so you’re sure to ignite some competitive spirit by positioning your game as a test of their knowledge. Set up questions within the event app that directly relate to the content and theme of your event.

How to Make it Work

Create Questions Based on Key Takeaways:

What do you want your event audience to remember? If you’re hosting a sales kick-off, your questions might focus on a new product line you’re providing training on. If you’re running an annual general meeting, you could create a trivia game that helps to highlight the accomplishments and milestones of your organization over the past year.

Get Your Speakers Involved:

Gather inspiration for your game by asking your speakers to identify one or two of the key takeaways they hope to convey in their sessions. Speakers can either explicitly call out the trivia question during their presentation and provide the answer directly, or they can simply advise the audience to pay close attention so they don’t miss anything.

Incorporate Your Conference Materials:

Do you have any reading material, brochures or training content that you hope your attendees will review during the event? Let them know that the answers to certain trivia questions can only be found by reading over the educational material you’ve provided. Consider uploading those documents within your app as well to further improve accessibility

Measuring Success:

In your post-event survey, aim for an average of 4 out of 5 stars in response to the statement: “I feel like I’m walking away from this event with valuable information.”

Recommended Read: Make sure your attendees download your app (and use it!) Download The Ultimate Guide to Increasing Event App Adoption & Usage.

2. Create valuable networking opportunities

Expanding their professional contacts is another popular reason people attend events, with 76% of respondents from IAEE’s recent study stating that networking motivated them to attend. But for many, networking can be really awkward or intimidating. So, how do you make breaking the ice fun and easy?

A mobile phone showing the leaderboard of the gamification challenge, and a popup showing a completed gamification challenge.

Event Game Idea: Have You Met ____?

Attendees receive a unique passcode, located on the back of their badges for easy access. An accompanying message can spark curiosity, such as: “This is your secret code. Share it with any new connections you might make here today, and download the event app to play along!”

There are plenty of fun ways to tweak this concept in order to encourage attendees to network with the types of people you hope they will spend time with during the event.

How to Make it Work

Offer More Points for Meeting “VIPs”:

Within the game framework, different challenges can be allocated different point amounts. People will eagerly go after the challenges associated with big points, giving you the chance to designate “VIPs” within the game.

For example, encourage attendees at your association’s conference to reach out to new members by assigning newbies with codes worth more points. A slight variation of this would be to make a unique badge for new members and provide passcodes only to those attending your conference for the first time.

On the flip side, you can celebrate people who have been with you for a long time. For instance, at a leadership summit, you might assign more points to employees who have been with you for 5 years, 10 years, etc.

Let Attendees Personalize their Codes:

If you have a bit more time to invest, you can turn these passcodes into real conversation starters. Ask your attendees a question during the registration process, then incorporate their answers into your game.

Aim for questions that will elicit short responses, such as their hometown, first job, favorite charity, or a question directly relevant to your event’s topic. This way, attendees will really learn something about each other

Measure Success

In your post-event survey, ask attendees whether they strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree with the statement: “I made new connections at this event.”

A phone screen that shows an event’s home page, a laptop screen that displays an event’s session page and chat, and a product tour CTA.