Upset the Stagecoach

This is a great game I learned when I first started working in Urban 4-H with Rick Hofmaster. It is hilarious and has a sneaky way of helping people become comfortable speaking in front of a group, even if all they say is “The stagecoach upset!” You can adapt it to holidays or themes like “Santa Claus is Upset,” “The Rocket Crashed,” “The Fruit Basket is Upset.” You get the idea.

  • Players sit in chairs placed randomly around the room. Make sure each person can stand up and run around her chair at the same time everyone else is running around their chairs.
  • Have your group generate a list of stagecoach parts, equipment, and passengers. For Example–Driver, Suitcase, Shotgun, Brake, Horses, Bank roll, Wheels, Whip, Robbers, Bumps in the road, Wheels, Harness, Seat, Luggage
  • Have each player choose an item from the list. The same name may be given to more than one player if the circle is very large.
  • Start out as the storyteller and make up a story about the passengers, parts and equipment.  As the storyteller mentions a part or passenger, the player who represents that part stands quickly, runs around her chair once, and sits down. Make sure to use all the items on the list so people really have to listen and run around their chairs a lot.
  • Each time the storyteller says “The stagecoach upset,” all the players have to change seats and the storyteller tries to get one of the places. The storyteller can actually try to steal a chair any time one is open. This makes the running around the chairs more suspenseful. The player left without a chair continues the story.

Reader interactions

3 Replies to “Upset the Stagecoach”

  1. this sounds like fruit basket upset at my church

  2. Yes, it’s kind of like Fruit Basket Upset. The way I’ve played Fruit Basket Upset is a little different–
    The group forms a circle and each person chooses a different kind of fruit to be. There is one person in the middle and that person calls out 2 or 3 fruits; they have to switch places, during which time the person in the center can steal one of their spots. If the person in the center calls out Fruit Basket Upset, everyone has to switch places and the center person can claim a spot and the person without a spot is in the center. I’ve used all kinds of place holders–chairs, masking tape X’s, carpet squares, felt pads or poly spots work well. If you don’t have anything else, have everyone leave one shoe at their spot.
    You can also play a game called Numbers Change that’s a lot like Fruit Basket Upset. Each person has a number and the person calls out 2, 3 or 4 numbers and they all have to change spots.

  3. played it

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