Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Top of the Mountain / Gunung Agung

This game is really similar to Ashurbanipal / Pak Totomoto / Babo, however it has one HUGE advantage - no one gets out, so everyone is involved for the whole game.
My Year 9s taught me this game (when I played Pak Totomoto for the first time ever with this class this week, a few of them told me that it was a bit like Gunung Agung - they'd played it when they were in primary school language classes)

For those who don't speak Indonesian, Gunung Agung is a mountain in Indonesia. I'd replace it with Mount Blanc perhaps for French, and maybe Kosciuszko for English (pronounced Koz -ee-osk-oh - it;s a mountain in Australia) - you want something of a couple of syllables and preferably a little tricky to pronounce! 

Basically, everyone sits in a circle and is given a number. I found it really helpful to have the numbers written (in figures) on a piece of paper in front of each student. One student is "Gunung Agung" (or relevant mountain name) and has that title instead of a number - this is the highest position. The aim of the game is to move as high up the mountain as possible.

Gunung Agung starts by saying "Gunung Agung" then saying a number. (eg "gunung Agung - 12")
The student with that number says their number, then another. ("12 - 23")
and so on, and so on ("23 - 4" "4 - 18")

Until someone gets out.

You get out if - 
  • you call the person who just called you
  • you call a number that is out, or isn't in the game
  • you call a number that is one higher or one lower than your own.
  • you answer out of turn (eg if you are in chair 12 but you answer when 20 was called)
  • you take tooooo long to respond - the snappier the game is, the more fun it is.
When someone is out, they stand up and move to the bottom of the mountain (seat 1). Everyone who had a lower number than that person moves up one chair to fill the gap.

Obviously, as the aim is to be at the top of the mountain (in the Gunung Agung chair at the end of the game), it makes sense to target the higher (and often harder to remember) numbers rather than the low numbers.

I'd suggest a clear time limit and possibly showing a timer so the students know when the end is near - the people near the top of the mountain get rather frenetic at the end! 15 minutes would be a good length for this game, but you could run it for anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes.

My Year 9s also suggested that instead of numbers, you could use picture flashcards for the chair places as a way of drilling other vocabulary, depending on the topic.  Numbers also would not need to start with one, or possibly could be not consecutive (but still lowest to highest).

Love this variation & think it will become a regular part of my classes!
ps - the mountain pictured is Gunung Bromo not Gunung Agung - I just love the photo!


  1. We used to play this during free periods at school when we were teenagers in the UK but no mountains were involved. We used the name of a chain of shoe shops - I have no idea why - and so the game was known as "Freeman, Hardy and Willis" with the first three positions being given that name.

    I've just found your blog and am enjoying reading it. I'm looking for ideas for my class of adults who are learning English in France. It is a conversation class and games really help to get things started.

  2. Thanks for the feedback! I'm sure your adult learners appreciate the games :) All the best!