Square Dare

Square Dare

Set a creative mood with a deceptively simple mind puzzle that can be demonstrated anywhere. All you need is a pocket of matches, a flat surface and a willing participant.

Guide lines
Ready, Steady, Go!

Thinking inside the box or being stuck in a grid can be frustrating. Overcome this by arranging twelve matches into a square grid with four squares inside the main square.

You:

Can I show you something? It won’t take a minute and it'll help tune your brain to some lateral thinking.

Lend me your ears

Tell your participant that you like to think outside the box… of matches. And they should too.

You:

So I've arranged these twelve matches into a block. How many squares do you see?

Seal the Deal and Reveal

They'll do a quick count and should easily provide you with the correct answer: five squares. Now you have their attention.

You:

Now here's the question… can you make six squares by moving only two matches?

Don't give them any clues, only a knowing smile or poker face. Give them as long as it takes.

You:

It's right in front of you. Can you see it?

Reveal with ease, by moving two matches into the bottom right square to make even smaller squares.

You:

Just like that … now there are one, two, three, four, five, six squares. Just trying to get you to think outside the matchbox.

Some extra lines you can try

  • Don't be a square, make a square.
  • I've always been looking for a match made in heaven, but I had to get these from the local store.
  • There's only one more space left, make your move.
  • Matches can make a hot puzzle, who knew?
  • Is there space for one more? There is.
Alternative ending

After revealing the answer.

You:

Let's square away these squares…

Toss the matches in the bin.

 
Responses
Anticipated responses and retorts

You think you are smart?

You are no match for me.

What else can you do with those matches?

I can try sell them to Match.com.

You ever win any free drinks with that puzzle?

If you buy me one, that will be number 100.
Good follow ups
When & where
When to use it
  • This is a great for a brainstorming session or a team building event - gets people's creative juices flowing.
  • This makes for a fun bar bet.
  • You can do this at a dinner table - it is a good conversation starter.
Where to use it
  • team building events
  • brainstorming sessions
  • socializing at a bar
Getting ready
Items required
  • a box of matches
  • a flat surface (table)
Preparation
  • Arrange the 12 matches on the table and you are all set.
Training required
  • This works out of the box (the matchbox).
Watch out (potential unexpected effects)
  • Don't start any fires - matches can do that sometimes.
Details

type type

Do It Yourself (DIY)

material material

wood (matches)

size size

a box of matches can fit in your pocket

durability durability

as long as the matches don't get set alight they should be fine for a while

source source

a camp fire get together

time to impact time to impact

pretty much there and then

size of audience size of audience

this works well in a group

possible health risk possible health risk

don't start any fires

reusable how many times you can use it

once

training needed training needed

minimal (if you can handle matches you are good to go)

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