I've finally found a game that can make a storyteller out of anyone: Levenger's Scheherazade Storytelling Game. Created for 2 or more players, the game comes packaged in a little Aladdin-styled shoe pouch and contains a one-minute egg timer, 125 picture tiles and the game rules sheet (which I scanned and posted here if you want to have a closer look.)
The object of Scheherazade is to see which player can use the tiles they draw to tell the longest story in one minute. Each player pulls ten tiles out of the pouch and places them face up, and then takes a turn telling a story inspired by the pictures on the tiles. Each tile used in the story is worth 10 points, and at the end of every round the players vote on who told the most interesting story, and the winner gets an additional 50 point bonus. If a player uses all ten tiles in a minute, they can draw more one at a time from the pouch until their turn is up. Any tiles that are not used during a player's turn are returned to the pouch, and all the tiles are returned to the pouch at the end of each round. There are also 5 special tiles featuring an image of Aladdin's lamp which the player can use like a wild card to represent whatever image they want.
Since there's no actual writing involved I think anyone can play this game, even kids (parents, please note that while the pictures on the tiles are G-rated, they are made of foam and would definitely be a choking hazard for children under the age of 3.) The pouch and its contents are very lightweight; I rolled up mine and stuck it in my purse, so I think it would travel well.
This game is a marvelous way to practice improvisational storytelling and give your imagination a real work-out. The fact that you draw the tiles at random and have only a minute to tell your story is a nice challenge without being too time-intensive. If I still belonged to a writer group I would definitely take something like this to the next meeting. I think it would also be a fun, interactive group activity for both writers and readers at conferences. To suit your particular group you might tweak the rules so that every story has to be told in a certain genre, or you could easily create some custom-designed tiles of your own to add to the pouch and present different challenges (what POV to tell the story in, setting, color themes, specific words; the sky's really the limit.) You could also hold a terrific live storytelling contest with this game.
Levenger currently has the Scheherazade Storytelling Game priced at $14.95 here, and I give it a great big PBW gold star for being fun, unique and quite affordable.