I learned this variation of Human Knot (rope version) years ago from my good friend, Mike Spiller (HERE's a video of the original set up for Human Knot - no rope - if you don't know about this one). Historical Reference: The earliest documentation of "Knots" that I know of is in, The New Games Book, 1976.
The full write up of Coiled Rope is included in my book, Portable Teambuilding Activities: Games, Initiatives and Team Challenges for Any Space. (Find it HERE). It's actually part of a 'Trilogy' activity with 5-Point Star and Shooting Star.
From the video you will get the idea of how to play. But I do want to share a little bit about the set up before you watch. I use a 50-foot activity rope for each group of 8 to 10 players. (If you don't have a retired rope around, my favorite inexpensive 50-foot rope is the 3/8 Utility rope from AtWoodRope - it has a great feel, lots of cool colors and it keeps its shape even after it gets wet. The site is a little confusing - the rope I get is shown at the top of their home page. Look for the group that has the names, Blue Force, Liberty & Black Lightning. These are the ones I get).
Note: The video included below will show you the start of the activity and progress through to some of the untangling. We did this one after the, Knot My Problem video shoot (below) and had to cut this one short due to lightning in the area. You'll get the idea though!
Knot My Problem
This variation of the Human Knot is found in the book, Tinker: Building Purposeful Experiences from Classic Adventure Activities (2017) from my friends at High 5 (find your copy HERE). I read the entire book recently and really - quick read - and enjoyed getting reacquainted with some of my old favorites (and learning a few new ones I didn't know about) - I got a lot from the commentary about the activities from the High 5 authors.
Chris Cavert, Ed.D.