I usually start with two A3 sized papers on the board as a demonstration. Call on one student to play against the teacher. The ALT reads the sentence and the teacher and student search for the verb they heard in that sentence and circle it on their sheet. Once they circle it they should slam down their pencil or pen to show they are done. Whoever circled it first checks a point at the bottom of the sheet.
Once they understand put the students in pairs and begin the activity. I usually do about 10 or 12 sentences and then check to see who the champions are. I generally use this as a quick way to review or introduce some vocabulary. Sometimes it is necessary to go over the words once before starting the activity.
Because of the big level difference between students I don't recommend spending much time on this activity. I'd say about 10-12 minutes total including demonstration should be enough.
The advantage over karuta is that no cutting out cards is required plus the students get to keep the worksheet as a reference for upcoming activities. The downside is it's not as much fun.
The SIMPLE PAST version here I use as an introduction before playing the SIMPLE PAST Big Top Circus Game.