2. Display the charts (10k pdf file)
at either end of the room.
3. Brief your games organisers and banker
The game leader - acts as the United Nations that is ~ impartial,
intervening in disputes, and so on. You will keep notes of transactions,
interesting comments and corruption. You are also responsible
for introducing new elements (see later).
The Banker - keeps a record of the wealth made by groups.
Divide the sheet of paper into six columns and when groups bring
shapes to you, you credit their column with the appropriate amount.
N.B. Do not accept substandard shapes.
4. Leading the game
Divide the group into 6 even-sized groups and ask them to
stand beside one of the tables.
- Put the bags of resource materials on the tables.
Now read out the objectives and rules of the game:
The objective of each group is to make as much wealth for
itself as possible by using the materials given to it. No other
materials can be used. The wealth is made by manufacturing paper
shapes. The goods you are going to manufacture are the shapes
shown on the Diagram of Shapes. Each shape has its own value
as shown on the diagram and these paper shapes are given to the
banker in batches for checking and crediting to your bank account.
You can manufacture as many shapes as you like - the more you
make the wealthier you will be. There are
just four simple rules:
- All the shapes need to be cut with clean sharp edges using
scissors and must be of the exact size shown - the shapes are
taken to the banker for your account.
- You can only use the materials that have been given out.
- There is to be no physical force used during the game.
- The game leader represents the United Nations and will intervene
in any disagreements.
Announce that 'manufacturing can begin'.
At the beginning of the game there will be a lot of confusion
and the group will bombard the game leader with loads of questions
e.g. 'where can I get scissors?'
'what's the sticky paper for?' and so on.
Resist all temptation to answer these questions - just repeat
the rules or stay silent.
After a minute or two they should begin moving around the
room and begin trading, but the initiative should come from them,
6. Let manufacturing and trading continue for up to 45 minutes.
Notes for game leader ,Watch what is happening. Grade A groups
will begin making shapes as soon as they have all the materials
and equipment, but they will soon run out of raw materials and
probably try to buy some paper from the other groups,
Watch how groups negotiate prices and determine 'terms of
trade'. Note any alliances and deals, any cheating or stealing,
and bring these into the discussion at the end
Once trading is under way the game leader can introduce new
Change market values
When the banker has a lot of any one shape, shout out that
the market value has dropped on that shape and risen for another.
(Make sure that the banker has registered the changes, that is
rectangles now £ 50, circles £ 700.)
The parallels for this are the way countries' economies can
be geared predominately to the export of one product. When the
market value dropped, for example for coffee, the economy of
Uganda suffered badly in 1989.
Alternatively a change in market value may mean that, for
example the rich groups find that their compasses are no longer
as useful as they were. Countries do find that their technology
has been outdated by changed circumstances.
Increase the supply of raw materials or technology
Give one group an extra supply and announce to the world that
a new deposit of raw material has been found. This parallels
the find of oil or an important mineral, which brings about rapid
Using sticky paper
Two groups will have a piece of coloured sticky paper, but
will not know what it is for. You can send a discreet secret
message to two other groups telling them that if they stick small
squares of sticky paper on any of their shapes they will treble
their value. (N.B. Tell the banker.) This parallels a resource
which a country does not realise the full value of. Other nations
buy the deposit cheaply and later make huge profits.
At the end of the manufacturing time, get the banker to add
up the totals and announce them.
Bring everyone together for a debriefing discussion.
Leading the Debriefing
If the game goes according to plan, it will become clear that
the whole set up of the game is unbalanced from the start. Some
groups will feel this unfairness keenly.
You could start the discussion by asking if anyone feels that
something wasn't fair.
Listen to the grievances, and if some are directed towards
other groups, ask these groups to respond and explain their actions.
The game attempts to reflect structures in the real world.
How real is the situation?
Can the group think of any real situations where people with
raw materials are exploited by those who have all the technology.
Try exploring the feelings felt by the poorer countries in
the game. The feelings of frustration and even potential violence,
illustrate the sentiments of many of the Third World countries
in the face of Western countries controlling interests.
What is unrealistic about the game?
Using the sticky paper may have provoked reaction. Explore
this with the group and ask them to think of parallels. For example,
Britain buying up the copper rights in Zambia and the early oil
companies in the Gulf.
Why didn't the richer countries share their resources more
What would have happened if the groups had co-operated? If
any alliances did form during the game, get the countries involved
to talk about how the alliance worked. Parallel their experience
with that of real groups like the O.A.U.(Organisation of African
Unity) or the European Community. Many participants may say that
they would have acted differently if it hadn't been a game. Try
and unpack the phrase 'it's just a game'.
How real is the situation?
What is unrealistic about it?
Why do we apparently have different sets of values
for 'life' and for 'games'?
Why do we leave our Scout values of co-operation, sharing and
friendship behind just because it's a game.
Idea taken from Christian Aid