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Saturday, 03 May 2003 12:12

Red and Black

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Here is a simulation game that I have used to teach about the tendency we have to compete in life - especially in a way that harms or cheats others. It could also be used to speak about sin. THE RED AND BLACK SIMULATION GAME Needed: About 20 slips of paper; 2 pencils; sweets Instructions: Divide the large groups into two smaller groups, and explain that an experiment is about to take place. Give the following instructions: Each group will have 9 chances to choose a color: either RED or BLACK. Choices are rewarded according to the following guidelines: * If both groups choose BLACK - both get 3 sweets * If both groups choose RED - both loose 3 sweets * If one group chooses RED and the other BLACK - the group that chose RED get 5 sweets; and the group that chose BLACK lose 5 Two Requirements (these must be stated clearly at the start): 1. To get as many sweets as possible 2. To not hurt anybody Directions: Send the groups to opposite sides of the room and have them decide on their first choice. To make a choice the group simply decides on a color and writes it on the piece of paper. Then then present it to the facilitator. Rewards the groups according to the instructions. After the 4th or 5th round, ask if the groups want to negotiate - if they do, have them choose a negotiator and give the two negotiators a minute to decide on their strategy for the future choices. Then announce that the next round of choices will be worth three times as much. Discussion: * What was your group's strategy? How did you decide what color to choose? * How did you treat the "minority" voice in your group? * Did your group fulfill the two requirements? How? * Did you trust the other group? * Why did/didn't you want to negotiate with the other group? * When did you decide to try and beat the other group? * To beat the other group did you have to emphasis one requirement over the other? Note: No mention was made of competition, beating or winning - this is our natural tendency! If both or one group became involved in competition even though no mention was made that the exercise was based on competition lines, suggest that this is our natural tendency to satisfy our ego through being superior to others, or for selfishness and greed. Ultimately this is the cause of poverty, war and oppression in the world. The Bible calls it sin! Use this simulation - it works really well and leads to great teaching. (SOME POSSIBLE ALTERATIONS ARE AS FOLLOWS--AS FOUND WITH ONE PERSON WHO PLAYED THE GAME) Some changes we made : 1. We didn't write on papers, instead just held up either a red or black card (as everyone screamed "ching, chong, chah!"). 2. I (as sim-master) left the room during negotiations. 3. Each group started with a collection of sweets in case both held up red cards at the start. What was interesting, was that after the first round of negotiations had broken down and resulted in mistrust, we had a second round of negotiations. Here, each party actually DESTROYED their red cards. I doubled and tripled the odds for the next round and each group quietly asked if I had any spare red cards . . . . It brought up a lively discussion about nuclear disarmament, causes of war, mistrust, greed and general human nature.

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