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Monday, August 23, 2010

The Counters

Objective of "The Counters" game (in the form of role play) is to simulate the conditions of an organization or simulate the conditions of the market place and help participants of the workshop or the seminar realize as to what happens in the organization or in the market place in terms of intra-group communication, inter-group communication, leader-follower relationship and its impact on mutual trust building, information sharing and its impact on results, why information sharing is so critical, the types of approaches one takes with reference to others to transact business and their impact on it, types of negotiations and necessity for win-win approach to maximize the gains of everyone concerned. In addition to emphasize the need for information sharing and effective negotiations, this role play also allows participants to use their selling skills in the best possible ways.

It is a highly participative game and also acts as a good energizer.

You are the program leader or workshop facilitator and you will administer "The Counters" game. Divide the participants into three equal teams. Selection of participants in each team will be done randomly. Please refer the method of random selection given in an earlier exercise "Pass the Message" at Each team will be asked by you to select their team leaders by way of internal discussions within the teams.

Give to each team some assets in the form of counters (the ones that are used in the playing cards game "rummy"). Also give some cash made up of some specific denomination of coins to each team. The counters will be of various colors. The types of colors of the counters as well as the quantity of counters and cash will not be known to anybody except you.

Instruct each team to maximize its points within specified time limit. The rules and details regarding how the points will be earned by each team are given later in this write-up.

Achieving the objective of maximization of the points will be through the process of negotiations in an assembly (meeting) of the leaders of the teams. A common place in the seminar room will be earmarked for these meetings. The leaders of the teams can make their own choices of meeting the other team leaders in any way they like. They are free to meet one on one or all team leaders may decide to meet all at one time. They can meet between themselves any number of times they please during the game. Before every meeting and after every meeting they can confer with the rest of their team members.

During the meetings they will transact the business which may consist of sharing information, exchanging the counters among them by exchanging counter with counter or counter with cash or cash with counter or counter with transfer of information or any other way imaginable.

The rules and details regarding how the points will be accrued by the teams are given below:

Individual colors of the counters will not have any point attached to them. Therefore, the teams can score in following three ways:
  1. By forming a set containing all the available counters of one color (distributed throughout the three teams). The value will be 100 points per such set.
  2. By forming a set comprising one counter of each available color (distributed throughout the three teams). The value will be 25 points per such set.
  3. By holding the cash within the team. The value will be 1 point per coin.
After all the teams declare that they have completed their negotiations and transactions and thus have completed the game, ask the team leaders to show you what kinds of sets of counters they have made and how much cash they carry. Depending on it, work out the points made by each team. Declare the results.
Conduct discussions among all the participants and with you to realize as to what happened in the game, what went wrong, what went right and what did they learn.
Round up the game by giving your own observations and analysis and what could have been a better way of playing the game. Emphasize on the importance of trust building, information sharing and an open and win-win approach.

Get Hold of the Related Books
You can order the following books on "management games and icebreakers" as printed books and eBooks from Amazon online:
  1. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
  2. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers (Volume 2)
  3. Classic Team Building Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
  4. 101 Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
Related Reading: (Repository of a large number of articles in management and leadership): and

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