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Red or Black

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This is a good exercise to use in a negotiating course. It demonstrates how people work with each other and shows how trust can be built or destroyed.

Divide the group into pairs and give each pair a pack of cards with the jokers removed. Inform everyone that the objective of this card game is to end up with a positive accumulative score after playing seven rounds. The person with the higher positive score will win a prize. Zero is not a positive score. The facilitator gets the prize if neither person gets a positive score or if the final score is tied.

Each round consists of both people selecting a red or black card and putting it face down on the table. Both cards are turned over and scores are awarded as follows:

You SelectPartner SelectsYour ScorePartner's Score

There are seven rounds and the last two rounds score double. If both players agree, they can talk to each other after round two and then again after round five. They should remain silent for the rest of the game.

Debrief by asking questions such as:
  • What was the objective of the game?
  • Did you both reach the objective?
  • Did you talk to each other after rounds two and five?
  • Did you make any agreements?
  • What did you agree?
  • Were these agreements honoured?
  • Can you think of any examples where there has been a conflict between the objectives of an organisation and the objectives of the individual?

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