Green Card, Red Card
Rate the contents of this page:
To explore cooperation and competition between people.
At least 30 minutes. More time is needed for a thorough debriefing.
- 20 green cards – for 20 participants, or as many as the number of participants;
- 20 red cards – for 20 or as many as the number of participants;
- Flip chart papers;
It can be played with a minimum of two participants.
I) Invite participants to choose one partner, thus divide the plenary in pairs.
II) Assign each pair an equal amount of cash. This can be real or fake money – the choice of using real or fake money depends on appropriateness for participants and local context, and availability. Take care that the amount of cash may be fractioned in smaller parts for the play. For instance, you can assign 1.000 dollars of fake money to each pair or 5-10 real dollars each. Alternatively you can use points or any thing that symbolises it (pop-corns, stones, chocolates, etc.).
III) Distribute a set with one green and one red card to each participant.
IV) Explain the game: each pair’s task is to divide the total amount received between them. They will do so by playing their cards simultaneously when you will tell them. The payoff is as follows:
|Player B||plays Green||plays Red|
|plays Green||B 50% - A 50%||B 0% - A 100%|
|plays Red||B 100% - A 0%||B 25% - A 25%|
Post a flip chart with the pay-off table on the wall. Make sure participants have understood, practice a couple of rounds for demonstration.
V) Divide the pairs into 3 groups.
- Pairs in the first group will have to split the amount in only one round - these players cannot talk.
- Pairs in the second group will have 5 rounds. Thus, they will split the total amount in five parts. These players cannot talk.
- Pairs in the third group can talk and have the power to decide the number of rounds they wish to use to divide the cash amount. This decision can also be taken during the process, not necessarily at the beginning (for instance, a pair can decide to play 20 dollars in the first round, then decide for 10 dollars in the second and so on). Important: Players in this pair cannot discuss or anticipate what card they will play. They can only discuss the number of rounds and the actual amount of each round.
VI) Let them play, starting from the first group. Other participants observe.
VII) Repeat the procedure with the second and third group. Allow as much time as needed, especially for the third group of pairs.
The following questions are not normative. You can use these and/or other questions as the situation and your judgement requires.
How do you feel?
- How do you feel about this activity?
- How do you feel about your pay-off?
- How do you feel about your partner?
- How do you feel about you and the way you acted through the play?
- What happened at the beginning of the play?
- What interesting things happened during the play? (this question is more suitable for pairs who played more than one round)
- How did the interaction with your partner evolve?
- What differences could you notice between the first, second and the third group of pairs?
- What was your strategy? How could you implement it?
- How did you react to your partner’s plays? How did he react to yours?
- What have you learnt?
What learning points can you highlight from this activity?
- What is the difference when you can decide the number of rounds and the amount at stake in each round?
- What strategy works best when you have only one round?
- What strategy works best with five rounds?
- What strategy works best when you can decide the number of rounds to play?
How does this relate?
- How does this activity relate to any interaction in real life?
- If you relate the cash at stake in this activity with any shared and conflicting interests you may have with another party, how does what you have learnt help you?
- Do you have any examples of how a cooperative or competitive approach have characterised one of your interactions with another party?
- How does cooperative and competitive approaches influence business or private relationships?
- What happens if real money or relevant interests of yours are at stake?
- What if you could talk with your partner and discuss what cards to play?
- What if you objective was to minimize you partner’s pay-off?
- What if your objective was to maximise both your partner’s and your pay-off?
- How would play differently if you were to play again?
- What suggestions would you give to a friend that is going to play the activity?
This activity has been originally inspired by “the prisoner’s dilemma”, Game Theory. In June 2002 US cable TV Game Show Network began airing a game called "Friend or Foe". The dynamics of "Friend or Foe" were very similar to the dynamics of this activity. Friend or Foe was also inspired by a CBS Network game show named "Shafted", originally aired in the UK. Joel Waldfogel and Felix Oberholzer-Gee in 2003 wrote an interesting paper analysing the behaviour of "Friend or Foe" game show contestants. The paper is titled Social Learning and Coordination in High Stakes Games: Evidence from Friend or Foe, and is available at http://ideas.repec.org/p/cra/wpaper/2003-01.html