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International Trade Game: Instructions for starting

Part of John Sloman's case study The International Trade Game.

Instructions for starting the game

As students come into the room, the game leader should do the following.

  • Tell the students to leave all bags and any equipment (e.g. paper or pens) at the front and then to sit themselves around the clusters of tables (see the seating diagram).
  • Distribute the envelopes to each of the countries.
  • Give the following instructions about the game:

'Each of the groups is a team and represents a country. The objective for each country is to make as much money for itself as possible by using the materials in the envelope. No other materials can be used. Use the materials to manufacture paper shapes. You can choose to make any of the shapes shown on the diagrams on the wall.

All shapes must be cut with clean sharp edges using scissors and must be of the exact size specified on the diagrams. The shapes can then be sold to the trader in batches, who will check them for accuracy and exchange them for cash. Inaccurate shapes will be rejected. You can manufacture as many shapes as you like - the more you make, the richer you will become. You must not cut up your envelope!

[If applicable] You can move around the room, but must not cross into the neighbouring world(s), who are playing a parallel game.]

If you hear me whistle [demonstrate], you must immediately stop what you are doing and pay attention. If there is any dispute, I will settle it. My word is final! No physical force is to be used in the game.'

  • Give no further instructions. It is important for the students to work out what they should do.
  • Announce the start of manufacturing and tell them how long they have to play the game.