All that is needed is pencil/pen and paper for each person.
Participants are told that a nuclear attack is imminent and that everyone will be sharing a survival shelter. The shelter is equipped with basic requirements for physical survival and health.
Even though it will be cramped it is anticipated that everyone will be able to bring 10 items with them. Spend 5 minutes coming up with a list of these 10 items – for the purposes of the game, ignore the size and weight of items.
Once participants have their list of 10 items, tell them that there may be a need to prioritise what can be brought into the shelter, so they should spend another 5 minutes listing their items in order of priority from 1-10. All this is to be done individually.
Then, new information comes to hand. It is now apparent that time and space will not allow everyone to bring their 10 items into the shelter. The group as a whole must now decide on priorities, although the exact number of items is still uncertain. However, it can be assumed to be between 5 and 10 items in total. The whole group must now draw up a prioritised list of up to 10 items, taking into account each items value to the individual and value to the group. Voting is not permitted, decisions must be reached by some other method. Allow up to 15 or 20 minutes for this.
Once the group has come up with its list of 10 items in prioritised form, the following questions can be posed for discussion and reflection:
- On what basis were decisions made?
- How seriously were individual priority lists taken?
- Were the items finally chosen done so more for their importance to certain members of the group, or because they were of value to the group as a whole?
- How difficult was it to decide?
- Did everyone have an opportunity to plead for items on their own list?
- Did people listen to what others had to say?
- Were everyone’s needs considered?
- Did anyone think the final decision was unfair?
- How did people feel about the decision-making method used?
- How could the decision-making method be improved?
- How do you think the group would function if this was “real” rather than a simulation?
I have used this, and similar, games many times, and am always amazed at the depth of discussion in the debrief. Have fun with it.