This game helps participants understand different responses to conflict. (You can also use this as a game to illustrate the different strategies in negotiation.)
Children, youth, adults
• Beads (20 per person plus 40 per group – in other words, if you have six people in a group, you will need 160 beads – 20 per person and 40 to go in the middle). You can also use coins, rice, beans… anything that you have lots and lots of.
• Dice (one per group – I recommend fuzzy dice. They are more fun to play with.)
• Flipchart or whiteboard
• Copies of the “Debrief Questions” page at the end of this lesson
• (Optional) A prizes(s) for the winning team(s)
• Make copies of the “Debrief Questions” page at the end of this lesson (one copy per table group).
• Count out the beads, and put enough for the gate at each table.
• Put a die at each table.
• Write the following on a flipchart or whiteboard:
o 1 – Win-Win (Everyone gets 1 bead from center.)
o 2 – Win-Lose (Everyone gives you 1 bead.)
o 3 – Lose-Win (You give everyone 1 bead.)
o 4 – Lose-Lose (Everyone puts 1 bead in the center.)
o 5 – Compromise (You give 1 bead to the center and pick 2 other people to put one bead in the center.)
o 6 – You Choose (Choose your own conflict response, and do what it says.)
• Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
• (Divide the participants into table groups of 4-6 people each.)
• “We’re going to play a game that will illustrate peoples’ different responses to conflict.”
• “Different people respond in different ways when they come into conflict.”
• “Many go for ‘Win-Lose.’ ‘I win; you lose.’ They want to win the conflict even if it means that the other person has to lose.”
• “Many others go for ‘Lose-Win.’ ‘I lose; you win.’ They just let the other person win, because they don’t like conflict or confrontation. It’s easier just to give up the fight.”
• “Some go for ‘Compromise.’ ‘We both lose some of what we wanted, but at least we get a resolution to the conflict.’ Neither party gets exactly what they wanted in ‘Compromise,’ but the conflict gets resolved or the task gets done. Sometimes that’s enough.”
• “Some even go for ‘Lose-Lose.’ ‘I lose; you lose.’ This one seems crazy, but people will often choose this response when they are upset that they can’t win. It’s like they are saying, ‘If I can’t have what I want, I’ll make sure no one gets what they want!’”
• “And a very few people go for ‘Win-Win.’ ‘I win; you win.’ I say very few people go for it, because it’s very difficult to do. It takes patience, creativity and a willingness to truly listen and understand to the other person before making a decision. However, this is usually the best response to conflict, because everyone gets what they want (or even something better).”
• “On your table, you have lots of beads.”
• “I would like for everyone at the table to count out 20 beads for himself or herself.” (Wait for everyone to count out his or her beads. There should be at least 40 left in the middle of the table.)
• “The game we are about to play is called, ‘Win-Lose,’ and your objective is to win.”
• “The person at the table who first collects 40 beads is the winner.”
• “You gain or lose beads by rolling the die (singular for dice) and doing one of six things listed on the flipchart / whiteboard.”
• “If you roll a one, you choose a Win-Win response to conflict, and everyone at the table benefits by getting a bead from the center.”
• “If you roll a two, you choose a Win-Lose response to conflict, and everyone gives you one of their beads.”
• “If you roll a three, you choose a Lose-Win response to conflict, and you give everyone at the table one bead.”
• “If you roll a four, you choose a Lose-Lose response to conflict, and everyone had to put a bead back into the center.”
• “If you roll a five, you choose a Compromise response to conflict, and you need to put a bead in the center. You will also pick two other people to put a bead in the center.”
• “If you roll a six, you get to pick your conflict response. You then have to do what the flipchart / whiteboard says for that conflict response. For example, if you choose ‘Win-Lose,’ then you should collect a bead from everyone at the table.”
• “To determine who goes first, you will each roll the die. The highest roll goes first. If you have a tie for the highest roll, have just those people continue to roll to determine who goes first.”
• “After the first person goes, the person on his/her left will go next, and play will continue clockwise around the table.”
• “Play continues until someone accumulates 40 beads. That person is the winner.”
• “Does anyone have any questions about how to play?” (Answer questions.)
• “Okay, then you can start rolling the die to see who goes first.” (If they finish the first round quickly and you have the time, let them play several rounds. Then, award a prize to the winners if you choose. Pass out the Debrief Questions sheet to each group, and allow them 10-15 minutes to talk about the questions. Then ask the large group for any general insights from the activity.”
o How does this game reflect real conflict situations?
o When people got to choose the conflict response they used, what did they usually choose? Why? What can you learn from this?
o What consequences are there for people who always use the following approaches to conflict?
o How do people generally feel about others who use these conflict responses on a regular basis?
o Why don’t more people approach conflict from a Win-Win perspective?
o What are the benefits of using a Win-Win approach?
o What could you do to increase the frequency with which you use Win-win?