Role-Playing Workshop

Here is the result of the work of our role-playing team:


Gloria (Etudiants et Développement), Julie (US/Canada/France), Marion (France), Guillemette (France), Manos (Greece), Pauline (Trainer from Kurioz), Gabriel (France) and Ewelina (Poland)

Name of the Tool: Balls of Justice

Topic: Citizenship

Objective: To make citizens aware of their responsibilities and impacts on society

Public: 14 years old +

Number of participants: 15-30

Length: 2 hours (including debrief)


–          Bag, bowl, spoon

–          3 coded messages

–          Paper balls with the decoding key (one letter and the sign associated per paper)

–          20 red balls, 10 green, 30 orange

–          Scissors

–          Stickers

Message which has to be coded :

FULL: Collect red balls not green or orange

– Group 1: ____red, ___green, ___orange

– Group 2: collect red balls not green or orange

– Group 3: collect ____balls not ___or ___


Step 1: Everyone enters the room and sits in a circle on chairs.

Step 2: Ask everyone to close their eyes and to stay silent. Put stickers of 3 different colors on their foreheads. 50% of the people have red stickers (group 1), 35% green stickers (group 2) and 15% blue stickers (group 3) for example. They open their eyes (NO TALKING) and must assemble with those they resemble. If there is 20 persons in the group, you will divide in 3 subgroups of 10, 7 and 3 people. Tell them where to sit in these groups.

Introduction to the game: Purpose of the game is to elect the next Game Ruler, who is going to be able to change rules of the game. They have to work in groups in order to nominate someone from their group to be the ruler. In order to do so, they must first accomplish the tasks assigned to each of their groups.

Step 3: Do not give a pen to group 1 (the populous group).
Distribute 2 pens to the groups 2 and 3 and the tools (spoon, bowl, bag). Group 1 and group 3 are placed closer to each other than with group 2. Remember about distance between all groups.

Step 4: Arrange the paper balls with the decoding keys on a table in the center. One person of each group go to the table and uses the tool  (spoon, bag or bowl, NO HANDS or CLOTHING) at their disposal to get as many balls as possible. THEY CAN ONLY GO TO THE CENTRE ONCE. They cannot unfold the papers in order to bring more back to the group. They may begin to unfold the papers once they have returned to the group. This marks the end of round 1.

Step 5: The facilitator distributes one encoded message to each group (as defined hereabove) informing them that this message will need to be executed by the group in order to advance in the game.  The groups have between 5 and 10 minutes to decode the message with the information on the paper balls collected in round 1. When the time is out:  each group designates one person to carry-out the task they should have decoded from their paper. One person from each group should then go to the centre and collect the balls (at least one ball for each person in a group) and bring them back to the group. Their return to their respective groups marks the end of round 2.

Step 6: The facilitator explains the meaning of each color:

10 red balls give them power and elegibility

2 green balls = 1 person’s hands are tied and cannot vote

Orange balls are useless.

The groups with 10 or more red balls may nominate 1 candidate. The facilitator explains that everyone, with their hands free, may vote for or against the candidates.

Each group picks a representative (not necessarily a candidate for the election). These 3 representatives are invited to the centre for a round of negotiations. They are to discuss the status quo and the rules of the game, whether or not they need to be changed. Remember that only representatives can speak without possibility of  communication with groups during negotiations. Negotiations last between 3 and 5 minutes. At the end of this time, they return to their groups. If changes were resolved at the negotiations they are now implemented. The facilitator finalizes the candidacies and gives the groups 5 minutes to prepare a 1 minute speech (an election platform).

Step 7: The speeches are then delivered and we proceed to election by show of hands.



The framework of debriefing:

1) Results- what happened?

2) Emotions- how did you feel?

3) Observations ( take notes what was going on during game)


a) balls = power
b) objects in the first round = different access to the goods, information, etc.
people: 1rst group = “poor” people / 2nd group = privileged one / 3rd group = middle class

Questions to ask:
– Why couldn’t you accomplish the task?
– Was the game fair? If not, why?
– Were you working together/ Weren’t you working together? Why?
– What  was the meaning of the objects?
– Why couldn’t you achieve what you wanted to?
– Did you have the same message?

Comments for facilitators:
– Don’t forget about counting the balls, if you are going to miss some nothing happens but the meaning of the game can change
– Try to talk to groups in different way, to privileged one be nice, to others be rude and make it visible
– You can make more rounds of negotiations if needed
– Don’t forget about introduction, it is important to let them know what and why is happening
– Big space to play that game would be appreciated


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