This game is designed to show participants in workshops
- how trade is affected by the availability of money
- how outside control of the money supply may be counter productive to a local economy
- how money is separate from real value
- how using debt as money can obstruct the economy
By simulating trading in an actual marketplace, the traders feel the difference, which reinforces the learning objectives. The game is designed to need minimum of materials, but it is useful to have a helper to the faciliator and to plan ahead which rounds to play to make your point.
Time: 3 rounds with a little reflection will take 90 minutes. Much more is possible.
Player objective: to assemble the most sets of cards of the same value by exchanging.
- Several packs of playing cards.
- Lots of green pieces of paper.
- Sunflower seeds
1. (Prep) Choose which story you want to tell, identify which game architectures to use, and in what order.
2. Tell the story, set the scene.
3. Number of cards = number of people x 4 + 16
Give each player 4 cards and explain that cards are exchanged to make a set. Complete sets are given to the cashier for acknowledgement with a sunflower seed
Each round consists of the following stages:
Settle up / clearing, call in debts (in some rounds)
Count Seeds, count paper.
How do you feel?
Explain next round
Cashier job description.
Swop set of cards for 4 random cards.
disburse one seed.
issue 3 green loans in exchange for signatures
strike out signatures when 4 are repaid
No paper is issued to start.
NB This is very slow
1 green is issued to each player.
NB This is slow
2 greens are issued to each player.
NB This is efficient
1 green issued to each player, greens exchangable for seeds
NB Reluctance to exchange
Give everyone zero greens. They have the option of borrowing 3 from the bank and replaying 4.
Perhaps play for longer to see the effects. Inflation?
NB many players unable to pay back. The bank ends up with the most tokens. Reluctance to exchange?
NB. Note how we simulate negative balances with pieces of paper
Each player given 3 greens. Must end with 3 greens.
NB separation of store of value and medium of exchange.
Self issued credit
Users issue as many greens with their name on. All greens must return to issuers at the end.
NB Some players unable to redeem all their credit shows the need for governance!
Bank as Trader
A banker enters the marketplace (with unlimited green slips) buying and selling and earning seeds like other players.
NB Note HOW the odds are stacked in favour of the bank. Prices may go up
players decide the rules
NB Don't worry if you never get around to actually trading.
Suggested Sequence - 90 mins
Round 1 Fiat money
Give everyone one green paper and explain how it makes trade easier.
Round 2 Debt money
CALL IN DEBTS at the end of the round.
Round 3 Commodity Money
As before, but seeds can be used in payment.
CALL IN DEBTS
Which money system is most like the one we use today?
How should the paper be issued in order to create the most seeds?
What changes when you say the seeds are equivalent to paper?