People-Sized Strategy Boardgame | Training For Change

People-Sized Strategy Boardgame


Organizing, Action, Strategy iconOrganizing, Action, StrategyTeam Building & Diversity iconTeam Building & DiversityTraining & Facilitation Fundamentals iconTraining & Facilitation Fundamentals




Creative Workshop Design


Training Tool

  • To give people experience in strategizing for a campaign
  • To discuss general principles of strategy
  • To share knowledge of nonviolent campaign cases
  • To build teamwork in problem-solving

Needed: Two trainers who know the political situation.  8 to 32 participants; for more participants, add facilitators at ration of 1 facilitator/20 participants.

Set-Up: Arrange on the floor of a large room a giant board game format, using tape for the first set of squares and leaving the Finish line indeterminate.  The squares need to be big enough for a team of 4-8 persons to squat in.  2 to 4 teams can play this game, with each team having 4-8 participants.  If you have 9 fairly sophisticated participants, make 3 teams of 3, but be prepared to coach them somewhat because a team of 3 may not have sufficient knowledge/creativity to solve problems effectively. Develop a list of challenges/obstacles/problems which need to be solved in order to win a campaign or achieve a goal.  Order them roughly in sequence.  Print these on separate cards, with duplicates.

How to Lead

1. Explain that this game is won when at least one team overcomes enough obstacles to win or be well on the way to winning.  Teams will leapfrog each other to race to victory.  They only advance when the judge accepts their solution.  If they make a major strategic error, they have to go back a square.  The team must achieve consensus.  It has periods of five minutes for discussion;  if its proposed solution is not accepted by the trainer/referee, it must wait five minutes to propose the next solution.  Because political/economic situations are fluid, a referee may announce to a team new developments at any time.

2. Teams take up the first spaces, each to a square.  The referees hand each a copy of the same scenario.  After 5 minutes (each team discusses), the referees begin hearing solutions and either sending teams forward or keeping them there to try a different solution.

3. When a team moves forward, a referee gives a new challenge to it.  This may be duplicated with another team, or different from it to explore more possibilities.

4. Major strategic errors (e.g. accepting protection from gangsters to keep the campaign headquarters open) send a team back to  previous available square.

5. Continue game until (a) time runs out (not counting 60 minutes for debrief), (b) the group achieves  goal, (c) attention in the group is starting to fade.

6. De-brief questions include:  which challenges were easier/more difficult?  What major strategic errors were made?  What are the principles underlying your successful moves?  What were the group dynamics in achieving consensus in your teams?

Where This Tool Came From

Tool written and invented by Karen Ridd