About the Trading Game

Essay by kevinxiaowis February 2006

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The Trading Game is an exciting and provocative game played by 30 or more people. 1 (preferably mathematically gifted) person is chosen to be the banker, and everyone else divides themselves up into 6 groups/countries. Each country is given an unknown package, each package containing varying amounts of stationary, paper and stickers. The aim of the game for each country is to earn the most money through selling paper shapes to the banker. The banker would judge the shape and, if accepted, he/she would record that particular country's profit. So far, it all seems straightforward, but here's the twist! Due to the different packages, some countries don't have scissors to cut out shapes, some countries don't have paper. The varying amounts of supplies means each country must trade with each other in order to fulfill their needs. To further complicate the rules, the teacher would spontaneously announce events like price changes and other events.

This amazing game combines strategy, co-operation, teamwork and fun to enhance student's geographical and economic skills. But how accurate is this game? Is it a precise representation of the real world of politics and economics?

Although it is a game, The Trading Game is unfair and winning is sometimes decided by luck. Each package given to a particular country represents a country in the real world. The package representing China would have lots of scissors, rulers, protractors, etc. whilst the package representing Nigeria would have tons of paper. Since you can only sell products by cutting out shapes, Nigeria would have no chance of earning much without stationary. Which brings about the point that trading is vital in this game. The aspect of unfairness encourages countries to trade and work together, therefore teaching students how to co-operate with competitors, a skill extremely hard to learn. Partnerships...