The Barter Puzzle
Negotiate for pieces and complete your puzzle the fastest
Game / Round Time:
Physical / Virtual:
Party, Tabletop, Social, Physical, Mental
Construction, Head-to-Head, Negotiation, Observation, Puzzle, Race, Real-time, Resource Management, Simultaneous Action,
Attention, Confidence, Conflict Resolution, Critical Thinking, Curiosity, Emotional Intelligence, Initiative, Integrity, Multitasking, Organization, Persuasion, Skill-building, Strategy Development, Teamwork,
+ Puzzle pieces: Prepare jigsaw puzzles with pieces that are visually distinct, making it clear which pieces belong to which team. Each team should have their set of pieces, but some pieces should belong to other teams.
+ A timer or timekeeper
+ A central negotiation area, such as a table, where teams can gather to trade puzzle pieces.
First, divide the participants into teams. Each team should have a designated area or workspace where they can assemble their puzzle pieces.
Mix up the puzzle pieces, so each team has a combination of their pieces and pieces from other teams.
Set up the central negotiation area, where teams can meet to trade puzzle pieces.
Start a timer to establish a time limit for the game. The duration can vary depending on your preferences.
Teams begin by attempting to assemble their own puzzle pieces in their designated area.
When a team realizes they have puzzle pieces that belong to another team, they can initiate negotiations. They can visit the central negotiation area and approach other teams to make trades.
Teams can negotiate and barter with other teams to exchange puzzle pieces they need to complete their puzzle. The negotiations can involve offers, counteroffers, and sometimes creative deals or conditions.
Teams must decide which pieces are crucial to their puzzle completion and strategize their trades accordingly. They can also work together with other teams to figure out whose pieces go where.
The game continues until one team successfully assembles their entire puzzle within the time limit. That team is declared the winner.
The complexity of the puzzle and how many pieces are from other teams dramatically change the length of the game. Consider simpler jigsaw puzzles with 25-100 pieces.
Q. Does everyone seem open to keep playing? Are the disengaged able to be more engaged?
Q. Are people having fun — smiling, laughing, in deep thought?
Q. Do you hear productive strategizing about how to improve round-to-round?
Position the reflection around the need to be in motion and see measurable progress:
How did your team define success? What indicated you were on the right track?
What game insights can you apply to better handle future times of crisis or uncertainty?
Did this game give you any ideas about how to activate team skills and resources in new ways?
Position the reflection around pathways and resources for accomplishing goals and future growth:
How did the team organize itself around the rules and objectives?
Did conflict or miscommunication affect the game? How might you address that for next time?
Would more time, people, or resources have shifted the team's approach? How so?