Common Currency Game -The Cooperative Competition Game

A flexible, team-based activity that utilizes a wealth of interpersonal and group-process skills.

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Is it really possible to practice the strategies of competition and cooperation at the same time? Yes! Around the world, production teams, research and development groups, and marketing teams all are benefiting from the power of cooperative-competition. Discover for yourself this fresh approach to individual, team, and organizational development with Common Currency: The Cooperative Competition Game.


What is cooperative-competition? When teams act with a competitive spirit that motivates them to put forth their best efforts while cooperating on the achievement of similar goals, you’ve got cooperative-competition. And it can give your organization an edge over the competition. Common Currency uses the concept of cooperative-competition among teams to stress the importance of group interdependence. To win this game, each group must rely on collaboration with others to exchange information and resources. Thus, teams gain an understanding of the beneficial nature of competitiveness as they strive to do their best, while maintaining good working relationships with other groups.

All group interactions involve both task (outcome) and relationship (process) skills. Common Currency is an excellent tool to address all aspects of teamwork and strategic planning, including leadership development, open communication, conflict resolution, principled negotiation, problem solving, managing change, and decision making.

How the game works

Teams representing fictional countries must cooperate in trading coins and information while competing for the most valuable combination of coins.

Participants will:
  • Learn the basic principles of cooperative-competition.
  • Discover how cooperative-competition helps teams and individuals achieve the greatest results.
  • Develop the team and interpersonal skills that drive cooperative-competition.
  • Understand how cooperative-competition benefits the entire organization.

Change Variation Game

The concept of change and how it affects the process of cooperative competition can be illustrated clearly with this variation. The basic game instructions remain the same; however, teams must deal with changes in some of the original information. The new Information Cards affect coin combinations, bonus points, and the total number of coins allowed in the final collection. The change variation is included with the basic Common Currency game.

When to use Common Currency

This game is a flexible, team-based activity that utilizes a wealth of interpersonal and group-process skills. We especially like using it as part of negotiating and strategic planning workshops. But it’s ideal for a wide array of training topics. The Facilitator Guide includes debriefs for training in team building, communication, negotiating, strategic planning, decision making, problem solving, resource sharing, and more. Also included is a separate change module, which demonstrates the value of cooperative-competition in times of change.

Development of the Game

The idea for Common Currency came about as the author was exploring the effects of competition on team building. She discovered that very few people were aware of the beneficial nature of competition within a collaborative environment, so she decided to create a game that would demonstrate those benefits.

The challenge was to create a game that utilized the spirit of cooperative competition while remaining flexible enough to meet a variety of training needs. The most important issue during development was the use of limited resources to create a heightened sense of competition, while utilizing a process that would require teams to collaborate with each other. This was accomplished in two ways: first, by providing an unequal distribution of coins, with a decreasing amount of coins as the values increased; and second, by formulating several data "bits" about the coins in the form of Information Cards, which players would need to access to determine game strategies. The cards were made in duplicate to incorporate the risk of negotiating for information that was already known.

To further limit these resources, the coins and cards were to be randomly distributed in small portions to each participating group. Therefore, teams would have diverse assortments of coin values and pieces of information. In an attempt to gain the most valuable coin collection, participants would need to cooperate within their own team as well as negotiate with other groups for information and coins. The resulting interactions would establish the basis for the debriefing topics.

The Complete Game is for up to 8 teams of 2-6 players each. The Complete Game includes: color coins, information cards, identification flags and envelopes, scoring sheets, Facilitator Guide, and sturdy tote box.

Common Currency Game -The Cooperative Competition Game

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