L.2. New Society Game
Group Size: 60-100
Estimated Time: 60 minutes
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L.2. New Society Game
This is a fantasy game which could be about the group norms, cliques, special needs, immigration, or any other topic where there is a majority and the "other", or an outsider minority – and how to create constructive outcomes. Note that the "other" is represented by a pair, to reduce stress that can be produced in these situations, even when imaginary.
The simulation requires experienced observation and management, as it is really about the impact of accepting, ignoring, or even rejecting "others" transplanted into a group, with different behavior codes and languages from themselves. A review of the host side of the game will help host groups understand these processes; listening to the guinea pigs will debrief them and allow the group look at options to modify group behavior with new members, or personal behavior when engaging in a new environment.
Age: 14 and over
Number of participants: 60 or over
Leader (one per sub-group)
Overall moderator – if necessary possible without
Time: At least one hour, 30 minutes to play, 30 minutes for discussion.
Split group into 3 or 4 sub-groups of equal numbers; each group should have at least 20 participants. It is preferable that each group should be in a separate, adjoining room; if this is not possible, make sure the groups cannot hear each other.
Tell the entire group that they are setting up a new society. Make it absolutely clear, and constantly reinforce the rule that there is to be no talking.
Each group needs to come up with a new language, but it can only be a sign language:
- They need signs for: yes, no, will you play my game. (The signs should be as imaginative as possible.)
- They also need 1-3 (depending on the size of the group) simple, non-verbal games (e.g., slapping a partner’s hands). These games should be for 3-4 players.
Each sub-group works separately.
Once the games and signs are decided upon, get each group on its feet and moving around, “talking” to each other and playing their games.
When all the groups are playing smoothly, the moderator starts pulling out a couple of participants from each group and putting them into another group, telling them to join in for two minutes. The leader should observe what happens in each group.
After two minutes, the two guinea pigs can return to their groups and join in with their own group.
This process is repeated several times, depending on the size of the groups and how the game is going. If it is going well, transplanted participants can remain in their host groups.
Stop the game after about 10-15 minutes and ask everyone to return to his or her original group.
* To each group as a host:
How did they feel about the first "guests" they received?
What happened with them and did this change as the game went on?
How did they behave towards these new people in the group – and did this change as the game went on?
Do they think the new people were able to join in, and why?
* To the participants who were "transplanted":
How did they feel?
Did they feel more inclined to try and join in (assimilate) or to stay with the person from their own group?
What did they try out and did it work?
Was their a difference between the first and later "guests"?
Was there an affinity between outsiders from different groups?
• To what situations can this experience be applied?
[Issues of assimilation/integration vs. separatism, tolerance and acceptance of the other.]
• The leader chooses one situation to explore with the group.
Problems of Aliyah, e.g., language barriers, different culture;
Problems of Diaspora life – the reaction of a host society to newcomers;
Problems of Antisemitism and tolerance.