35. Morals and money

This is a role play game that was invented my son for his R.E. project, but was so good  I thought I’d include it here.

The imaginary scenario is a courtroom. Each player in turn enacts the role of the judge. To make this simple, in each round of play there is one person who is the judge, and the person who is the judge is swapped to another player after the round is completed. Each player is given £40 or so in the bank, monopoly money, if you have it.

The idea is that each player takes turns to read a card describing a crime incident they committed and the judge is allowed to ask 5 questions about the incident. My son, Aron wrote these on several cards and each described an incident that occurred.

The twist is that each of these crimes involves some mitigating circumstances. You will need to remake these cards and shuffle them to play the game. The cards, each describing an incident are placed at random on the table, and the first player selects the top card. Here are some examples of incidents written on the cards made up by Aron that you can use:

  • You are shopping when a man with covid-19 runs about and starts coughing over people. You shoot him in the leg with a gun you bought illegally.
  • The bin is overflowing so you chuck rubbish next to it on the floor.
  • You push your friend over a cliff because he said he wanted to commit suicide.
  • You buy the Mona Lisa and spray paint ART IS DEAD on it.
  • You break the speed limit rushing your pregnant wife to hospital.
  • You take heroin because a friend says it is chewing gum.

You can make up further scenarios, but bear in mind Aron is 13 and I think this game is best suited to teens and pre-teens. Incidents may need to be much tamer for smaller children.

After you have a pile of incidents (10 is enough for four players) then player 1 reads the top incident out. The judge is then able to ask up to 5 questions, such as why the person did what they did , what were the circumstances etc.

The game is to convince the judge that you are justified in your actions. Pleading, wheedling and logic are all good skills to employ during this acting feat. The judge then administers a fine between £1 and £10 (just make a note if you don’t have play or real money). You could I suppose play it like my partner Hywel who sometimes tries to make his crimes sound worse than they really were, but that is not the way to win the game.

The size of the fine depends on the judge but, judges, try not to be partisan. Especially if the defendant is your sibling! The game continues until all players have had a full round at being the judge, in other words they have fined all the other players. The winner is the player who is left with the most money, but as ever with family time, it’s all about playing, not winning.