Stop the Clock

Type of Activity:  Problem Solving

Source:  Playing With A Full Deck, by Michelle Cummings

Props Needed:  playing cards

Group Size:  12 people

Aim of the Game:  To turn over all the cards on the clockface before the fourth King is uncovered.  This is a game of fate, so there is a chance the cards will ‘win’ and not the participants.  Frontloading this activity with possible end results is recommended.  Plays best with 12 participants as there are 12 numbers on a clockface.

Setting Up the Cards:  Shuffle the pack and deal out the cards into 13 piles of four cards each.  Twelve of the piles should be set out face down in a circle that approximates a clockface.  The remaining set of four cards is then place in the middle of the layout.

Playing the Game:  Invite your group to stand or sit in a circle in positions that would mimic a clockface.  Give each participant one pile of cards.  Start the game by turning over the top card in the central pile.  Suppose the card turned over is a six, you must then place that card face up under the pile of cards at the bottom of the clockface layout (in front of the person in the position that corresponds to six o’clock on a conventional dial). 

Having laid down the six, the game is continued by turning over the top card of the six pile.  The revealed card is placed under the relevant pile and the top card turned over and relocated to its home.

When the fourth card is revealed in a pile and there is no face-down card left to turn over, you turn over the top card of the next highest pile in the layout.

When have they ‘won’?  In a traditional card game, they ‘win’ the game if they manage to get 12 piles of cards on the circular layout faceup.  The game is ‘lost’ if the group turns over the fourth King before they have managed to get the circular layout complete.  Simple really—it’s the team against the Kings.  However, one could argue that if everyone played by the rules, did not sabotage the group, and communicated well, they win every time.  These are all good debriefing topics.

Taking Their Time:  There’s nothing more annoying than getting halfway through a game only to find that you’d earlier put a card in the wrong position.  Once the group makes a mistake the game cannot be continued, so encourage them to take their time and do not rush.  Younger players may benefit from having a watch or clockface to refer to when playing;  alternatively, you might like to draw out the layout on a piece of paper so that they have a model to follow.  It is imperative that the cards are spaced evenly, without overlapping, and that the game is played on a flat surface.

Variations:  Do the activity silently.  Time the activity.  Both have very different outcomes.

Debriefing Topics:

  • How did the individual roles play a factor in this activity?
  • How did you communicate with the group?
  • How did the group handle any mistakes that were made?
  • How does time affect us every day?
  • Did a leader emerge during this activity?  If so, who was it and why did you think they were they leader?

 Learning styles utilized from the 7 Kinds of Smart:  logic smart, people smart, body smart

Purchase from the Training Wheels store:  Playing With a Full Deck, Jumbo Playing Cards, Colossal Playing Cards, Mini Playing Cards, Round Playing Cards

Material in this Online Games Database is copyrighted.  Copyright ©  Training Wheels or by the author who submitted the activity.  Permission needed to copy or reproduce.