Medieval Evolution

Type of Initiative:  Energizer, Icebreaker, Math Skills

Source:  Playing With A Full Deck, by Michelle Cummings

Props Needed:  playing cards, 5-6 cards per participant

Group Size:  Best played with 12 or more players.

Playing the Game:   It has been said that the four suit symbols originally represented the four classes of society in Medieval Europe.  Spades represented the Nobles, Hearts the Clergy, diamonds the Merchants, and Clubs the Peasants and Serfs.  This ranking (spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs), from the highest to the lowest, still holds in the popular card game Bridge.  For the purpose of this game each class of society will have a different action.

Peasants:  Since peasants were often seen cleaning out the pig pen, the action to represent a Peasant will be shoveling of pig manure and tossing over one’s shoulder.

Merchants:  Since merchants were often handling money and self employment is definitely a  gamble, the action to represent a Merchant will be to pull down on slot machine handle and say, “Cha-Ching!”

Clergy:  Clergy were always praying, so the action to represent a Clergy will be to walk with hands in a prayer position and bow to one another saying loudly, "Hallelujah!"

Nobles:  Nobles were the royals.  So for a royal to find another royal, they must hold one hand up in the air, sachet around the group and say, “You’re not worthy!  You’re not worthy!”

Process:  Each person in the group is dealt 5-6 cards.  Ask them not to look at their cards.  Everyone in the group will start out as a Peasant.  A Peasant will do the Peasant action to find another Peasant.  Once they have found one another, they will count to three and flip over their top card card.  The first Peasant to add up the two cards and shout out the correct answer advances to a Merchant.  The Peasant who lost that round, remains a Peasant and must find another Peasant to continue play.  Both parties place the used card on tht bottoom of their pile and move onto the next player.  Then the Merchant will do the Merchant action to find another Merchant.  On the count of three they will flip over their card.  The first Merchant to add up the two cards and shout out the correct answer advances to a Clergy, The Merchant who lost that round, remains a Merchant, and so on.

When a Noble challenges another Noble, whoever wins becomes a Joker, after all, this is a silly game!  Whoever loses remains a Noble.  All of the Jokers will congregate together and tell each other bad ‘Knock Knock” jokes or other clean jokes you could tell a 4th grader.  This continues until you have many Jokers and you decide to end the game.

Sample Knock Knock Jokes and other jokes:

  • “Knock Knock”, “Who’s there?”  “Dwyane”  “Dwyane who?”  “Dwayne the bathtub I’m  dwowning!”
  • “Knock Knock”, “Who’s there?”  “Boo.”  “Boo who?”  “Don’t cry, it’s only a joke!”
  • How do you catch a Unique Rabbit?  You 'neak up on him!
  • How do you catch a Tame Rabbit?  Tame way, you 'neak up on him!

Variation:  If you are working with younger groups who cannot add quickly, utilize the values of the cards.  Whoever has the high card would advance to the next level.

Variation:  If you really want to challenge the math skills of your group, have the black colored cards have a positive value and the red colored cards have a negative value.  The first person to add the two values together and shout out the right answer advances to the next level.

This is a personal favorite of mine (Michelle Cummings), so if you have any questions or it doesn't make sense to you, please email me or call me and ask questions.  It really is fun!

Learning styles utilized from the 7 Kinds of Smart:  ~body smart, word smart, logic smart, picture smart, people 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.