Depending on the total number of players, breakdown of groups with 4-10 players. Players should exchange phone numbers with team members.
Every team gets a game pack containing:
i. a rules card (with a game map on the backside)
ii. a stack of asset cards, which look like this:
iii. a packet of rating stickers (with their team name)
iv. a hat for each member of the team (Commodity Traders)
v. a sash (for the team’s Rating Agent)
vi. zip-lock bags
vii. latex gloves for each member of the team
Each team should already have at least:
i. one smart phone
ii. ideally players should have registered before hand and would have seen an informative video explaining the game play
Credit Rating Agents
Non-player characters (game runner roles):
One Securities and Exchange Commission official (SEC)
Investors (members of the community and/or visitors to the area)
Players are briefed on the rules. The (very large) balloon is attached to the helium pump. The trading bell is rung.
The game consists of three stages: Acquiring Assets, Rating Assets, and Selling Assets. Teams are not required to stay together. (The rules for each stage of the game will be clearly specified on all in-game materials to help ensure that players always know what to do.)
Commodity Traders choose a nearby financial institution from one of their asset cards. Commodity Traders collect trash items in the vicinity and photograph each trash item with the financial institute represented in the background. Trash items are placed inside zip-lock bags. Players email the image(s) to the in-game email address.
After acquiring an asset, Commodity Traders return to headquarters to get their asset rated by a Rating Agent from an opposing team. Each team has one Rating Agent who can be any member that is wearing the Rating Agent sash at the time.
2a. Rating criterion
Rating is officially based how creative the picture is. However, ultimately this decision is up to the Rating Agent — with one exception: if the SEC official observes the transaction, s/he can police the decision by mandating a particular rating.
2b. Rating process
(Cashiers are in headquarters to help explain and guide the rating process until players get fully acquainted.)
The Rating Agent has stickers in three denominations — AAA, BBB, and CCC. Before a rating sticker has been applied to the asset card by a Rating Agent, the Commodity Trader can still walk away from the transaction at any time to seek a transaction with another Rating Agent. When they are ready to rate, a Rating Agent applies their team’s stickers to the other team’s asset card and earns money for her/his team. The top portion of the asset card is placed inside the corresponding zip-lock bag and brought to the Cashier, who puts it in a basket attached to the large balloon.
After depositing their asset, the Commodity Trader must now leave headquarters and “sell” the asset. To sell, they must find a non-player willing to participate in a brief and anonymous interview. For reference, an example interview script is printed on the middle portion of each asset card.
The Commodity Trader calls the number provided on the asset card before the Investor begins speaking and clearly states the Asset ID# listed on the corresponding asset card.
Question: How has the financial crisis impacted your life?
The response is broadcast over speakers at headquarters.
When the interview is complete, the Commodity Traders offer the interview subject their asset record (bottom portion of asset card) and encourages them to go to the website to hear their story and the stories of others, to see the actual toxic asset they “purchased,” and to learn more about the project. The asset is sold. The amount of money earned depends on the asset’s credit rating: AAA, BBB, or CCC (with AAA as the most valuable and CCC the least).
Prizes will be awarded for the team who earns the most money through rating, through selling, and the grand prize will go to the team who earned the most overall money (rating and selling). The prizes include senior positions in the administration such as: Secretary of the Treasury; Chairman of the Council of Economics; Chief Financial Adviser; Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
While the players were told at kick-off that the balloon will not pop and that it will inflate forever, in reality the balloon eventually bursts. If the balloon has not burst before the 2-hour mark, a game runner will pop it. At this point all players must race back to headquarters to get in line for a government bailout. The last team to fully assemble in line gets no bailout and has to give up a penalty to the SEC. Additionally any unsold toxic assets carry a financial penalty which is subtracted from the team’s earnings. Winners are announced and prizes awarded.