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The Trading Game

Have you ever wondered what it may feel like to oversee a country? In this adventure, we will take part in some hypothetical trading. The objective is to get the most points by trading your country’s goods for products from other countries.

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  • Do you think all countries have the same ability to trade? 
  • What do you think it is like to be a rich country? A poor country? 
  • Do you think trading is always fair? 


  • Some people and countries find it difficult to "get ahead" because of unfair rules and circumstances.  
  • Each person starts out with 5 colored chips. Hide the chips, so only you know what is in your hand. The chips have a value, as do combinations of chips.  
  • The purpose of the first round is to trade chips and obtain a high number of points. Players must trade 2 chips for 2 chips, 3 for 3, and so forth.  
  • At the end of the first round of trading, players count points and are placed in one of three groups according to their earnings. 
  • Continue with more rounds, see full game rules attached.


  • What group would they have preferred to be in? 
  • Were the rules established by the circles fair? 
  • How is this similar to the world situation? 
  • Would you agree, often the developing countries feel they do not have much say in world affairs and their own development? 
  • Remember to submit your activities on our Scouts for Sustainability Take Action Map


Coloured chips (paper cutouts)  

Shape cutouts 

Keep it Simple

  • Only complete the first round, and then keep the rules the same for rounds after that. This will help everyone to understand the game concept and perhaps figure out a strategy.  
  • For virtual: This activity can be done virtually if preparation time is allotted. Ensure everyone can cut out the paper chips & shapes at home before. Run the game as designed, just ensure rules are clear and everyone can show their chips/shapes with their cameras on for ease of game play.  

Take it Further

Take it further by continuing to add more rules. Discuss how new ‘rules’ or laws may be brought into trading all the time. Go one step further by researching and examining trading laws in Canada or other countries. Do you think these ‘rules’ are fair?