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Playing The Red-Blue Game

The Red-Blue game is an engaging and insightful tool

The game, developed by the US military in the 1950s and now in the public domain, is a staple in negotiation training offered by Rational Games Inc.​ The red-blue demonstrates whether people display a win-win (cooperative) or win-lose orientation (selfish competitive) in a semi-serious environment.

In the Red-Blue game, participants are divided into two teams. The game is played over ten rounds, where teams independently decide to "Play Red" or "Play Blue". The scoring system rewards cooperation and punishes undue competition, while also tempting teams to defect. Notably, participants can meet twice during the game to negotiate and devise strategies to maximize their collective payout.

Mark Young at TEDxWHU
Playing The Red-Blue Game

It was my privilege to tell our story at a recent TedX Conference. We truly believe that the urge to play is greater than the urge to fight. In the talk, I explain how we are putting that into action.

The game is designed to reveal the importance of communication, trust, and precise goal-setting in negotiations. Offering deeper insights into negotiation dynamics, showing how even small, short-term moves can contribute to positive or negative cycles in negotiation.

In summary, the Red-Blue game is an engaging and insightful tool for understanding and practising negotiation strategies, highlighting the importance of cooperation, trust, and communication in achieving mutually beneficial outcomes.

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