created by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council
Activities for Transforming Teams
and Igniting Change
ATTIC is a collection of tools, games, and activities to inspire innovation, teamwork and engagement in health care settings.


In this activity, team members trade pieces of playing cards to put together complete cards. This activity is useful for showing team members others’ perspectives, building communication and negotiation skills, and helping individuals to develop empathy.

Download Activity Worksheet

  • 15-20 minutes
  • Minimum of 9
    • Playing cards (enough for 4-6 cards per team), cut into 4 triangular pieces
    • Envelopes
    • Private room
  • Source: Adapted from MindTools

What to do

  1. Cut each playing card in half diagonally, then in half diagonally again, so you have four triangular pieces for each card.
  2. Mix all of the pieces together and put equal numbers of cards into as many envelopes as you have teams.
  3. Divide people up into teams of three or four – you need at least three teams. Give each team an envelope of playing card pieces.
  4. Each team has three minutes to sort its pieces, determine which ones it needs to make complete cards, and develop a bargaining strategy. This strategy can be anything you like, but you might want to consider the best approach to get the cards you need – think bartering!
  5. After three minutes, allow the teams to start bartering for pieces. People can barter on their own or collectively with their team. Give the teams eight minutes to barter.
  6. When the time is up, count each team’s completed cards. Whichever team has the most complete cards wins the round.


  • Which negotiation strategies worked? Which didn’t?
  • What could you have done better?
  • What other communication and teamwork skills could have made this activity more successful?
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