Activity 6 Intercultural Communication: “Barnga – Five Tricks”

Barnga players experience the intercultural shock and got surprised to learn that, despite their numerous similarities, people from various cultures interpret and communicate things differently by applying different rules.

Duration: 2 hours

1.Depending on the number of persons participating, set up for instance 3 tables with around 4 people in each. Each player should have a copy of the Barnga Five Tricks rules as well as a deck of cards at their table (use only 28 cards: Ace, 2,3,4,5,6 and 7 in each suit). 

2.To begin, have the participants play a couple games with the rules in place and no chatting permitted. Then everything is taken off the gaming tables. The game proceeds with each player at his own table. Talking is no longer permitted. 

3.The player who wins the most tricks progresses clockwise to the next table, while the one who loses the most tricks goes counterclockwise. 

4.The Trainer asks from each table to point with their finger who is the winner and the loses. They cannot use words; they have to agree with each other non-verbally.

5.The participants are unaware that each table has different set rules.

6. The details of the game: Italian Trulli

7. Even though this game is used mostly for introducing how different cultures have different values, this applies very well with the communication as well since each culture has its own verbal and non-verbal communication rules. Remember that players are not allowed to use words and talk to each other. They will be playing into the same game with different rules, and they have to explain their thoughts with gestures. You will see that many will be confused during the game.  This confusedness is the intercultural shock you are looking for.

8. Once the activity is over, ask again trainees to form a circle and reflect on questions like: a) How would you describe your emotions? b) How did you handle the situation? c) How did you feel when you understood that something is not right?