[game piece] This is Your Lifeline! [game piece]

The Game of Cumulative Risk and Protective Factors


Note: Specific instructions to players on the web are {in red, enclosed in curly brackets}.

[Note to presenters: In presenting this game in undergraduate, graduate, and adult classes, we've used a number of embellishments. In the original doctoral class there was a computerized random number generator that everyone could see. In other classes, we pretended we had a giant spinner and got the random numbers from the page numbers of any handy book. I brought in a kid's electronic keyboard with a "demo" song we used as the theme song and sound effects corresponding to "risk" and "protection." In addition to the volunteers who became contestants, a Vanna White type person passed out risk and protective cards (made from green and red/orange construction paper, four to a page, like the orange and green graphics on this site). You may want to consider adding such things to make it more interesting. See also "Note to presenters" after the list of contestants (just below).]

As the "This is Your Lifeline" musical theme fades out...

Announcer: "This is Your Lifeline," with your hosts, Steve & Stacey!

Steve: Welcome to "This is Your Lifeline," the game of risk, chance, and luck that asks the question "How will you fare in life?"

Stacey: A very good question Steve, but before we find out--let's meet our contestants.

{A character from the list below is assigned at random to each participant. Each character has a set of life circumstances up to age nine. (The characters that follow are in order from greatest risk / least protection to greatest protection / least risk.) Click on a name to see the character's "bio."}


[Note to presenters: In the original presentation in our doctoral class, there were 14 students other than the presenters, thus we created 14 contestants. Since then I've used only 4 contestants (or even 3) for presentations of the game in other classes. The point comes across equally well, and many more contestants is simply too time consuming. I typically use: Tony Sanchez, Samantha Reston, Philip Bouchard, and Elisabeth Francis. A presenter of this game might want to consider looking over the details of the contestants' bios and editing, adapting, combining, etc. as desired; if so, keep in mind that the initial risk rating should still make sense.]

{Click on your contestant's name, read the bio, then come back here.}
(Continue through the list of contestants.)

(Announcer reads bios.)

Steve: Thank you, and we're happy to have everyone with us today. Alright, this is how we play the game. There will be three rounds. When it is your turn, you will choose three different numbers between 1 and 20 from the random generator.

(Any system of choosing numbers randomly from 1 to 20 may be used, even slips of folded paper numbered 1-20 drawn from a cup. Do not replace the slips of paper to the cup until all three numbers have been chosen. In presentations in classes, we have used phone numbers in a phone book and, alternatively, the page numbers of a regular book, looking at the last two digits and interpreting the "tens" place digit as a "1" if odd and as a "0" if even, with "00" substituting for "20.")

As you choose your numbers yell them out so that everyone can hear. These numbers will correspond to life events. Each life event is worth a certain number of points which you will receive for that round.

[game piece][game piece] Stacey: Based on the points you get each round, you will be given a few risk or protective factor cards. Protective cards are green and risk cards are orange. The goal of the game is to get as many green protective cards, and as few orange risk cards, as possible. If you get high numbers, like near 20, you'll experience more supportive life-events, and that will add up to protective factor cards. If you get low numbers, like near 1, your unfortunate experiences are associated with greater risk for the future.

Steve: All contestants have been assigned an initial number of cards based on their life situation. {If you don't remember what cards you are supposed to begin with, go back to your contestant's bio.}

Stacey: Okay, we're ready to begin.

Round 1

In round 1, for each player:

Step 1. Find which page each contestant will use from the following chart: (This chart will change from round to round. You may also consult the cumulative "Cards to Pages Conversion" chart.)

3 or 4 orange risk cards .........page 12-1
2 orange risk cards ..............page 12-2
1 orange card, 0, 1 green card ...page 12-3
2 or 3 green protective cards ....page 12-4

Step 2. Draw 3 random numbers between 1 and 20. A simple random number generator has been added to each "Life Events" page (i.e., page 12-1, page 12-2, etc., which are linked above), if you would like to use it online.

Step 3. Read the 3 life events on the appropriate page for the contestant.

Step 4. Add the 3 random numbers together (from step 2), and consult the following chart:

Points to Cards Conversion:

Step 5. The contestant receives the number of cards indicated above. Remember that an orange risk card and a green protective card cancel each other. (Cancelled cards are returned to Vanna.) The cards the contestant now has will be used at the beginning of the next round to determine what page he or she will land on.

Round 2

In round 2, for each player:

Step 1. Find which page each contestant will use from the following chart: (You may also consult the cumulative "Cards to Pages Conversion" chart.)

4-7 orange risk cards ...........page 15-1
2 or 3 orange risk cards ........page 15-2
1 orange risk card ..............page 15-3
0 cards .........................page 15-4
1 or 2 green protective cards ...page 15-5
3-6 green protective cards ......page 15-6

Step 2 through Step 5 (as in round 1).

Round 3

In round 3, for each player:

Step 1. Find which page each contestant will use from the following chart: (You may also consult the cumulative "Cards to Pages Conversion" chart.)

6-10 orange risk cards ..........page 19-1
4 or 5 orange risk cards ........page 19-2
2 or 3 orange risk cards ........page 19-3
1 orange risk card ..............page 19-4
0 cards .........................page 19-5
1 or 2 green protective cards ...page 19-6
3 or 4 green protective cards ...page 19-7
5-9 green protective cards ......page 19-8

Step 2 through Step 5 (as in round 1).

As the "This is Your Lifeline" musical theme fades in...

Announcer: Thanks for playing "This is Your Lifeline!"

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View a PowerPoint presentation on Teen Risk Factors, which provides supportive information.
Go to the original version of our Supportive Information or to Discussion Questions.
Go back to the INTRODUCTION.
If you would like to copy/download the materials needed to run this simulation in the classroom, click here.

Get information about (or buy) the book Lifelines and Risks: Pathways of Youth in Our Time by Robert B. Cairns & Beverley D. Cairns (1995), which provided the theoretical and empirical basis for this game/simulation. [book cover]

Go to Psychology Resources.
Go to Psychological Sense of Community.
Go to Recommended popular books related to psychology.

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