Close this search box.

Weapons of War


[This game works best if the arms dealers and game leader encourage teams to buy the latest weapons and to wage war; spread rumours (e.g. you are going to be attacked). Discourage any moves to make peace.]

Explain that this is a game involving two teams, who raise money to buy weapons from arms dealers. The game proceeds through a cycle of peace (with the teams working hard to earn money to buy weapons) and war. Each war is staged with the ‘latest’ weapons.

Decide who will be the arms dealer(s) and give them the “Instructions for Arms Dealers” activity sheet. Decide who will be the trader who will buy whatever the teams produce and give them currency. Split everyone else into two equal teams. Give each team a base, e.g. a row of chairs, facing the other team’s base with about five metres separating them. Encourage each team to stay at their own base. The teams should work hard to make money: design some simple task, e.g. cutting up paper to make circles, or if outdoors collecting pebbles or litter! The teams take whatever they make / find to the trader, who exchanges the goods for currency. Arms dealers should visit the teams at their bases to sell them the latest weapons. Most of the weapons are sold as raw materials, so the teams have to spend time making the weapons – e.g. paper aeroplanes.

After about five to seven minutes of frantic activity, encourage the teams to start a war (what’s the point in having these weapons if you don’t get to use them?). Allow the teams
to battle it out for a short time – after the first round (lances) discourage hand-to-hand combat and try to keep the teams behind their bases, launching missiles at the other team. Declare the war over, and remove all the weapons from circulation. As an extension for older participants or large teams, you might want to put injured workers into a team hospital, where they have to be looked after.

Start again with the teams working to make money through the simple task, with the next weapon on offer from the arms dealers. When you reach the nuclear stage, try to ensure that both teams get hold of the nuclear bombs at the same time. Stop the game and tell them if they’re going to launch their bomb, everyone in the team has to agree, and then give the bomb to the game leader to deliver to the other team. This gives the other team a few seconds to decide if they are going to retaliate. Perhaps at this stage, someone will suggest peace.

Instructions for arms dealers

Do not reveal these instructions to the teams.

The success of this game depends on you! The aim is for the teams to work really hard to buy weapons from you and then wage war on the other team. They get injured and remain poor. You get rich!

Be a salesman! The teams really need the weapons you’re selling. You should extract the maximum amount of money that you can from them, so that they keep working hard.

But try to keep it equal! The point of the game is not that one team is stronger than the other. So sell the same arms to both teams, and offer them at different prices if necessary to try and keep both teams equally armed.

We will release different weapons in order:

  1. lances
  2. cannon balls (crumpled balls of newspaper)
  3. rockets (paper for making paper aeroplanes)
  4. nuclear bomb

Try to discourage any attempts at making peace – you won’t make money that way. You’re working with another arms dealer … but try to appear independent; at the very end you will both be declared the “winners” (unless a peace treaty is signed, in which case you are out of a job).

Resources Required

“Instructions for Arms Dealers” activity sheet (attached); thick paper or newspaper to make lances; sheets of newspaper to crumple to make cannon balls; A4 paper to make paper aeroplanes; two or three cut-out card nuclear bombs; currency, e.g. marbles.


Share this Activity:

Our website uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you agree to our cookie notice

Skip to content