Crossfire injects a little drama into a meeting while establishing a safe environment for those that like to argue. Meeting attendees select a topic of interest prior to the meeting, and two people prepare to discuss it from two different viewpoints. This game is a great way to explore potentially controversial ideas, learn about new products or technologies, or assess the competition’s latest move.

Object of Play
The object of Crossfire is simply to provide two different points of view as animatedly as possible. Players benefit from the research they do to prepare, and spectators benefit from hearing different sides of an issue. If desired, spectators can vote on which player is more persuasive, but this is optional.

Number of Players
1 moderator (optional), 2 players and up to 40 spectators

Duration of Play
2 to 3 minutes, plus prep time

How to Play
A. Preparation

  1. Prior to the meeting, the topic or issue and two players are selected. Each player represents one side of the issue, either by volunteering or by being nominated to take a given position. Sample topics might include:
    • We should/should not develop a certain new product;
    • Our competitor’s newest offering poses/does not pose a serious threat to us;
    • We should/should not hire a new marketing manager; and so on.
  2. Each player prepares a 30-second or 1-minute position statement in advance. (30 seconds for a 2-minute game; 1 minute for a 3-minute game.) Each player should also prepare rebuttals to arguments they expect their opponent to raise.

B. Play

  1. To begin, flip a coin to see which player goes first. The moderator, if there is one, is responsible for keeping time. If there is no moderator, appoint one of the spectators to keep time.
  2. Establish a physical space for the players, like a circle of chairs. Players should stand inside the space, and spectators should stand all around the players in a crowd or ring.
  3. The first player gives his or her opening statement (either 30 seconds or 1 minute) to the spectators. When s/he is finished, the other player gives his or her opening statement (same length of time).
  4. For the remaining minute, the players face each other and argue for their own position and/or against their opponent’s. During this time, players should attempt to rebut statements made by the opponent, or strengthen arguments they themselves have made. This is not a polite debate, but a heated argument. Players should act out and have fun!

C. Concluding the Game

  1. When the minute is up, spectators can be asked to vote by applause or by moving to stand next to the player they agree with (optional).
  2. The game may be opened up for questions at this point, so that spectators can ask for clarification from either or both players.

Players should keep in mind that their goal is to convey information and persuade others of their point of view, even if they personally do not hold that view. Their remarks should be focused on the information they are conveying, rather than on their opponent personally.

Key Points

  • The moderator should create a safe space for Crossfire to take place. Players may act very excited, yell, gesticulate, and so on, but they should refrain from personal attacks, inappropriate language, or unprofessional actions. It should be clear that Crossfire is a game, and that one of the primary goals is to convey information to the spectators.
  • Players need not represent a viewpoint they actually hold. In fact, it can be very enlightening and entertaining to argue passionately from the side of the issue that one would not normally take.

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