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Challenge Cards

Object of Play

To identify and think through challenges, problems and potential pitfalls in a product, service or strategy.

Number of Players

Works best with small groups of 5-10

How to Play

Divide each group into two teams. One team, the “solution team” silently brainstorms features and strengths of the product or solution. The other team, the “challenge team” silently brainstorms potential problems or challenges and writes them on index cards, one problem or challenge per card.

When play commences, the two teams work together to tell a collaborative story. The challenge team picks a card from the deck and plays it on the table, describing a scene or event where the issue might realistically arise. The solution team must then pick a card from their deck that addresses the challenge. If they have a solution they get a point, and if they don’t have a solution the challenge team gets a point. The teams then work together to design a card that addresses that challenge.  Play continues in this fashion, challenge followed by solution followed by challenge, and so on, until the story or scenario reaches a conclusion.


The goal of this game is to improve a product or strategy by thinking through various scenarios and alternatives. By turning the exercise into a competition as well as a storytelling game, players are more likely to get engaged and immerse themselves in the scenarios. Keeping it lighthearted and fun will increase the energy. It shouldn’t feel like work.

Michelle Ide-Smith wrote a great blog post called Playing with Challenge Cards where she shares some insights into how to use this game to generate ideas and insights.

This game emerged spontaneously during a Gamestorming workshop in London in 2010.

1 thought on “Challenge Cards

  1. […] week we tried out the Challenge Cards game. The object of play is described in Gamestorming as: To identify and think through challenges, […]

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