‘Ready’ was developed as an innovative way to have focused conversations with communities around location-specific disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction. ‘Ready’ is a physical game that can be played using any disaster scenario, and is most effective using a realistic scenario for the participants.

Learning Outcomes

communication skills, disaster preparedness, teamwork.
With extended debriefing and follow-up planning a good community “early warning – early action” contingency plan can be generated.

Facilitator Skill Level

2 out of 5

Intended Audience

Community members. The game can also be played with disaster managers/volunteers/ branch officers etc.

Number of Players

As many teams of 5-10 players as desired. At least 2 teams
of 3 or more are needed to play, ideally teams consist of five players each

Time Needed for instructions and game play

30 minutes

Time Needed for extended debriefing/EW-EA contingency planning:

30-60 minutes


8 Index Cards per team. Each card has 3 blank lines with Team Name, Priority and Difficulty written in top right corner, next to each line. (An example can be found on the last page). Alternatively, use blank sheets, but best in different colours, one colour for each team.
Notebook/blank sheet and pens (a few for each team)
20 Beans per team
20 Dice per team
Prizes for the winning team(s)
1-3 volunteer “helpers” familiar with the game (1 enough for small group, 2-3 needed for large player groups in communities of 30 or more)

Playspace Requirements (physical space needed for the game)

A large open space, at least 20 by 20 meters. Mentally prepare and agree with the “helpers” the boundaries of the game area.


The team with the highest total of priority action points at the end of the game wins.



1) The facilitator must first select an emergency that the game will simulate.
Example: “The river is rising and will reach your village this week. What will you do to make sure your household and community is prepared?”
2) The community is divided into teams of about 6 players (you can have as many teams as needed, generally teams of 5-10 players works well).
3) Each team must come up with as many actions as they can think of to complete in the event of the emergency scenario given. The team leader will write down all of the actions on a piece of paper.

FACILITATOR: generate some competitive spirit by having the teams see who can come up with the most actions; each team must come up with at least 8 early actions.

4) The teams will then select 8 of most important actions from the list they have brainstormed. They write each action on a piece of paper (thus creating eight pieces of paper with one action each).
5) Each team is given 20 beans. These beans are used to indicate priority. Teams assign each action at least 1 bean, and then assign the rest of the beans according to the priority of each action. So the more important the action, the more beans it gets. Each team must uses all 20 beans, assigning at least 1 bean per action. Teams record on each action paper, the number of beans assigned to that action, labelled ‘Priority.’
6) Each team is given 20 dice. These dice represent difficulty of the action. Each team now assigns the dice to the action, in the same manner as they assigned the beans:
• At least one die per action
• The most dice go to the most difficult tasks
• Assign all 20 die amongst your actions
Teams record on each action paper, the number of dice assigned to that action, labelled ‘Difficulty’
7) While the facilitator explains next steps, the co-facilitators (“helpers”) distribute the early action cards in the larger play area; place each card with the dice on top of it – put as many dice as the number of difficulty points indicate. 

The play space should be at least 20 meters by 20 meters.

Note: If played out-door each action card should be at least 5 meters away from any other action. They should be far enough away from each other that players might want to run from action to action. If the community is small, it would be good to place the actions in their appropriate locations (example: “get water” would be placed close to a river). In most situations, though, actions will be placed around an open space.

See Facilitator Guidance for step-by-step facilitation guidance.

End of the Game
When the time is up, all the players in a team bring their actions together. Each team adds up the number of priority points (beans) recorded on each action they completed. The team with the most points wins.


Teams play at the same time in the same area. Important: teams must clearly mark their actions with their team names so that they don’t get mixed up (or use separately coloured paper for each group). Players should only complete the actions of their own team.

Rule 1: Players have one minute to complete as many actions as possible. However, if playing in a community with a larger group of people, who will search and collect early action cards over a larger area, you may allocate 2 minutes.
Rule 2: In order to complete an action, a player must roll the die attached to that action until she rolls a 1. Even if an action has multiple dice, the player may only roll one die at a time.
Rule 3: If multiple people are working on one action, they may each roll one die so that multiple die are being rolled at the same time. This helps speed up the completion of the action.
Rule 4: When a player completes an action she must take the dice and piece of paper for that action with her.



This game was developed with support from the American Red Cross (International Services Team), and from a research grant to the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre from the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN Action Lab Innovation Fund).