Guide > Email Role-Play Templates

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  Online Role-Play


Authors:Marie Jasinski, Design Planet and Sivasailam "Thiagi" Thiagarajan, QBInternational


Email Roleplay Games

The two simple roleplay games following are offered as models. Brief discussion is provided on each, plus a rich text format ("word-processor friendly") template to help you trial the idea:

Galactic Wormhole




The purpose of this role-play is to explore both sides of a controversial issue. Depolarizer is based on the philosophy that many issues we treat as problems to be solved are actually polarities to be managed.


The product is a balanced list of positive and negative statements about a controversial issue that can be used as a basis for discussion or action planning around that issue.

Overview of the process

During the six rounds of the role-play, players explore the issue from both a personal perspective and also from a designated role. By informing the players about the range of positions, the aim is to increase their awareness of the spread of opinions around the issue. By having players randomly role-play extreme positions, they are encouraged to think about different points of view. By reviewing extremely polarized comments, players make more informed decisions. The roleplay typically encourages players at extremes to get closer to the average. Thus, it may not change anyone’s opinion, but it increases players’ level of awareness of alternative points of view.

Flow of the roleplay

Round 1
Participants anonymously indicate their position toward a controversial issue on a 9-point attitude scale. Eg You must be a mug to teach online or Do lurkers learn?

Round 2
Each player predicts the average attitude rating of all inputs. The most accurate predictor wins the round.

Round 3
Players assume randomly assigned positive or negative roles. Each player contributes exaggerated statements about the costs or benefits associated with the selected issue from the point of view of a person with the assigned role.

Round 4
Players review the statements and again send in their position on the same 9-point scale.

Round 5
Each player once again predicts the average attitude rating of all inputs and a winner is announced.

Round 6
The winner is announced. Players are invited to debrief about the management of polarities or other issues raised as a result of the role-play.

Template and Facilitator Instructions

Here is the Depolarizer Template. It includes a complete set of step-by-step instructions for facilitating the role-play.




To explore how stakeholder groups could influence positive or negative outcomes.


Analysis and understanding of factors that could influence specific positive and negative consequences.

Flow of the roleplay

In this role-play game, players participate in a time-travel scenario and are projected into the future via a wormhole to explore an issue relevant to their context – (eg, How an E-Business strategy turned out in the year 2007).

Round 1
Players are randomly assigned either a utopian or a dystopian version of the role-play and given a stakeholder role from which to view the issue on question. eg business development manager, teacher, managing director, IT consultant, customer.

They are then asked to submit a 150 word story to a facilitator which outlines how their designated stakeholder contributed to either this utopian or dystopian future. In this round, players don’t know there is another scenario or a range of stakeholder roles.

Round 2
The facilitator collates the role-play stories under the stakeholder roles and posts them on a Web site or sends them back via email to the whole group.

After reviewing all optimistic and pessimistic postings, players submit their five top ideas for ensuring a utopian future for the issue in question.

Round 3
The list of ideas are collated by the facilitator and sent back to the whole group.
Players then vote on the top five ideas which can be used as a basis for planning the next step in ensuring a utopian outcome.

Players then join in a facilitated discussion using a bulletin board or chat.

Template and facilitator instructions

Here is the Galactic Wormhole Template. It includes a complete set of step-by-step instructions for facilitating the role-play.




 Guide > Email Role-Play Templates

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