Time to Choose



Marcy Lielasus-Dwyer
Craig M. Ellsworth
Alexandra G. Haag

Instructional Objective Given a variety of scenarios, learners will be able to balance their time among school, social, and paid or volunteer activities.


Learners and Context Learners are senior high school students. They can use this board game following class discussions or counseling sessions about balancing personal time. This game is suitable for practice or remediation inside or outside the classroom.


Rationale The subject matter involves making choices about how much time to spend on school, social, and paid or volunteer activities. A board game is suitable for this type of l earning because it reinforces understanding and encourages interaction. In addition, a board game provides a fun way of learning to balance personal time.


Rules Two to four players, each playing for himself or herself.

Object The object of the game is to become the first player to achieve a well-balanced life through trading "free" time for school, social, and paid or volunteer activities during a hypothetical one-week period.

Equipment The equipment consists of a board, a die, tokens, Time cards, Role cards, Quality cards, and activity cards for School, Social, and Work (paid or volunteer).

Preparation Place the board on a table and put the School, Social, and Work cards face-down on the board. Place the Role cards face-down on the table. Give each player 12 Time cards to represent the 24 hours of free time that he or she has for activities.

Each player chooses a token to represent his or her current position on the board.

All remaining Time cards and other equipment go to the Time Keeper.

Time Keeper Select a person to act as the Time Keeper. The Time Keeper collects Time cards from other players as they trade their free time for activities, whether by chance or by choice. The Time Keeper also gives out Quality cards to players who engage in certain activities with family or friends. If the Time Keeper plays in the game, his or her personal cards must be kept separate from the cards collected from other players.

The Play Starting with the Time Keeper, each player in turn throws the die. The player with the highest roll starts the game by:


1. drawing a Role card,
2. reading his or her Role card out loud,
3. placing his or her token on the corner marked START,
4. throwing the die, and
5. placing his or her token on the activity path of his or her choosing,
then moving the number of spaces indicated by the die.

After the first player has completed his or her play, the turn to play passes to the left. The tokens remain on the spaces occupied and proceed from that point on the player's next turn. Two or more tokens may rest on the same space at the same time.

According to the space on which a player's token lands, he or she may be: (a) entitled to draw an activity card, (b) forced to jump to a different activity path, or (c) obliged to give up some free time to study for a test, help a friend, et cetera.

Drawing Activity Cards Whenever a player lands on a space marked DRAW, he or she draws the top card from the indicated deck (School, Social, or Work). The player can keep the activity card by giving the Time Keeper the number of Time cards equally the number of hours specified on the activity card. The player keeps the activity card to reflect how his or her free time was spent.

If the player does not wish to trade free time for the activity card, he or she returns the activity card face-down to the bottom of the appropriate deck.

Quality Cards Some activities involve spending time with family or friends. A player receives one Quality card for each activity that represents "quality" time, as indicated on the face of some activity cards. It is an advantage to receive Quality cards because in the case of a tie, the player with the most Quality cards wins the game.

Jumping Whenever a player lands on a space marked JUMP, the player must place his or her token on the indicated space. The token remains on that space and proceeds from that point on the player's next turn.

Changing Paths Whenever a player's token crosses a space marked with two arrows, the player can either continue on the current activity path or switch to the alternate path. If a player's token lands on a space marked with two arrows the player must move forward to the next space, either on the current path or the alternate path.

End of Game The game ends when any player has traded all of his or her Time cards for activity cards. The players then discuss who has achieved the best balance of time based on the Role cards picked at the beginning of the game. The player whose mix of activities most closely matches his or her Role card, wins. In the event of a tie, the player with the most Quality cards wins.

If the players cannot agree on a winner, the Time Keeper gives each player 3 Time cards (6 additional hours) and play resumes.

Deck Design This game uses 5 decks of cards. Role cards determine which activities a player should consider. Time cards represent the amount of free time that is available to each player. The remaining decks--School, Social, and Paid/Volunteer Work--represent the different types of activities that players may choose.


Design Process The first stage in the design process was to decide on the content of the game, in this case balancing personal time. The next step was the selection of a suitable format and structure. Once we had selected the format and structure, our next task was to design the board.

The final design stage involved developing rules. We decided that the rules for Monopoly (Parker Brothers, 1973) were fairly close to what we needed, so we simply made some changes to those rules.