Card games

Other potential uses of the Understanding Glasgow resource could involve playing a card game where the suits are based on themes of relevance in global, national and urban settings. 

For example, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health and the International Futures Forum, in collaboration with partners from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, recently developed a set of cards describing different aspects of a Changing world, Changing population, Changing policy and Changing practice.  These cards provide brief statements that describe different potential futures and were developed as a way of exploring what these futures might be like. 

Card Examples

Cheap, plentiful energy comes to an end

Private healthcare market expands

 (Changing world) 

Digital exclusion leads to increased destitution and e-health measures widen inequality

Living alone becomes the norm

(Changing population)

Rapid outsourcing of NHS services to private and voluntary sectors

NHS recreates itself as a healing, person centred service which focuses on people at all ages by redesigning its approach to care

(Changing policy)

New job role created to straddle between primary and secondary care to improve health for most marginal

Personal health budgets provided to those in greatest need

(Changing practice)

You can download a full set of the cards here .

How to use the cards…

The cards can be used in many different ways.  For example when exploring a specific question one practical approach might be to place four piles of cards, one for each suit on a table……a card is chosen at random. The statement on it is read out and the main points from the ensuing conversation (which should last for three minutes - no more - and should be timed) captured on a flip chart.  This process to be repeated until each person has chosen a card or the time available is used up.  The resulting flip chart material could then be used in a number of ways.  For example, it could be organised into key headings, prioritised, synthesised etc.

Links to IFF world game and Understanding Glasgow

Used in conjunction with the IFF world game, or Understanding Glasgow, cards like those described above could be used as wild cards in various stages of the game.  So for example in stage two as teams are developing their responses a card could be chosen at random, read out, and teams asked to include its implications in their responses.

Links to IFF’s three horizons framework

Used in conjunction with the IFF’s three horizons framework, such cards can also be used to chart out pathways to more desirable futures. Schools should note the intention of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education to provide three horizons kits to schools in Scotland during the course of this year.

The statements are arranged in a tabular format on the page in a way that facilitates them being printed and then cut out for use.  Clearly other new statements and ideas could be added. 

Other examples of card games

In addition to cards like those above, there are many varieties of thinking prompts which take the form of decks of cards.  The International Futures Forum has produced such a deck.  In this format, each card has a statement which helps to formulate ideas.  Such decks can also be used in a number of ways.

For example, a key issue is identified, participants are dealt a hand of cards and given a few minutes to take stock of their hand. Then a facilitator asks if anyone has a card which is useful in relation to the key issue identified, the person with such a card plays the card reads out the statement and tells the others how it relates to the issue.  Play continues in this way until all the cards are used up. 

Another possibility is to allow a prompt card to be drawn to stimulate a stuck discussion or search for a solution to a problem.  This approach can be extended into a play which feels like patience. 

An issue is identified then a number of cards, five or six is a good number, are laid face down on a table.  The first is turned over is described as a perspective on the issue, the second as an aspect of its past, the third its present, the fourth its future and the final two cards are read as advice in relation to resolving the issue.


The card statements shown are provided purely for illustrative purposes. The Glasgow Centre for Population Health does not endorse any of these statements.  These are merely provided as examples of possible outcomes that might be worth considering in thinking about potential futures for the city.