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The EQD Re-Creational Games: Game Rules & Guidelines

THE EQD Re-Creational GAMES

An Overview

"Reflections," engages the player in a process of review and reflection on the pattern, causes and dynamics to his or her emotional life. The player sorts through 52 distinct emotional experiences. Reflection heightens conscious awareness; it facilitates choice and cultivation through the repeated measures and feedback on ones efficacy in emotional self-regulation & life management.

In "Pair-O-Dimes," the player with the best poker hand wins half the pot; the person with the best hand of emotion cards wins half the pot. In this game, players talk about emotions, values are clarified, and through the rules of the game positive interactions and social support are strengthened. Players also discuss the paradigm of competition (winners/losers) vs. cooperation.

With "In Sight Connections," the players take turn self-disclosing and relating to one another in terms of the emotional hand they were dealt. Active listening, expression of feelings, learning, empathy and support are strengthened. The symbolic group winner gets to choose one of four psychological rewards that can be immediately conferred by the other players. Social support, good communication and self-expression are fostered.

"Hard Knocks" can be played with any of the traditional card games.

Brendas Game is a game of mutual challenge. Players take turns selecting one of their cards to give to another player. The other player then talks about their experiences related to the card. This is a more advanced game that draws upon the trust, intimacy and awareness of one another. The card selected for another player to focus upon is often especially relevant.

“Messenger Emotions Aloud” encourages the players to take turns in expressing the sometimes obvious and sometimes hidden message contained within emotion.

The EQD Re-Creational Games

Principles of Fair Play

Generally, it is best if one develops a team or support group to play the EQD games.  Teams can be drawn from existing friendships, classmates or housemates. Excellent teams can be made with those who share similar concerns, such as at the work place, at school, or at home.

The EQD games can be fun, educational and beneficial.  The games work with psychological principles, but they are not designed to be therapy or a substitute for professional therapy.  There may well be instances in which one of the players has more going on with him or her than can be safely or appropriately handled by other group members. The following rules and understandings should be agreed to by all the team players.

Group Rules, Agreements and Understandings

The following understandings and rules should be periodically read and agreed to by all the team members. These rules are not exhaustive. Teams can improve upon the set of agreements if so desired. The rules presented represent the minimal necessary to protect team members from mindless mistakes.

  1.   Participation and the level of participation are always voluntary.
  2.   Self-disclosure and the level of self-disclosure are always voluntary.
  3.   Confidentiality is observed and respected.  Players may speak to other persons outside their team about their own personal feelings, thoughts, reactions and learning; but not about the private information regarding team member.
  4.   Negative, destructive criticism, or criticism that is motivated to hurt or put down another is against the spirit of these games.  It is therefore against the rules of the game to humiliate, embarrass or betray the trust of team members.
  5.   All players must agree to these ground rules before playing the EQD games.  This means occasionally discussing these rules to ensure understanding and agreement.

Ethics and Principles of Care and Conduct

The following are suggested guidelines with regard to ethical ways of entering the games.

  1.   Neither hurt or harm others, nor yourself.
  2.   Be honest.  Show and tell if, when and how the games help you.
  3.   Be an example of the Good Student of Life: willing to study and learn, to ask good questions of yourself and of others, to share what you know and to acknowledge what you dont.
  4.   Experiment, have fun, take some risks, and dont make the same mistake too often.
  5.   Be as a leaf unto a tree, accepting of your inevitable stages in life, mindful of your connection to the larger whole.
  6.   As well as you can, work, love and play, for lofty as well as earthly goods.
  7.   Nurture your relations: with your Self, with family and friends, with your community, species and kindred creatures of the world.
  8.   To thine own Self be true; when possible, let thy will be done.

THE EQD Re-Creational Games: Specific Rules of Play

Ray Launier, Ph.D.  © 1996-2006



To win half the pot, either by having the best poker hand, or by having the best hand of emotion cards.  In terms of how it would be to feel the way described on the cards for the rest of your life, which hand of cards would you rather live with?


Pair-O-Dimes is the introductory game to the EQD games. This game introduces the player to the 52 states of emotions and feelings.  The game is fun.  It involves play acting and making the best of cards dealt to you by the luck of the draw.  Finally it requires the players to clarify their values in being human and being alive. In ways of Being human, the paradigms of competition vs. cooperation are brought into play.

Game Rules:

  1.          Pair-O-Dimes begins with the same rules of 5-Card Draw poker, according to Hoyle.  If you dont know 5-card draw, ask someone with you. The key difference from traditional 5-card draw is that in Pair-O-Dimes there are two winners.
  2.          The game begins with the dealer shuffling the deck and then dealing 5 cards to each player, one card at a time, going from one player to the next in a clockwise direction.  Players ante up: a coin, a chip, a pair of dimes, or whatever you are playing for, fun or profit.
  3.          Then, if you believe you can improve your hand, you can have the dealer exchange up to but no more than three new cards for cards you might want to discard.  Once this has been completed, then the players can begin the process of betting on who has the best hand.  Once the betting has been completed, then the hands are played.
  4.          First, in turn, each player tells and shows what their cards say and tries to make the best case they can as to how and why it would be great to feel the way described on the cards. Bluffing, exaggerating, putting a positive spin on the cards, or just plain gloating over how good your hand is, is part of the fun and creative challenge to Pair-O-Dimes.
  5.          Once everyone playing has had his or her turn, then the group as a whole seeks consensus as to which hand is the best hand.  Which hand would you rather live with; which feels best, is healthiest or most growth promoting?
  6.          The person who has the best poker hand wins half the pot; the best hand of emotions wins the remaining half.  But if  the group cannot reach consensus or majority rule about the hand that feels the best, then this portion of the pot is left and added to the pot for the next round of 5-Card Draw.  If two hands are  judged equally good, then this portion of the pot is divided between the two.
  7. This game can be played for as many rounds of play as time allows. Sharing observations and reflections adds to the enjoyment and benefits to this newly fashioned game.  Pair-O-Dimes bridges the old ways of competition and playing your cards close to your chest with the new spirit of sharing, cooperation and openness.  Which do you prefer?



To reflect upon and seek insight and understanding to the patterns and dynamics of your emotional life.


Reflections is the central game to Emotology.  It is through this game that the player sorts through and measures the prevailing and developing patterns to his or her emotional life.  Reflection generates the measures of stress balance in ones emotional life, and provides feedback on improvements in emotional life.

Game Rules:

  1.          First, shuffle the EQD deck of emotion cards.  Then, take the 7 scale cards and arrange them across the table from "0 = not at all" to  "6 = very much."
  2.          Now, from the top of the deck, take one card at a time, read it completely, and then decide to what extent you have felt the way described on the card, and put the card into one of the seven stacks that comes closest to showing how much you have felt this card, from not at all to very much.
  3. In the process of reflecting, you need to decide what is the time period you are reviewing, and to be consistent with this as you sort your way through the deck.  The time period may be the current day, the past week, the past month, (d) life in general these days, or (e) some other time period, such as your childhood.
  1.          Sort through all 52 emotional states, one at a time.  As you sort through and reflect upon the cards, consider what caused you to feel this particular way.  The more you play Reflections, the more youll come to recognize what role you and what role your situation plays in creating these emotional states.  When you have completed the sort, look over the relative position and balance between the red cards and the black cards. This will give you a visual perspective on the relative balance between the distress emotions and the more healthy emotions.
  2.          Once you have sorted through the cards, then you can also record your responses on the accompanying record sheets: Reflections Profile. To do this, draw a little circle around the dot which corresponds to the scale card number, from "0" to "6", into which you had sorted the cards. This generates a profile on your emotional life pattern.
  3.      To derive your stress balance score, add the total for all the scale values of the red cards and put this number in the box labeled "positive states", then add the scale values for all the blue cards and place this number in the box labeled  "distress states."

Emotional Stress Balance (ESB) is the % of positive emotions of all the emotions experienced.

ESB =  total  positive     x  100 =    %

  1.   all emotions

7.   Once the baseline has been established, then on a periodic basis resort the EQD cards and record the results obtained on the ESB Progress Log found on the first page of Appendix E. As you gain and apply insight from the other EQD games, as you incorporate new behaviors and habits as suggested in the WISE inventory, you can use the feedback on results obtained to be goal-directed and goal-corrected in your quest for greater emotional wisdom. In this fashion, emotional growth and development are given a method and science.  



To make good connections, in terms of self-awareness regarding the dynamics and patterns to our emotions, and in connecting with the other players through talk, listening and discussion.


In Sight Connections is the game that stimulates close and trusting communication.  It is designed to encourage active sharing and listening, mutual support and understanding, appreciation and insight into ourselves in sight of one another.

Game Rules:  There are two phases or periods of play to In Sight Connections.

First Period of Play

  1.          The deck is shuffled and the players are dealt five cards from the deck.
  1.          In the usual order of play, starting with the player to the dealers left side, players take turn relating to the cards dealt to them by telling a brief but true story of how the emotion cards come up in their life.
  1.          The 5 cards can be arranged to tell a story of how they feel in terms of whats present or whats absent in their life.  Or, the story may be about how the emotions are experienced, some concern or problem related to the emotions, something learned to pass along, or some question that remains unanswered, some problem unsolved. The story told should have some human interest to it: something true, something real, something that has feeling, passion, drama and emotion to it.
  1.          When one player talks, the other players listen, not patiently passive but as active, facilitating listeners.  After the speaker tells his or her brief story--perhaps 3 to 5 minutes and no more than 10--then the next player goes.  The first period of play is over when all the players have told a story in relation to their hand of cards drawn.  Players connect with the cards, then with each other.

 Second Period of Play

The deck is reshuffled, and the person who draws the highest card is the designated winner.  The winner chooses one of the following four prizes.

Appreciation: Five to ten minutes of having the other players express their positive feelings, appreciation and affirmations about you.  Only the positive is affirmed and expressed.

Caring Feedback: Five to ten minutes of receiving both constructive and helpful feedback on how to be a "better" person, sandwiched in between the affirmations or appreciation.

Group Massage:  A ten minute shoulder, hand, head and/or foot massage.

Power & Control!:  Option to select the "prize" and another player to be the winner.


Objective:  to draw a hand that captures closely how you have been feeling lately, and to then tell the story behind the cards.

Commentary:  Synchronicity is about the play of events in our lives, coincidents, which sometimes carries a hidden significance and opportunity for growth and development.  But it is not without its dangers, for when "my will gives way to thy will," when we go with the flow, when we go beyond ego, things stranger than fiction can happen, and we may lose ourselves to the mysteries of life.

Game Rules:

First Period of Play

The deck is shuffled and the players are dealt five cards, one at time and in turn from the deck. In the usual clockwise order of play, starting with the player to the dealers left side, the players take turns drawing a card from the top of the deck and then discarding a card. Alternatively, the player may choose the discarded card from the previous player.

This play goes on until a player develops a hand which comes very close to how he or she has actually been feeling lately in his or her life.  Other "house rules" may be devised to exchange cards.  When it comes to their turn, the first player to reach a near perfect fit between their hand and recent emotional experiences gets to shout: "Synch."  This person is the winner of this round, which concludes the first period of play. Second Period of Play

The "winner" now tells the story behind the cards held.  This story, like all good stories, has a beginning, a middle and an ending.  The middle is about the actual cards and how he or she has been feeling.  The beginning is about how this all started, what led up to it, including who, when, where, how and why.  The ending is about how it comes out, what will happen next, and what kind of outcome is expected, hoped for or wanted.

The other players listen, in a friendly, caring, supportive and even challenging way if this seems appropriate.  The other players listen in an active way, seeking to understand, both the story and what, if anything, could be helpful beyond the help of good listening.

As time goes on and the players come to know one another better and better, a time comes when we can sense in one another the places in which we become stuck.  Whether these stuck places have to do with the situations, the habits of thinking, the attitudes, fears, or ways of avoiding,  once the stuck places can be identified, then the possibility arises of becoming unstuck. In this regard, the  experiences and suggestions of the other players may show a way out.  This is not so much a matter of advising or telling another what to do, but of providing support, encouragement and food for thought.

Hard Knocks

Hard Knocks can be played with any of the traditional card games, such as with bridge, whist, hearts, cribbage, etc.  If player wants to talk about one of the emotion card, he or she knocks on the table to suspend the usual play.  Discussion is the purpose; to relieve the distress and relive the rest. 

Brendas Game 


To facilitate and challenge team mates to reflect more deeply on particular emotional states and dynamics especially pertinent to them. DO NOT play this game until you have gotten to play the other EQD games with the other players first.


Brendas game is the most recent addition to the EQD games. This game is a more advanced game that builds upon the understanding we develop of one another through the games. There are times when we sense and feel that there may be something more going on with one of our teammates; perhaps some significant experience, some interesting insight, or a dilemma yet to be resolved. This games represents an interesting request to go deeper, to explore the subsurface dynamics to our emotional life.

Game Rules:

  1. The dealer deals 5 cards, one at a time, to each of the players in turn. Players play with the cards dealt to them by chance, fate, etc.
  1. Staring with the player to the left of the dealer, this person selects a card for another player to reflect upon and discuss. This is an invitation to say more, not a command. Players never relinquish their freedom to participate at the level in which they are comfortable.
  1. After the player has finished, then he or she selects one of her cards to give to another player. The selection of the next player need not go in clock wise fashion; it can be anybody selected by the player who has just finished.
  1. In this fashion, all the players have a turn to select a card and another to complete one or two rounds to Brendas game.
  1. Whatever follow-up discussion that ensues among the players can focus on what has been learned or gained, individually or collectively from this game.

Messenger Emotions Aloud

Purpose: to reflect upon and discuss what is experienced and what is understood about human emotions, their kind, nature, message and significance, by adults. This “game” will help you gather information and insight for “Mini” essay on one EQD Emotion. See EQD project report guidelines.


  1. In small groups of 4-6, shuffle the deck and deal 5 cards to each player.
  1. Then drawing one card at a time each player selects and reads one the card aloud and leads the discussion as to one or more of the following:
    1. how the emotion named in the card is experienced,
    2. what are some things one can do to either have more or less of the emotion described.
    3. What is the possible “message” that is contained with the emotional experience vs. just being a feeling
    4. What is the significance of the emotion for health and growth
    5. What do young adult know or not yet know about this emotional experience
  1. After 3-5 minutes per card, move on to the next player. But make a note of key issues or questions to bring back for broader discussion as a whole.
  1. Make one complete round of all the players, and then go on to the second and third rounds as time allows.

Questions or Issues, Insights or Comments: