The Marketplace...

A few years back I returned from Israel determined to help my Bible in School's class grasp the daily reality of life in the time of Jesus. I created this game for that purpose. The kids in my class helped me modify it so that it worked well. We loved playing it!

Be warned; it is noisy and slightly chaotic (as all good games should be). It takes a little time to make up all the cards, but once you have made it you can use the game over and over. 

The aim of the game is to enter the first century market place and trade and sell your goods. The prices are accurate to what they would have cost in Jesus' day, based on what we know from the ancient texts; the Mishnah, the New Testament, and archaeological       discoveries.  However, it is hard to be certain about the exact cost of items. You can see ‘Daily Life at the Time of Jesus’ by Miriam Vamosh for more detail (to purchase).  

So, when someone goes to the market place to buy olive oil, the price they will have to pay is the price that Mary would have paid when she went to the market in Nazareth as a girl. 

All the resources you need to play this game can be found in our Dropbox folder. Here's the link to all you need: Click here to download the game!

Here's the instructions, which are written in full in a document in the Dropbox folder

 What can a shekel buy?

You will need:
· At least: 3 coins per player, 3 resource cards and 2 task cards (see dropbox folder).
· You need a leader to set up at a “trading booth” with spare coins, resource cards and task cards.

To play:
1. To start the game each player needs 3 coins, 3 resource cards and 1 task card. 
Rent a house!
- The Coin is a first century shekel, like the one in the picture above.
- The resource card has a resource on it, like a sheep or olive oil or a house rental.
- The task card tells you what to do.

2.  The goal is to finish their tasks. 
Example:  You are a sheep farmer.  You have come to market to buy 2 new lambs. To complete the task the player can:
· Approach another player and trade resource cards
(i.e. I trade my ram for your lamb)
· Approach another player and sell one of their resource
cards (i.e. trade my ram for 4 shekels)
· Approach another player with the ‘lamb’ resource card
and use their shekels to buy a lamb off them (i.e. buy your lamb for 2 shekels).

3. Once a task is completed the player goes to the trading
booth and trades in their task card. They get given the number of shekels listed on the task card (i.e. 4 shekels for completing the task of buying a ram, 12 shekels for the task of buying a bag of wheat).  

 4. The player gets a new task card and continues to play with the rest of the cards in their hands.

To Win: 
There are two ways to win:
- The Ox: The Ox is a very valuable animal. It costs 50 shekels. If a player can save up 50 shekels and buy the Ox they win the game. 
- When the time limit is up (set this as suits your programme) the player with the most shekels wins. 

Suggestions for younger players:
- Have a leader or two playing the game so they can trade with players who are struggling, to make sure that everyone in the game has some success. 
- If a player is struggling to complete their trading card they can take it back to the trading booth and swap it for another one.

Why play this game?
For one, it is great fun! But it also gives a great backdrop to many of Jesus' parables and the
accounts in the gospels. Money, trading, shepherds, markets... these all turn up in the
And my children started paying attention to these details. They realised how valuable the
shekel was that the woman lost in Jesus' parable. They realised how expensive and valuable some items were and how hard people worked.

So, give it a go and let me know how you got on!
Annette Osborne



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