source: | 2000 Games, Devotions, Themes, Ideas and more for Youth Work
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Discharge papers

This game idea was sent in by Alexander T. The ideas were thought up on a teeny holiday camp with a “middle ages” theme. The game was a hit with the teenagers and can, of course, be individually adapted and extended to suit your requirements. Thank you for sending the game to us.

Idea of the game:

Salvation was a central theme in the middle ages. The people in those days were scared of purgatory and hell and did their best to make sure they would not land there. Travelling monks sold discharge papers with which the time spent in purgatory could be reduced. Sins could be erased with a pilgrimage or with a peace-offering.
3-4 groups are put together and given different sins. The aim of the game is to get rid of all of the sins. In principle, this is possible using two different strategies:

  • Buying discharge papers
  • Peace-offerings and pilgrimages

The strategies can also be freely mixed within the group. Each group receives a sum of money to start with. The game should be played on a large field with woods but can also be extended into a village if required.

Making money:

Travelling salesmen

Travelling salesmen wander through the playing field and offer to sell the players goods. Four different types of goods are on offer: Wood, food, textiles and spices. The prices paid to the travelling salesmen always remain the same:

Wood 20 Coins / to
Food 30 Coins / to
Textiles 40 Coins / to
Spices 100 Coins / to

The goods can be sold to the towns at a profit.


A town is made up of a member of staff and a table (or similar) and a board. The current requirements for provisions and the current purchase prices are noted on the board.

Goods Requirements Purchase price
Wood 15 25
Spices 6 150
Textiles 3 45

If a group can offer the wood and it is currently required they can sell them to a town. If, for example, a group owns 4 tonnes of spices, they can sell them to a town and the town’s consumption table is then marked with a requirement of 6 tonnes. The group is then paid with 600 coins. The prices and the requirements of the town change every twenty minutes according to prepared lists. There are at least two towns.

Lucky game

Another opportunity to make money is the (forbidden) game of luck. A member of staff moves around the playing area as a lucky joker. The group can place a bet against the player and play Black Jack against him. If the group loses, the money is lost. If they win, they are allowed to keep the money. However due to the fact that the game of luck is forbidden, they must avoid being caught playing the game by the monks. If a monk catches the group playing a game of luck, they receive a penalty as a further sin (namely the game of luck) for which they must make a peace offering or buy some discharge papers.


The groups can also earn money through honest hard work to buy the discharge papers. A member of staff sits somewhere in the woods as a builder (woods or fields) and watches over the digging work.

Individual players in the group can agree on a wage for 5 or 10 minutes of digging. Once the work is finished the builder pays out the wage agreed.

Redemption of sins:

Buying discharge papers

For the money earned, you can buy discharge papers. The “prices” for the discharge papers are not noted on the sin sheets of the groups. The group comes to the monk and wants to buy some discharge papers for “quoting a false testimony. “ The monk now says how much money you have to pay for it.
Particularly bad sins require atonement for the sin as well as discharge papers.

Sin Discharge papers Atonement
Mother and father not honoured 100 Coins -
False testimony 180 Coins -
Murder 500 Coins Pilgrimage


The monk can demand atonement of a sin which he also checks that it has been done. Atonements are e.g.

  • Crawling over the field on the knees
  • A pilgrimage to the furthest town (The town must write an acknowledgement).
  • Sing a song

Short overview

Redemption of a sin

Purchase of discharge papers or atonements

Person allocation and functions

  • Monk ( )
    Sells discharge papers
    Allocates atonements
    Catches people playing the game of luck
  • 1 dealer ( )
    Sells goods to the players
  • 2 towns ( ) ( )
    Buy goods from the players
  • Builder ( )
    Hands out jobs and pays them
  • The lucky joker ( )
    Leads the groups to the lucky game

Material required

  • 2 boards for noting the current prices in the town
  • Vouchers
  • Currency: Coins
  • Hoe and spade for the builder
  • Sin notes for the groups
  • Discharge papers
  • Playing cards for the lucky game

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