Visual ice breakers for personal and team development

How to Use DECXplore


Number of Players: DECxplore was designed for one to 12 players, but is ideal for eight players.

Setup: Separate the decks of cards into their respective color categories and shuffle. Then place the decks face-down in the middle of the group. There are three types of cards:

  • 52 Blue cards – Situational Triggers.
  • 52 Red Cards – Emotive and Action Triggers.
  • 14 Green Cards – Reflection Cards (to be used at the end of the game).

Every player draws four cards, two from the blue deck and two from the red deck.

Playing the Game

DECxplore is about telling stories. Each person will have an opportunity to share a personal story. A person is called the storyteller when it is his/her turn to share.

Select the first storyteller at random. Each turn follows the same basic format:

i. The storyteller selects any color card from his/her hand and places it face-up for the group to see.

ii. The person to the left of the storyteller picks any color card from his/her hand and places it face-up next to the storyteller’s card.

Strategy Note: Observe the storyteller’s card, and try to pick a card that challenges or balances it.

iii. Using both cards as a prompt, the storyteller shares a short personal story inspired by the word combination. (Limit to two minutes).

iv. When the storyteller is done sharing, others can briefly ask questions, share how they identified with the story, or explain the emotions, beliefs or values the story may have triggered.

v. At the end of the turn, the storyteller places his/her used card at the bottom of the same color deck, and picks a new card from the top. Each player maintains four cards throughout the game.

vi. The player to the left now becomes the new storyteller, using the same card he/she provided in the previous turn.

vii. The process is repeated, and the game continues to the left until each member of the group has shared.

The group can decide how many rounds they wish to play.

Rules of Sharing

The purpose of sharing is to give players insight into each other’s life stories and unique journey.  It is important to create a safe and supportive environment for sharing. The first person to share provides a personal example, and sets the tone of openness and depth for others to follow.

Every person shares openly and honestly. Everyone else listens quietly with respect and without interrupting.

~ When a person is sharing, everyone else puts their cards down, and gives their full  attention.

~ Explaining general beliefs/views is acceptable; provided they are followed by a personal story linked to those general beliefs.

~ If the storyteller cannot think of a personal story, he/she may pick a third card,  and then try again using the theme of the new card and one (or both) of the previously chosen cards.

~ Members are encouraged to share stories they have not shared before.


Once the game ends (as determined by the group), players take turns picking a green reflection card and answering the question on the card.

Variation for Larger Groups

(up to 52 players per deck*)

In larger groups, each player gets one red and one blue card. Participants are then asked to mingle and select a partner (preferably someone they know the least). Each person takes a turn sharing a personal story based on one word from their cards and one given to them from their partner. When both players are done, they switch cards with each other before moving on to a new partner and repeating the exercise. This continues until the group leader brings the game to an end.

*DECxplore can accommodate groups larger than 52 by simply using additional decks of cards.

The Most Important Rule

Creativity and flexibility are the name of the game. You can create your own rules of sharing according to the needs of your group. If you find you have found a new way of playing this game, share with us at [email protected].