Play your best card

Play Your Best Card is a team-based game that encourages teens to have conversations on a range of topics relevant to young people. It also encourages them to discuss challenges and what to do in a range of different situations. 

The game is key to raising awareness of youth organisations that you can contact when you need help. It aims to inspire teens’ critical thinking and encourage them to have conversations about issues that they are going on for them right now, or that they might encounter in the future.

Unlike other resources or tools that might focus on one topic, Play Your Best Card can spark conversations on a range of topics relevant to young people. The discussions change every time the game is played, as young people are given the creative challenge of coming up with relatable stories based on the cards in the deck.

The game fits nicely into the health learning area, or could be used in small, facilitated groups by school guidance counsellors, or pastoral care staff, to meet any specific need – or simply to provide an opportunity for teens to talk about the tough stuff in a safe and supportive environment. Facilitators can use the discussions to delve further into areas that arise out of the scenarios that are played out.

Play Your Best Card was co-designed with teens, secondary school teachers, and youth facilitators.

More information about Play Your Best Card

How to play

In the video below the co-designers introduce what Play Your Best Card is all about.  

“The game has the potential to develop students’ understanding of health issues, how teenagers feel in a variety of situations, and strategies at personal, interpersonal and societal levels to address arising issues. The resource is also a valuable tool for student-centred learning, with student input, discussion and co-operation central to the task.” Rachael Dixon, Co-Chair New Zealand Heath Education Association 

Take a look at the game

The game is designed to be played with between three and 15 players, but can be adapted to work with larger groups, or with the whole class in secondary schools.

“I love that the game gives young people practice at stepping back from a situation, coming up with their own solutions, and critiquing different options. It is really helpful to build these skills and help young people develop their self-efficacy and ability to understand the world from other people’s perspectives.” Ben Birks Ang, National Youth Services Adviser, NZ Drug Foundation and Odyssey

Do no harm

Facilitators and teachers should be familiar with the information in the Facilitators’ Guide before using this game.

It is important that the players feel safe to speak their mind and contribute to discussions. A high level of trust amongst the players and facilitator is key to ensuring robust discussions and the effectiveness of solutions to the challenges.

Before playing the game, we recommend you research the organisations listed on the Actions cards so that you are able to provide more information on the services they provide, if required.


We want to hear from young people who have played the game

This year’s evaluation will explore the experience of playing Play Your Best Card from the perspective of young people themselves. Findings will be used to help us make decisions about future improvements and developments to the game. It will also provide evidence of the game’s effectiveness in encouraging young people to have conversations about challenges they might be facing, think critically about situations and problem-solve solutions, as well as know who to reach out to – and how – when they need more support.

All complete responses go in the draw to win one of two $400 prizes. Each prize includes a $100 voucher for a lucky survey participant and a $300 voucher for their school or organisation.
The young people’s survey can be found here:

Evaluation 2018

This short report presents key findings from the first phase of the PYBC evaluation, conducted in July 2018. It presents insights around the acceptability, engagement, and usability of the game from the teachers, counsellors, and youth workers who had received the game.

Read the report.

Order Play Your Best Card

In May 2018 the Head of Department/Faculty Health Education in each secondary school in New Zealand were sent one copy of Play Your Best Card, to use and share with their colleagues.

This year New Zealand registered teachers of health education, who are employed in a New Zealand secondary school, are now eligible for a copy of Play Your Best Card.  Only the Head of Department/Faculty (or equivalent) can make the order on behalf of the health education teaching staff in her or his department. The HOD should email with the following details:

  • Their name (ie, the HOD Health Education):
  • Their school’s name:
  • Their school’s phone number:
  • Their school’s courier address and postal code (we cannot send the game to PO Box or Box numbers).
  • Health education teacher 1’s name and work email:
  • Health education teacher 2’s name and work email:
    (add more names as necessary)

Alternative education and activity centres (with roles of more than eight students) may order a set from

Youth services can order one set of the game by demonstrating they work with more than ten young people on a regular basis and have a suitably trained and skilled facilitator to run the discussions. Email with the name of the organisation, trained facilitator's name and role within the service, courier address and phone number.

The Play Your Best Card take home pamphlets can be given out to encourage young people to reflect on their conversations after playing Play Your Best Card. Replenish your supplies of the pamphlets.

Share Play Your Best Card

We have a range of designs suitable for sharing on social media or in electronic communications. Use the hashtags #pybc and #playyourbestcard 

Download designs