Working With System Dynamics


My team wanted to make a game about the tragedy of the commons. Our game holds the values of the dangers of hoarding, overusing resources, and prioritizing individual needs in times of scarcity. We ended up manifesting these values in a competitive game with a resource consumption loop. The objects at play in the game are people and food. They interact with each other: At the end of each round, food is consumed proportional to how many people the player has. If the player runs out of food, then they have one round to try to gain more food. They can either gain more food by taking a free resource card, or by investing people into a challenge to gain more food. If they remain at no food for two consecutive rounds, they lose. Players lose immediately if they run out of people. They can gain more people by investing people into a challenge, but if they gain too many  people, they might run out of food. This is the food/people loop that runs through every round. These loops are also nested within larger three-round arcs. At the end of every three rounds, a catastrophe  card is drawn. Players take consequences, such as losing food or people. They must prepare adequately in the beginning of the three-round arc to avoid losing at the end of the arc.

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