P3: Reflection

What surprised me the most about making a systems game was how differently different members of my group interpreted how systems in the real world worked.

At first, our topic was simply “migration”. To me, this meant internal movement, primarily through upwards mobility. To some of my team members, this meant immigration and emigration. Despite having seemingly agreed on a topic, we really hadn’t decided anything at all!

Upon further examination, it turned out that much of what we think about migration or immigration is actually colored by politics, especially in so far as we believed that the systems are affected by politics. Instead, I think we could have gone in a very different direction by examining how an individual migrant’s actions and relationships create a system.

This, then, lead my group to ultimately create a game about political parties, a system which seems very different from where we started, but in our minds is directly related.

Even still, our opinions about which actions in the system should have which effects continued to differ, leading to unexpected reactions when we would reconvene with separate parts of the project completed. For example, I think my team mates all had different conceptions of which strata of society would react in which ways to different policies.

Because of the structure of the game, we had to be relatively prescriptive in deciding reactions. In a different world, perhaps actions could have been more objective and thus leading to objective outcomes. In my mind, this looks like policy cards saying “increase welfare spending by 5%” instead of “economic stimulus”, which could then lead to known and expected objective outcomes rather than debatable ones. This outcome could then affect different communities differently based on the community’s specific situation, which gets updated each turn. Such as, for example, increasing welfare being positive for the working class up until a certain point where it starts to be negative because it causes inflation.

Overall, I would say that this project was certainly the most difficult project in this class. This is not only because this game is expected to be complicated due to the dynamic nature of a systems game, but also due to the subjective interpretation of all systems requiring constant clear communication between all teammates.

Despite the difficulties along the way, I never would have arrived at this outcome without the input of my teammates, who’s different backgrounds give them different outlooks on the system we were looking to model.

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