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The Climate Change Challenge

When I started my postdoc I had much liberty in developing my own research question. One day I had the idea to develop a game to study human behavior. As it is unfortunately often the case with me, I had too many ideas, so I had to drop some. One of the ideas that I dropped was the game. Though, through some serendipitous way I came across the serious game the Climate Change Challenge. After reading about it I decided to participate to find out what it is. After all, this might be the game I envisioned!

The Climate Change Challenge has been developed as a board game by perspectivity. It needs a facilitator who moderates the game. The goal of the game is to learn something by playing it. Thus, winning it is only a secondary goal ;). After some time, the need arose to develop an online version that allows people dispersed over a geographic area to play together without traveling. According to the developers there are advantages and disadvantages and the online version may need some further development.

I participated in the online version. There were some minor technical issues, though, these did not reduce the learning outcome. To system dynamics people out there; it greatly reminded me of the character of the beer game (I wrote about the beer game here). The purpose is different. Amongst others for me the main take home message of the beer game was the effect of delays. The supply chain is mimicked and a delay is introduced through the time needed to satisfy a specific (or expected) demand. What was fascinating to see with the beer game was that despite every team having gotten the same instructions results greatly differed. This was due to the human component. This human behavior factor was also the most interesting point with the Climate Change Challenge. I do not want to say too much about the game, because it may spoil the experience. If you ever have the change playing it, do so!

For me working on human behavior and the energy transition this game was a great way to study human behavior. I could observe certain behavioral patterns while playing it myself. I could observe how I got locked into the dynamics. I could observe how the interpretation of certain game rules would create specific behavioral patterns. I would say that the developers did a great job in transferring a complex problem in a simple game. Though, the player realizes after a bit that despite the simplicity the game is complex.

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