Monday, April 10, 2017

Fun and Games

One way to discover and answer questions about the theory and practice of regenerative business is to sit and think.  A second way is to do: to open a business and see what it takes to use that business to have a regenerative effect on the environment and society.

A third way is to play games.

(Wait-- seriously?)

Sure.  Why not?  Many successful games have premises based on real-life, relatable pursuits, questions, or problems.  Think of Monopoly, Risk, Clue, Battleship, Scrabble, ... ok, maybe not Scrabble so much.  And the variety of strategies that arise from a simple game is often much richer than the content of the rules.  So why not use game design and game playing as a way to explore regenerative business?

That's it - I'm making a game about regeneration.  At the very least, this exercise will give me yet another model to suggest and try out concepts, methods, and strategies for regenerative living.  And who knows?  If this project results in a game that's actually fun to play and educational, it could potentially 1) help raise awareness of alternatives to the destructive prevailing ideas and practices surrounding material well-being, 2) give players an entertaining way to examine our own ideas and practices about material well-being, and 3) facilitate the global conversation about what to do next.

I won't bore you with the details (which are still in flux anyway), but in its current form, this starts as a competitive game where one player can win by dominating the economy, but players who are more interested in the long view can quickly turn it into a cooperative race to build an alternative economy and avert the extinction of our species.

My ten year old son recently helped me test a prototype, and we learned some things that will help us refine the design.