The Gaming of Policy and the Politics of Gaming
© Dr. Igor Mayer i.s.mayer@tudelft.nl
Faculty Technology, Policy and Manag...
References
1. Mayer, I. S. (2009). The Gaming of Policy and the Politics of Gaming: A Review. Simulation & Gaming,
40(6), ...
Simulation-games

Simulation:
purposeful and valid/accurate, dynamic
representation of reality, formalized, often
quantita...
Evolution

1890-1940
War gaming

1940s
Operations research

1950s
Systems Analysis

1960s
Policy analysis

• Krieg Spiel
•...
Crisis in MSG for policy making (70s)
Many of the people in the US departments of Housing and Urban Development and Health...
(Over)optimism of SG policy making?

Given the importance of models and
simulations in public policy making,
and the need ...
Founding fathers of serious gaming
Johan Huizinga: ‗Homo Ludens‘ (1938)
Man is playful
Playing is stepping into a ‘magic c...
Propositiona
1. A fairly simple game model can

communicate Real World complexity
2. While playing with a model,
students/...
Complex multi actor systems

Energy

Water

Industry

Sea ports

Air ports

Rail

Challenge the future

9
Systems thinking:
The worldview of S&G
Factors:
Real world systems are based on many
variables that interact with each oth...
Challenge the future

11
Two forms of complexity
• Many interconnected and interdependent
technical-physical variables and systems.
•Incomplete inf...
Combining technical and political
complexities
First, on the nature of the phenomena handled by planners, it is
increasing...
E.g. Energy label for houses

Insulation

+

A

Energy consumption

-

B

-

-

+

-

D

A

C

B

C

+
+

-

F

E

Mental ...
Requirements for intervention tools
7. Authoritative.
• validity, reliability,
verification / justification,
falsification...
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Serious Gaming: Public Policy Analysis

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Serious Gaming: Public Policy Analysis

  1. 1. The Gaming of Policy and the Politics of Gaming © Dr. Igor Mayer i.s.mayer@tudelft.nl Faculty Technology, Policy and Management (TPM) & Signature Games Delft University of technology, The Netherlands Challenge the future 1
  2. 2. References 1. Mayer, I. S. (2009). The Gaming of Policy and the Politics of Gaming: A Review. Simulation & Gaming, 40(6), 825–862. doi:10.1177/1046878109346456 2. Mayer, I. S. (2008). Gaming for policy analysis: learning about complex multi-actor systems. In L. De Caluwé, G. J. Hofstede, & V. Peters (Eds.), Why do games work? (pp. 31–40). Deventer: Kluwer. 3. Mayer, I. S., Bekebrede, G., Bilsen, A. van, Zhou, Q., & van Bilsen, A. (2009). Beyond Simcity: Urban Gaming and Multi-Actor Systems. In E. Stolk & M. te Brommelstroet (Eds.), Model Town. Using Urban Simulation in New Town Planning (pp. 168–181). Amsterdam: SUN/INTI. 4. Duffhues, J., Mayer, I. S., Nefs, M., & van der Vliet, M. (2013). Breaking Barriers to Transit-Oriented Development: Insights from the Serious Game SPRINTCITY. Environment and Planning B (in press). 5. Mayer, I. S., Zhou, Q., Lo, J., Abspoel, L., Keijser, X., Olsen, E., … Kannen, A. (2013). Integrated, Ecosystem-based Marine Spatial Planning: Design and Results of a Game-based Quasi-Experiment. Ocean and Coastal Management, 82, 7–26. doi:dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2013.04.006 Challenge the future 2
  3. 3. Simulation-games Simulation: purposeful and valid/accurate, dynamic representation of reality, formalized, often quantitative, computerized, etc. Game: based upon a rule-set, imaginative, creative, with social interaction (players), experiential, immersion, engagement etc. Challenge the future 3
  4. 4. Evolution 1890-1940 War gaming 1940s Operations research 1950s Systems Analysis 1960s Policy analysis • Krieg Spiel • Ad hoc educational and political games • Science for decision making: mathematics, economics, engineering • Optimization of Military Logistics (raids, etc.) • Game theory • Operational gaming • Think tanks • Complex systems behavior by looking at the entities. • Formal Gaming (= simulation) • 1st business games • Cold war • Social science perspective. • Free form gaming 1970-80s Social change and critique 1980s-90s Interactive policy making •Environment, 3rd world, international relations crisis •Crisis in planning and modeling •System dynamics for complexity •Interactive, participatory modeling and simulation •Strengthening the policy maker – modeler interface 2000s Complexity • Infrastructure planning • Reinventing Serious gaming for military, health care • Net generation: • Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing games • Second Life, WoW, etc. Challenge the future 2010 Social networks and mobility •Game generation •Internet / Mobile gaming •Augmented and mixed reality 4
  5. 5. Crisis in MSG for policy making (70s) Many of the people in the US departments of Housing and Urban Development and Health, Education, and Welfare, who are directly responsible for the millions of dollars that have gone into some of the public sector models, simulations, and games, really could not care less what those MSGs produced as long as they, the research sponsors, got credit for having been modern, management-oriented and scientific. Brewer, 1975: 3 (…) close inspection (...) reveals a divergence of purpose between those who build and those who use MSGs having a policy assisting intent; users are inadequately trained to know what they are buying from technical experts; and this inadequacy also exists with respect to the experts knowing or caring about the users. What results are ill-developed controls over the building and use of MSGs because (1) the actual users do not know how the information contained in the model was generated; and (2) the experts responsible for the information contained in the model have abnegated responsibility for the products through disinterest, contempt, and ignorance. Brewer, 1975: iii (...) none of the goals held out for large scale models have been achieved, and there is little reason to expect anything different in the future (…) Methods for long range planning—whether they are called comprehensive planning, large scale systems simulation, or something else—need to change drastically, if planners expect to have any influence on the long run. Lee, 1973: 16 (Gaming) is perhaps the ultimate comedown, as it means using the models as heuristic aids in the context of operational gaming. Players make decisions in the synthetic city, observe the consequences and make new decisions. Lee, 1973: 25 Challenge the future 5
  6. 6. (Over)optimism of SG policy making? Given the importance of models and simulations in public policy making, and the need to improve their effectiveness, the governmental and non-governmental model and simulation building communities should be striving to explore and build on other existing model-building practices. Some of the most interesting work being done is within the interactive entertainment industry. Ben Sawyer, 2002:1 Challenge the future 6
  7. 7. Founding fathers of serious gaming Johan Huizinga: ‗Homo Ludens‘ (1938) Man is playful Playing is stepping into a ‘magic circle’ (suspension of belief) Culture emerges out of play(fulness) Characteristics of play in judicial system, science, military, etc. Johan Huizinga Play is a serious matter (een ‘ernstige zaak’) Caillois (1958) Roger Cailliois Clark Abt: ‗Serious games‘ (1968 / 1970) War gaming for non-military purposes, like education and science Clark Abt Dick Duke: Gaming - the futures language (1974) Increasing complexity of real world systems, policy making, organizations and planning Traditional communication cannot cope with complexity New language = holistic / gestalt language Gaming = holistic language of complexity. Dick Duke Challenge the future 7
  8. 8. Propositiona 1. A fairly simple game model can communicate Real World complexity 2. While playing with a model, students/professionals learn about the Democracy 2 www.positech.co.uk/democracy2/ Player screen Causal model Energy Ville underlying model of complexity! 3. Games are (represent) complex (multiactor) systems. 4. Through gaming we can learn to understand (manage) a complex system. Challenge the future 8
  9. 9. Complex multi actor systems Energy Water Industry Sea ports Air ports Rail Challenge the future 9
  10. 10. Systems thinking: The worldview of S&G Factors: Real world systems are based on many variables that interact with each other in dynamic feedback relations leading to uncertainty (..) many variables can not be quantified and there exists no proven conceptual model or precedent to base decision and action. Actors: The social political context (..) shows many actors that may be strategic or a-rational and finally there is a futures context in the sense that the decision is irrevocable and the results will not be understood well into the future Dick Duke, 1980 Challenge the future 10
  11. 11. Challenge the future 11
  12. 12. Two forms of complexity • Many interconnected and interdependent technical-physical variables and systems. •Incomplete information •Uncertainty: cognitive, deep core, long term •Quantification problems •Lack of proven scientific models •Etc… • Reductionist approach: •Linear (steps, phases) or cyclical (iterative) decision making •Decision support & computer simulation •Optimization, quantification •Reduction, simplification, abstraction •Etc. Management of technical physical complexity Management of social political complexity •Stakeholder participation •Process management •Negotiated knowledge •Soft tools – learning, persuasion. Technical physical complexity Social political complexity • Many interdependent, loosely coupled stakeholders (policy network) • Scientific disagreement and conflicts • Disputed knowledge, values & norms • Dynamic rounds and arena‘s (fluidity) • Political compromises Challenge the future 12
  13. 13. Combining technical and political complexities First, on the nature of the phenomena handled by planners, it is increasingly recognized that the evolution of the urban development process is an extraordinarily complex and dynamic activity. In simple terms, it involves both physical and social systems; here lies the heart of the problem, namely the simultaneous handling of ―both types‖ of system as they evolve and interact. On the one hand the physical system is relatively simple to measure and represent as tangible elements are involved. The components of the social system, on the other hand, are not so convenient to handle, as volatile human behavior is very much involved. Taylor, 1971: 85 These two conventional methods can usefully address some knowledge needs of global change issues, but are systematically ill-equipped to address others. To address the knowledge needs that are not well met by conventional methods, the paper argues for the use of a set of alternative methods, known by various names, including policy exercises, simulation gaming, and scenario exercises. Parson, 1997: 267 Challenge the future 13
  14. 14. E.g. Energy label for houses Insulation + A Energy consumption - B - - + - D A C B C + + - F E Mental maps, values, perceptions,. interests, etc. + + G Mental maps, values, perceptions, interests, etc. D A B + C + Mental maps, values, perceptions, interests, etc. Mental maps, values, perceptions, interests, etc. + + Mental maps, values, perceptions, interests, etc. F E + G Mental maps, values, perceptions, interests, etc. Mental maps, values, perceptions, interests, etc. Mental maps, values, perceptions interests, etc. Mental maps, Values, perceptions, interests, etc. Mental maps, values, perceptions, interests, etc. Mental maps, values, perceptions, interests, etc. Challenge the future 14
  15. 15. Requirements for intervention tools 7. Authoritative. • validity, reliability, verification / justification, falsification. • timeliness, protecting core values. 1. Integrative. • Considers aspects, levels, networks, sectors disciplines in a holistic , integrative and systemic way. 6. Communicative & educational. 2. Dynamic. • shows alternatives over time. • Conveys meaning and insights. 5. Flexible & Reusable. 3. Interactive. • Supports interaction, negotiation among multiple stakeholders. • Adaptable, repeatable for similar contexts; modifiable to different contexts. 4. Transparent. • Not a black box for stakeholders , but insightful relations. Challenge the future 15
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