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Can communication save the commons? Lessons from repeated role-playing game sessions

Le Page Christophe, Dray Anne, Perez Pascal, Garcia Claude A.. 2014. Can communication save the commons? Lessons from repeated role-playing game sessions. In : The shift from teaching to learning: individual, collective and organizational learning through gaming simulation. Proceedings of the 45th Conference of the International Simulation and Gaming Association, 7-11 juillet 2014, Dornbirn, Austria ; W.C. Kriz. Bielefeld : W. Bertelsmann Verlag, pp. 365-379. ISBN 978-3-7639-5422-3 Conference of the International Simulation and Gaming Association. 45, Dornbirn, Autriche, 7 July 2014/11 July 2014.

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Abstract : REHAB is a computer-assisted role-playing game aiming at fostering the importance of communication, through experiential learning, in the context of renewable resources management and conservation. The game consists in an abstract natural environment characterized by different levels of biomass of a given resource. Players control Harvesters to collect units of biomass, their only source of income in the game. Harvesting activities directly impact the local level of biomass and its regeneration but associated rules are not explained to the players. The environment is also a nesting and breeding area for an endangered migratory Bird. One (or more) player controls the role of Rangers whose task is to maximize the long-term rate of bird reproduction by establishing sanctuaries in the environment. The probability of successful reproduction is influenced by the harvesting activities, but the associated rules about disturbance levels are kept hidden. A typical session includes two successive scenarios. The first one prevents any communication or interactions between players while the second one allows for and encourages them. A final collective debriefing brings out the level of understanding of the hidden rules and how this uncertainty has influenced individual and collective strategies. Our ex-post analysis consists in revisiting records of 37 sessions played since 2008 in order to extract general conclusions associated with this spatially distributed 'tragedy of the commons'. In particular, results show that individual strategies can be classified in a relatively simple typology of behaviors. They also highlight that, although players construct and articulate rational decisions based on limited or even flawed understanding of the rules, in most cases communication improves the outcomes for both roles. (Résumé d'auteur)

Classification Agris : C20 - Extension
U10 - Mathematical and statistical methods
P01 - Nature conservation and land resources

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Source : Cirad - Agritrop (https://agritrop.cirad.fr/575275/)

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