Adjusting the rule of the games to participants' prior knowledge


Different participants and different objectives

This game can be adapted to various different situations, depending on the objective and therefore also on the prior knowledge of the participant. Figure 3 shows the different objectives of the game depending on the prior knowledge of the participants. The two major axes are the knowledge about the Ethiopian context and about specific landscapes as well as the knowledge about rainwater management.
When participants have a high prior knowledge of the Ethiopian landscape, the game allows making use of their knowledge for validating the database (in which case it is up to the facilitator to make sure that there is space for amending the practice cards) as well as developing context specific strategies and identifying the necessary intervention to enable the practice adoption. When the participants have less knowledge about integrated water management, the game can also be used to raise awareness about synergies between some practices at landscape scale. This understanding may lead to discussion about benefit-sharing mechanisms that can be taken up into a community discussion.
When participants have prior knowledge about integrated water management, then the game also allows to collect expert knowledge on synergies between different practices, both at farm and at landscape scale.
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When participants have little knowledge about the Ethiopian context and its landscapes, the game has different objectives. If prior knowledge of integrated water management, then it allows to collect more theoretical knowledge to validate the database and to identify rationales about how to bundle rainwater management practices based on theoretical knowledge about synergies between practices.
Finally if the participants have no prior knowledge of integrated rainwater management strategy, the game is a teaching tool that allow participant to learn about a real complex problem, and raise awareness about water issues in the Ethiopian context.

Landscape descriptions

The landscape description can be based on real cases but can also be a “virtual constructed” combining features from different existing landscape. When participants have little knowledge about the Ethiopian context, it is suitable to work with one “virtually constructed” landscape. The landscape bio-physical characteristic can be inspired by a real landscape, and the socio-economic characteristics can be stereotyped for any area in Ethiopia. In this way it makes it easier for participants to understand a simplified Ethiopian context. If this version of the game is played, different strategies will be developed for the same landscapes, and can be compared among each other.
If participant however come from certain area, or have a good prior knowledge of the area, real landscape can be described with their real socio-economic and institutional context. When this option is chosen it makes sense to have an many different landscape as the participants come from or know of. When this variant is chosen different strategies for different landscape are developed and can hardly be compared with each other. If the number of participants allows, having two group for each landscape definition.

Practice card selection

The currently available practices cards contain the most important practices that the NBDC has identified in the Blue Nile and covers about 45 practices. But this list can be easily extended with other practices that are already in the database, or by adding practices suggested in previous games with the innovation cards. This list should be a living document that should be growing each time when the game is played.
Nonetheless, it is important to select the initial set of cards. If participants have prior knowledge of the Ethiopian context and the different practices, the proposed set of practice can be relatively big and include cards that might not fit the bio-physical context of any of the landscapes. This approach allows to validate the database and increase the discussions.
When participants have little knowledge about the Ethiopian context and the different practices, it is better to reduce the initial set of practices and select only feasible ones.
When the variant 2 of the game is chosen, each landscape receives 10 cards making sure that there are all different and cover all the categories (colors of the cards). In addition the set contains at least two innovation cards and 5 intervention cards. In variant 1, the innovation cards and interventions cards are hold by the landscape manager that hands them out up-on request.

Trading rules

Trading rules can be thought of. For example you can freely trade a card within the same category (color) at the help desk. Exchanging a card with a practice from a different color, should be less easy in order to maintain some dynamics in the game. Exchanging two for one is an option when there are many participants in each group (> 10 participant). Otherwise, a practice needs to be refused at least 2 other landscapes before having the right to change it at the help desk.
In order to allow for a creative process, innovation and intervention cards should be unlimited for each group.

Emphasis on interventions

When the objective is to identify context specific strategies, landscape manager should be careful and emphasize the need of also identify constraints of the strategy and define suitable interventions. On the contrary, when the objective of the game is to identify how to bundle strategies or to teach, interventions are less important to focus on.

Feedback from the group and scoring

Each group needs present its strategy to the rest of the participant. Sufficient time should be allocated to this part so that discussion between the different groups can take place. This is of particular importance when the objective of the game is to identify context specific landscape with stakeholder or community. Then it also does not really make sense to rank the strategies.
When the game is played as teaching or as figuring out a rational for bundle the feedback session can also be used for scoring. A scoring mechanism can be thought of and use to rank the different practices. If only one landscape definition has been used, it is relatively easy, and criteria as ; fitting the bio-physical characteristics, fitting the socio-economic characteristics, fitting the own defined objective, innovation, synergies and suitability of interventions could be used as criteria. A panel of expert could for example rank the different strategies. Also each group can rank all the other groups based on the final strategy presentation.