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Elements of the game

The main task of the game is to bundle different practices into a strategy that fits the characteristics of a given landscape. The game consists of several support materials, and is implemented with several support persons. The game has several steps that are always the same. However the detailed rules of the game can be changed depending on the objective of the game and the prior knowledge of the players.

Support material

Conceptual landscape

The conceptual landscape description describes the conceptual approach presented under section 2.1. It is presented to the participants as an introduction to water management, and aims to clarify the vocabulary used in the game.

Landscape descriptions

Landscape description describes the landscape for which a rainwater management strategy needs to be fitted. This description needs to cover the bio-physical characteristics, socio-economic and possibly the institutional context. Bio-physical characteristics can be presented with maps and the socio-economic context can be retrieved from national statistics. This information can be printed on paper and distributed to the participants. The description can be completed with stories from different point of view or from different stakeholders that are active in the landscape.

Practice cards (different colors)

Practice cards, describe each selected practice from the database. Each illustrates the practice with a picture and as well as the hydrological, environmental and socio-economic purpose and the bio-physical, socio-economic and institutional context.
In the game, water management practices were classified into different categories each of which has an own color. Soil and water conservation is in yellow, agro-forestry is in green, in-situ water harvesting is in brown, ex-situ water harvesting is in blue, water lifting is in pink, livestock and grassland related practices are in black and finally fertility management is in turquoise.
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Innovation cards

Innovation cards are blank practice cards that can be filled by the players. It allows them to add new practices that are not yet part of the game.

Intervention cards (red)

Interventions card are a blank form that players can suggest interventions necessary to make their strategy successful, and why. Examples of interventions are improved extension services, better access to credit or supply chain development.

Support persons

To play the game, several supporting person are needed.
A facilitator introduces the game, its objectives, the specific rules and makes sure that the landscapes are well presented and described. He helps out when the game is stuck.
A landscape manager facilitates discussions for a group of players forming a team whose task is to formulate a strategy. The landscape manager:

  1. Manages time and process
  2. Reminds people of the instructions.
  3. Helps people to reorganizing practice into strategies by suggesting to locate in each practice into the different landscape zones.
  4. Facilitates the negotiation process.
  5. Hands out intervention cards when necessary.
  6. When the group agree on the strategy, guides the discussion towards interventions (what can other actors do to enable the strategy)

There should be between 7-12 people in each group facilitated by landscape manager.
A help desk is a sort of information center where players can ask for more information about each practice card. The help desk also holds all cards that are not yet uses in the game. Depending on the specific rules, the help desk can exchange practice cards or give out new practice cards. The help desk also support players to fill innovation cards correctly.

Documenting the game

To learn from the game, different steps need to be documented.
Two different tracking forms can be used: the landscape manager form and the help desk form. Landscape managers write down the initial set of practices at the beginning of the game, and the final set of practices, which represents the strategy. They also keep track of all innovation and intervention cards that are filled in. They also track exchanges of practices with other landscapes, as well with the help desk. They also try to keep track of synergies and trade off that emerge in the discussion. Typically, the end result is photographed and any presentations of the game results can be captured on video or text.
The help desk form is used to track the exchanges the help desk have been authorizing as well as the innovation cards that have been filled.

Flip charts are useful tools for the landscape manager to involve the players. It can for example be used to design the landscape and its 3 zones, and to locate or position practices within the landscape. The visual result of the game is often a useful discussion point.
At the end of the game, each group (or landscape) presents their final strategy and defends it. They have to explain the chosen objective for the landscape and how this objective is addressed by their strategy. The process of getting to the strategy, and trade-offs and assumptions made, are often important elements of the presentation – they also need to be documented.