Mochizuki, J., Magnuszewski, P., Pajak, M., Krolikowska, K., Jarzabek, L. and Kulakowska, M., 2021. Simulation games as a catalyst for social learning: The case of the water-food-energy nexus game. Global Environmental Change, 66, p.102204.
Role-playing simulations have gained in popularity in recent years as a novel method of engaging researchers and stakeholders in a variety of social and environmental issues. While academic interest has grown on this topic, knowledge remains sparse on the underlying theories that may guide the design of such games. This article introduces a new game design framework – CompleCSus (Complexity-Collaboration-Sustainability) – built on the concepts of social learning and procedural rhetoric. We describe and discuss the conceptual basis for our framework, giving a detailed account of its application through the recently developed the Water–Food–Energy Nexus Game (Nexus Game) as an example. We illustrate the process involved in designing the Nexus Game through initial scoping, prototyping, and design decisions, and how game structure and debriefing have been crafted to foster social learning focused on the understanding of the underlying social-ecological system as well as fostering collaboration between stakeholders. We also provide the analysis of qualitative data collected during recent gaming sessions across three continents to evaluate the Nexus Game’s potential learning effects.
Keywords: Role-playing simulation (RPS), Social learning, Procedural rhetoric, Water–energy–food nexus, Nexus game.