Fun with forecasts

Katrien Witpas

Arctik Communication for Sustainability

24 May, 2019

Congratulations, you’ve landed a job as incident commander for flood forecasts! That’s the starting point of the IMPREXive serious game.

Preventing floods is serious business. It requires careful emergency planning, adapted infrastructure and emergency services that are ready to go at a moment’s notice. Above all, it requires good decision-making. How should plans be drawn up? Which infrastructure should be built? And when should emergency services be deployed?

The decision-making that helps prevent flooding stays mostly invisible, though. While news reports of floods often show emergency services hauling in sandbags, most people never see the inside of a flood forecasting centre – except maybe in second-rate disaster movies. We wanted to take the broader public behind the scenes though and to teach them about the challenges of flood prevention decision making in a fun way. That’s why we made the IMPREXive game.

The game drops you right into the action at the flood prevention centre. There might be a flood, and you’ll have to keep the city safe. Fortunately, your team can help. Your trusted team member John has prepared a five-day ensemble forecast for you. Don’t know how to read those? No worries, Zak is on hand to give you a crash-course in ensemble forecasting. IMPREX’s own Louise Arnal is there to help you monitor the situation on the ground.

As a so-called ‘serious game’, the IMPREXive game is more than a fun pastime. The game not only sneakily teaches you how to interpret forecasts, but it also wants to spotlight how difficult it can be to make decisions based on forecasts. Even the best predictions are not always correct, and you will have to decide how to handle that insecurity. What will you do when your team members disagree on the interpretation of the forecasts? Or when the data doesn’t quite seem to match the reality? Play the game to find out whether you can land a spot on the leaderboard!

The game was developed as part of the EU Horizon 2020 project IMPREX. This project wants to improve the prediction and management of extreme weather to make Europe better prepared for floods and droughts. Find out more about IMPREX, or play the game can be played at