Playing games to understand multiple hazards and risk from climate change on interdependent infrastructure

16:15 Tuesday 28 May


Room S10


Joseph Hagg (United Kingdom) 1; Sabine Undorf (United Kingdom) 1; Metzger Marc (United Kingdom) 1; Simon Tett (United Kingdom) 1

1 - The University of Edinburgh

We used a ‘serious’ games approach with an emphasis on reflective learning to explore climate risks with infrastructure operators – a fun, but serious way that enabled discussion of interdependent risks between stakeholders.

The novelty of our prototype game is the use of a ‘decade of weather’ sequence of event cards, socio-economic scenarios, and local contextual information relevant to infrastructure stakeholders. We co-developed and played our board game with infrastructure operators in the Inverclyde region of Scotland – although the approach is intended to be readily customisable anywhere.

A ‘decade of weather’ was extracted from the UKCP09 regional model ensemble providing a physically plausible 10-year snapshot series for the 2050s. This was analysed for significant weather-related events based on stakeholder defined risk categories, then converted to a sequence of event cards that included professionally illustrated graphics alongside textual explanation.

The focus of many cards was on specific ‘risk events’ that could impact on infrastructure – although importantly these are set within a full sequence (including ‘uneventful’ periods) to consider event succession, recovery, cumulative effects, long-term stresses, and/or multiple hazards.

Example risk event: December 2051, an unprecedented storm generating coastal flooding arrived in the week before Christmas and was followed by persistent heavy rainfall.

The ‘decade of weather’ was used as a driving mechanism for a board game that we co-created with partners. The game board was developed using a graphical facilitation technique that generated a stylised, abstracted map of geography and partner’s key infrastructure networks in the region. It also included game elements that allowed for allocation of disruption/damage tokens – with participants able to discuss interactions between infrastructures. Participants were also provided specific notebooks in which they were asked to record their reflections as the game progressed.

The pilot of our prototype game was a success with partners – who considered it a useful exercise that raised issues they hadn’t considered and encouraged discussion. There were plenty of ideas for further development of the game approach, something we are now pursuing.