Designing a Board Game to Help Crisis Responders

I’ve been working on the opportunity to build a game around a formal/informal interface for years as a way to explore how collaboration would fill gaps for these different actors. This project is called “Emergent Needs, Collaborative Assessment, & Plan Enactment,” or ENCAPE. The idea is this: both sides to that equation lack understanding of, and trust in, the other. A game could externalize some of the machinations and assumptions of each side, meaning a demystification; and creating things together often leads to trust building (that’s a reason why I’ve invested so much in makerspaces and hackathons over the years).
– Willow BrughInterfaces between formal and informal crisis response

I participated in this experiment without any technical background on Crisis response, still I came from the heart of the crisis and I know how to work something out. The exercise was organized by Willow Brugh for Georgia Tech Research Institute, from 31 July to 2 August. I was so happy to join amazing people The Policy LabSalvation ArmyBurning ManGood Good Work.

First day: We came as a group that represented formal and informal organizations/groups/institutions that work in disaster relief. We went through first-level discussions of complications, and maped out data flows. I played as a member of Meedan team representing Civic Media organization in the game.

To have a better understanding for how every organization/category role in the game, we draw our personas based on: Starting condition, available actions, pain points, individual success and loss.

On the 2nd day, every participant proposed a very different game, we figured out same patterns through everyone perspective: Each persona has different skills, resources, deficits)

Connections are important, time is an important element to deal with a crisis, your actions in the 72+ hours will be different than your actions in the 1st week.

By the end of workshop we knew much more about the other roles in crisis response and we were able to build a smarter strategy to solve every crisis. We know that we won’t win the game until we work together. Here’s what what we came up with:


The game is a collaborative card-based strategy game that depends on storytelling for every action to connect the bridge between formal and informal sector responding to a crisis, to relief a crisis you must work with other players to complete a mission. Personas are built on the actual/abstract players of the crisis relief, we encourage other players to contribute building the game by creating their personas as they imagine and add their ideas to this document.

Play with us, here!