Serious Games for Participatory Flood Risk Governance

Resilience Live opened 2024 with its 5th episode featuring Dr. Aaron Opdyke and his discussion on “Identifying Archetypes of Participatory Flood Risk Governance under Uncertain Climate Futures.” 

Figure 1. Dr. Aaron Opdyke worked with UP RI on the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research funded “Advancing Local Flood Decision-Making for Disaster Risk Reduction” project conducted at the Municipality of Carigara, Leyte

In the episode held last January 25, 2024, Dr. Aaron Opdyke, a civil engineer, contextualized how infrastructure exists in a broader landscape within society, with people at the center. From the perspective of disaster risk reduction, while the quality of infrastructure significantly affects outcomes during disaster events, it is important to formulate solutions that approach infrastructure as something that exists within a broader scale of society.    . 

The Philippines, as one of the countries most at risk from hazards in the world, faces higher levels of uncertainties in the face of climate change and disaster risk reduction. Dr. Opdyke, during his presentation, sought to make sense of  how  local governments and communities will act when faced with climate change uncertainty through a serious game that was tested in Carigara, Leyte. According to the presentation,  the game was devised as a tool to expose communities to the current state of science and what climate change impacts are going to look like in the Philippines. The game enabled researchers to capture what types of decisions test groups made and provided insight on what types of environment and group dynamics which lead to better decisions. 

As of the date of Dr. Opdyke’s presentation, the game has been tested in 11 game workshops involving 62 participants. Through observations, three decision archetypes have been established. 

Figure 2. Watch Resilience Live Episode 5 here:

“Hierarchical Alliances” are groups where one or two people take leadership roles and veer towards a top-down structure. “Passive Enthusiasts” were described as laid back. They may be slightly engaged in the game but do not necessarily have a strategy. “Deliberative Strategists” are groups that are strategy oriented and where a significant amount of networking and coordination is observed. Among these three groups, the highest instances of “no impact” strategies were observed among the “Hierarchical Alliances” archetype. In contrast, the highest incidence of impactful strategies regardless of cost was observed among the “Deliberative Strategist” archetype (Figure 2).

Figure 3. The “Deliberative Strategists” archetype showed the highest ratio to resilience locations to destroyed locations

Test game results showing resilient locations and destroyed locations were then tallied and expressed into ratios wherein the main takeaway was that there was more risk balancing in the third archetype (in blue) compared to the first and second (Figure 3). From this observation, Dr. Opdyke noted that in the Deliberative Strategists archetype, diversity in group composition (Figure 2), as well as coordination and discussion were apparent. While this group did not necessarily garner the most number of resilient assets in the game, they also lost less. On a larger scale, these results show that there is collective and sustained demand for risk reduction measures that incorporate discourse from different perspectives, and that approaching disaster risk resilience in a trans-sectoral manner leads to more risk-balanced outcomes. 


Dr. Opdyke’s paper may be accessed here: