National Drought Mitigation Center unveils new game

· 2 min read

National Drought Mitigation Center unveils new game

National Drought Mitigation Center graduate assistant Markéta Poděbradská leads a trial run of NDMC's Ready for Drought game. | Shawna Richter-Ryerson
Shawna Richter-Ryerson | School of Natural Resources
National Drought Mitigation Center graduate assistant Markéta Poděbradská leads a trial run of Ready for Drought.

In a community that heavily relies on water recreation and tourism, a drought suddenly hits. How can city officials protect their water while also protecting their economy?

The scenario is one of six that participants will have to grapple with in a new collaborative game created by the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Ready for Drought is an activity in which players work in teams to address the strain drought puts on a community from the perspectives of private citizens, local decision makers, responders, business and industry and communities.

In the process, it details the scope of drought and the resources necessary to combat it. Players take on the roles of firefighter, mayor, water manager, TV reporter, scientist, rancher, governor and more, each bringing a different set of skills and viewpoints to the issue.

Ready for Drought provides a general scenario for the Missouri River Basin and can be played in about 90 minutes. The game requires a minimum of 12 players, a facilitator, a projection screen and little else.

“The goal was to create a simple, low-cost game where the full package can be downloaded online,” Markéta Poděbradská, graduate research assistant, said. “Anybody who wants to either have an icebreaker for a drought meeting or have an educational game for university or high school settings can download it and have something in their hands that they can do on their own.”

A trial run of the game was tested this spring with School of Natural Resources students and staff, along with members from the NDMC. Even in its development stage, many students said the game was an enlightening experience.

“This is a big, informative and well-organized activity,” one student wrote. “It is definitely effective for potentially building awareness about drought and the need for stakeholder engagement and interaction.”

Support for the game was provided by the National Integrated Drought Information System.