ecopolicy® - it's a cybernetic world
Play your way to a new understanding of our complex world with Frederic Vester's strategy game!
The purpose of ecopolicy
It is undeniable that we are not better informed by the mere fact
that we get more information. An excess of data can be a direct cause ofour ignorance. The development of electronic data processing has so
far contributed very little if nothing to the understanding of complexity. On the contrary, it has even enhanced the process of splitting reality into fragments. However, adequate multimedia programs may help handling complexity by getting aquainted with pattern recognition and
a parallel processing of the interconnected levels of our reality. The simulation game 'ecopolicy®' was conceived as a contribution to this necessity.
Politics, production, environmental stress, quality of life, education and population are important sectors of human life. In the game they are all interlinked in such a way by mathematical relations that each decision results in a chain of effects and repercussions just like in real life. Players can 'be in power' in an industrial nation and two other countries (a developing and a treshold nation) and there is even the possibility of determining the initial situation and dynamics for a country of one's own imagination. The creative possibilities of game variations are practically unlimited.
The educational approach
Playful 'trying out' of reality promotes the learning process at its best. It supports an integral view of the action while dealing with situations that reflect realistic problems of decision making and how to understand better the complex character of our world and how to deal with it. The use of 'fuzzy logic' in the program makes it possible to integrate in the simulation process unquantifiable but important factors as attractiveness, antipathy, sympathy, consent, harmony and other factors attributed to our right-hand side of the brain. This way the player gains an understanding of how we make our decisions and how we deal with the chances and risks of complex processes and their cybernetics. Last not least to play this game should also be fun. Its illustrations, animations and music - all three especially created for Ecopolicy - lead to the emotional access of the message the game is supposed to fulfill.
The simulation software of 'ecopolicy®' is a derivate of the simulation tool of the professional software Sensitivity Model Prof. Vester®/Malik Sensitivity Model®Prof.Vester. 'ecopolicy®' has been introduced successfully in management training, community politics and ecological management. In the form of a strategy game the simulation of cybernetic processes fosters our goal to better understand complexity without increasing the flow of information. It shows the pitfalls of the usual practice of concentrating on isolated problems, solve one of it and create several new ones - just because we are unaware of the systems repercussions. The result of both strategies will be experienced in the game by either foundering the fictitious country with shortterm decisions or leading it towards a sustainable development and thus moving on top in the games highscore.
The development of the actual game went through several stages: It startet in 1976 as annex to our UNESCO-study 'Urban systems in crisis - Understanding and Planning Human Living Spaces by the Biocybernetic Approach'. It was followed by a cardbord game (Ökolopoly) that was chosen as 'Game of the Year' by the German magazine 'Stern'. In 1985 the first DOS-version as computer game came up and the first multimedia-Version on CD-ROM in 1997. The game - wich served many years as a training tool in the workshops of the 'Federal Center for political education' (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung) in Bonn - was selected as the online game of the environmental TV-Series 'planet-e' of the ZDF in 1999 and in its course gained several awards, the latest one being the Comenius-Medal of the European Comenius Media Competition 2000. From 2008-2012 ecopolicy was the center of a countrywide contest for students, the ecopolicyade. More than 200.000 students took part. See more www.ecopolicyade.info
At the ISAGA 2014 - 45th Annual Conference of the International Simulating and Gaming Association the new version of ecopolicy® and some of its former versions Ökolopoly® have been presented in the exhibition "Time capule gaming" and in a keynote speech and workshops.
During these 20 years of experience, accompanied by the investigations of our institute in developing aid, regional planning and consulting, the input of local experts has flown in the background of the game and its manual. The constant feedback from the many thousend users of its predecessors in schools, management training and as the online version in the mentioned TV-Series has also helped to achieve the actual userfriendliness of the new CD-ROM version V 2.6, published by MCB-Publishing House, Munich, as bilingual English-German or Chinese-English Versions.
In a contest called ecopolicyade® - the teachers Hans-Werner Hansen and Wilfried John applied ecopolicy in an competition of highschool students with local politicians. The success - the politicians lost alltogether - spurred them on to challenge politicians of the Berlin Parliament - and they won there too, an event covered by all the German media. This was the start of the contriywide competition in "Interconnected Thinking". In collaboration with Malik St.Gallen in 2008 and 2009 in the nation wide ecopolicyade® in Germany 90.000 students participated. The contest continued in 2010 until 2012 in Germany with over 175.000 participants. Malik develops and supports international projects (Austria, The Netherlands, Australia, Vietnam). More information see the following links: