Game overview

View cards


Page 1
Page 2
Projects and scenarios
Page 3
Community aims
Page 4
Page 5

Playing the Communities Online game

Latest pages about the game are now at Making the Net Work and Useful Games



This is a team game which explores ways online methods can benefit local communities. It is intentionally simple and does not need any expert knowledge (although it can incorporate such knowledge into play).

In this game cards are used to portray:

  • typical local scenarios
  • the aims of the local community
  • projects for community online networking

Teams of players assemble the best network to address the local scenario and satisfy the aims of the community within a limited set of resources. Team solutions are then presented , all teams vote on the best solution and a winning team is declared. The game takes about 1.5 - 2 hrs to play (depending on the number of teams).

This Communities Online game has a focus on building substantial infrastructure for a town or city. The simpler Neighbourhoods Online game puts less emphasis on the technology, and is more suitable for smaller areas.

Game elements

The pack consists of three separate types of card. These are:

Sequence of Play

Each team deals itself:

1  Scenario card
2  Community aims cards
7  Project cards

Stage 1 (10mins.)

Teams discuss the scenario and the community aims, fleshing these out with members' own experience and expertise.  Each scenario card indicates the resources available to the team (red number) and an assessment of how sustainable the area is (see grid diagram on the scenarios page).

Stage 2 (30 mins)

Teams explore the appropriateness of the project cards to the scenario and aims and make the best argument for a mix of projects within their resource limit. The red number in a circle on the project cards indicates the resource "cost" of each project. The total of these in any mix must not exceed the number on the scenario card.

If the team feels that they cannot construct a consistent mix which can be argued for, a card (or cards)  may be discarded and  replaced from the project pack. This attracts a penalty of one point (per card ) multiplied by the number of other teams playing. For example, for a game of five teams, each replacement will cost 4 penalty points which are subtracted from the team's score at the end of the game.

Stage 3 (10 mins)

Teams prepare a presentation of their network (using any method they see fit). Part of this presentation should indicate how the sustainability model will change because of the proposals that they make.

Stage 4 (depends on number of teams presenting - about 5mins. max per team)

Teams present their network to an audience of the other teams.  All teams have an allocation of  ten points to distribute to other teams (you cannot vote for your own team!). This is discussed within the team and written down simultaneously by all teams. The allocations are read out, scores calculated and penalty points applied. The winning team is the one with the highest score.

Notes for organisers

  • The game has been structured to produce debate on the usefulness and nature of community networking projects. It tries to strike a balance between the technological and the community aspects.
  • The cards are merely devices to stimulate debate. The descriptions are intentionally sketchy so that participants can fill the gaps from their own experience.
  • Organisers can adapt the game to suit their own requirements. Those wishing to use the game to explore a real situation can write their own start scenario and community aims. Those wishing to look at the effects of a particular technical innovation can devise their own project card - and so on.
  • The core of the game is the discussion on the construction of the network and teams should be encouraged to record this for their final presentation (use large sheets of paper, flipcharts, etc.) Although the numbers are important don't let teams become too fixed on these at the expense of general discussion.
  • The final presentation and scoring session should be kept light-hearted. This may also form the basis for further plenary discussion. Organisers can use points in the presentation or in the group discussions to emphasis aspects of network design or community need.

The game should be informative but fun!

Comments on the game are welcome.... to Drew Mackie <> and David Wilcox <> .

Or post your message to if you want to make your comments or ideas public.