Fast serious analogue games in planning: the role of non-player participants

Micael Sousa, António Antunes, Nuno Pinto, Nelson Zagalo

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Public participation has benefited from innovative engagement tools that facilitate the negotiation between diverse sets of stakeholders with different planning perspectives. Our objective is to test and evaluate the use of a fast Serious Game (SG) to support a participation process in the context of a conference on urban mobility. We also aim to explore how these analogue games engage Player Participants (PPs) and Non-Player Participants (NPPs).
We developed an empirical approach where a fast analogue planning game was designed and deployed to support discussions during a conference on sustainable mobility. The game resulted from modding existing modern board games. We combined several game mechanisms and components with an urban map, following the Design, Play, Experience (DPE) framework for SG development. The low-tech game was available to Player Participants (PPs) and displayed in a way Non-Playing Participants (NPPs) could participate indirectly.
The proposed SG engaged PPs and NPPs. PPs immediately started to plan the local transport system establishing a collaborative dynamic. NPPs participated by helping PPs, providing them with their expert and local knowledge. The simplicity of the game and the way it was displayed contributed to the engagement of PPs and NPPs.
Our findings show that layout configurations and facilitation techniques with analogue games can foster the participation of PPs and NPPs. Low-tech analogue SGs can be useful when resources are low, SG experience is reduced, and fast solutions for citizen and stakeholder engagement are necessary.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSimulation & Gaming
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Dec 2021


  • Analog Games
  • Collaborative Planning
  • Public Participation
  • Serious Games


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