I enjoyed the game a lot! I was the conservationist. The group won and some individuals won. I learned that adjustment is so important in creating a conservation plan. Our group did a great job of implementing lessons revealed by our past experience of playing together. For example, we kept an extra eye on the character funds that went low last time to ensure all the members would have enough money to use “move action” cards. At the same time, we focused on extending what went well. At the beginning of each round, we planned all of the character decisions as a group. It led to us to working together at all steps of the process which is a key tenant of Collaborative Adaptive Management (CAM). I learned that we had to prioritize funding while also keeping in mind whether campaign social and campaign political influence were low. As long as campaign social and political influence were in check, it was useful to focus on increasing funds. Lastly, planning ahead was the best way to ensure population did not get too low. That way, we could use one character to increase the population if another character inevitably had to kill a substantial amount. I also learned it made more sense to make small population sacrifices in the short term, as long as we knew how we were going to increase it afterwards so that it would be sustained in the long run. One constraint that impacted us this time was funds. We ended up having to put a lot of attention towards individual character funds in order to fulfill group goals. It is a very realistic constraint. Not only is the ESA struggling with funding, but also the organizations that support the ESA’s mission are not operating in financial abundance. Also, only being able to use the “move action” card every other turn was a major constraint. It made it so that we had to plan out our moves. The outcome was realistic because it forced us to focus on all four being at the same location. It was realistic that, when all four of us were in the same location, we had the most success. The ‘table talk’ did not involve making deals to individually win. I imagine there would have been more of that in the real world because characters would keep their own winning at the fore front of decision-making as opposed to the campaign winning. While characters would prefer to win as a campaign and individually, they would probably choose to win individually if they could only have victory in one or the other. However, in the game, the #1 priority of all the characters was to win as a campaign. We did make each other aware of when we needed to take care of ourselves individually in order to do well as a group. That communication was crucial. Since our communication was so strong, there were not any very stressful moments. There were only slightly stressful moments when character points were getting low and we accordingly had to make decisions based upon that. I guess the events slightly stressed us out. However, we also had a lot of confidence we could effectively respond to the events. Often times, event options involved the campaign as a whole majorly losing in certain categories while majorly losing in other categories. Instead, I would heighten the stakes of decision-making by requiring more sacrifice made by individual characters so that one loses big at the expense of another winning big. I think that would more so resemble the real world.
Comment by Fenton Kay:
Mary, do you think this game has given you some insights into the real-world of management planning?
Yes! It did give me some insights into the real-world of management planning. It was specifically interesting to see all that each member brought to the group. For instance, some characters had cards that enabled them to contribute more political influence points to the campaign compared to others. Also, being at the same location on the game board reminded me of two agencies committing to being on the same page. However, in the game, movement to be at the same location as other characters involved paying a concrete cost for travel and also the opportunity cost of playing any other card. It resembled the sacrifices a character must make to collaborate in the real world. Still, the game revealed that collaboration leads to campaign success. Making the moves to be on the same page is ultimately worth it.
Comment by Elizabeth Pagliuca:
I agree with your point of adjustment being an essential part in creating a conservation plan. Both game my team and I played were over either about 6 rounds so perhaps increasing the stakes of the cards of the means by which individuals needed to win by would carry the game out longer. I felt as though in our table talk the transparency of each others funds and influences and the campaign criteria, making collaboration of what cards to play to help each other much easier. Do you think that if there were less transparency and players were only able to see the campaign there would be a different flow of the game?
Great point in saying increasing the needs to win would carry the game out longer. It is aligned with the real-world in that a drawback of CAM is that it takes so much time to make major strides in conservation efforts. Changing the rules to make there be less transparency amongst players would totally lead to making the game take longer. It just goes to show that, in the real world, lack of collaborating interferes with progress.