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Tragedy of the Commons

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Joined: 10/28/2009

This is a game based off of the economic principle known as the Tragedy of the Commons. Its simple, and easy to produce at home. It can handle as many players as you want.

You need:
Tokens (Alot, varies between number of players, about 25/player) -I'm using glass beads that you use in aquariums/vases.
Cards or dice (Enough for each player to secretly choose 1, 2, or 3.)
-I'm using 6 sets of cards, labeled 1-3 printed off of powerpoint.

Object of the game: Be the first player to reach 30 tokens.

Set up:
Place 5 tokens per player into the center of the playing area, then remove 1 bead back to the stockpile. This forms the "Commons"

All players secretly choose 1, 2, or 3. When everyone has chosen, each player takes that number of tokens from the commons into their own pile.

After everybody has taken their selected number of tokens from the commons, refresh the commons with 2 beads per person from the stockpile.

If at any point in time the number of tokens requested by the players is more than the number of tokens in the commons, the game ends and everybody loses.

Players may make deals between themselves, but do not have to make good on any promises.
The tragedy of the commons predicts that everyone will lose, as most players take more tokens for themselves than the commons can produce. It is in everybody's best self-interest to take 3 pieces. Therefore the gameplay should start off this way. If this happens, and nobody changes their play style the game will end in the 3rd round.

Where X is the number of players.
Round Tokens in play
Start 5x-1
1 2x-1
1 refresh 4x-1
2 x-1
2 refresh 3x-1
3 -1 Game Over

Jpwoo's picture
Joined: 03/26/2009
This is a really neat idea.

This is a really neat idea. Thanks for sharing.

I think this could be a cool mechanic in part of a larger game.

Joined: 07/27/2008
Good work!

Good work!

Here is a thread I started long ago about the "tragedy of the commons". It might help you:


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