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But ‘Decline and Fall’ was never designed to be fair. It was produced in Italy, a collaboration between award-winning game designers DO Arts and Edwardo Gibbone, a social-psychologist at the University of Bologna. Gibbone’s team are now studying the game outcomes as teams of players sign up from around the world.
 
But ‘Decline and Fall’ was never designed to be fair. It was produced in Italy, a collaboration between award-winning game designers DO Arts and Edwardo Gibbone, a social-psychologist at the University of Bologna. Gibbone’s team are now studying the game outcomes as teams of players sign up from around the world.
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“We wanted to investigate how the players managed the collective impact of enforced energy-use restriction. To do this we had to get them hooked on one way of managing their societies, and then see how they reacted to a change in this environment.” says Gibbone
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“We wanted to investigate how the players managed the collective impact of enforced energy-use restriction. To do this we had to get them hooked on one way of managing their societies, and then see how they reacted to a change in this environment.” says Gibbone.
    
“We designed the game-play to be open enough to afford multiple different strategies in response to shortages in fossil fuels, clean air and water, and food simultaneously with catastrophic climate change and a population explosion large enough to tax environmental carrying capacity even without the other pressures. In doing so we hope to study the psychology of groups in crisis.”
 
“We designed the game-play to be open enough to afford multiple different strategies in response to shortages in fossil fuels, clean air and water, and food simultaneously with catastrophic climate change and a population explosion large enough to tax environmental carrying capacity even without the other pressures. In doing so we hope to study the psychology of groups in crisis.”
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Specific theories to be tested by Gibbone’s research include the importance of trade links, democratic political organisation, free media, cultural exchange and technological development.
 
Specific theories to be tested by Gibbone’s research include the importance of trade links, democratic political organisation, free media, cultural exchange and technological development.
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“The dynamics of the game are designed so as that painless transition to low-energy use societies is possible at all points of the game, even the final hours. Winning strategies aren’t hard to identify, in theory there are multiple routes to success — but the level of coordination required stops most groups of players from achieving it”
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“The dynamics of the game are designed so as that painless transition to low-energy use societies is possible at all points of the game, even the final hours. Winning strategies aren’t hard to identify, in theory there are multiple routes to success — but the level of coordination required stops most groups of players from achieving it.”
    
The project is due to complete in 2012, when an estimated 400,000 players from around the world will have played ‘Decline and Fall’. Gibbone is due to make a presentation of the results and the implications for real world civilisation at the World Climate Change Conference in Geneva that year.
 
The project is due to complete in 2012, when an estimated 400,000 players from around the world will have played ‘Decline and Fall’. Gibbone is due to make a presentation of the results and the implications for real world civilisation at the World Climate Change Conference in Geneva that year.
    
Early reports from teams playing the game have been unpromising. When asked how successful teams of players have faced down their global crisis Gibbone just says “We’ll let you know when it happens”.
 
Early reports from teams playing the game have been unpromising. When asked how successful teams of players have faced down their global crisis Gibbone just says “We’ll let you know when it happens”.
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