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Participatory modelling game to facilitate a dialogue regarding water management

Wat-A-Game (WAG) was invented by Nils Ferrand in 2009. The game lets players explore water management strategies and discuss water policies making use of easily available objects (such as bricks or marbles). Stakeholders can easily create hydrographic scenarios in which policies can be tested. WAG is more than a game: it is a methodological platform providing toolkits, guidelines and web-services for supporting the design of role-playing games customised by and for a wide range of water management stakeholders.


When to play

The game illustrates problems regarding water management on a small or large scale. One of the strengths of the game is that participants can easily demonstrate their views and problems, and also better understand and empathise with other stakeholders’ concerns. Due to its purpose and mechanics, this game can be useful in the discovery phase of a Design Thinking activity.

Commons-related features

  • Exchange views and informationThe game allows players to exchange ideas, information and world views while playing the game. 
  • TrainingThe game helps to confer some skill to the players (for example, guide them to build urban gardens).
  • Reflect on resources managementThe game lets you experience the challenges of managing a resource.

Best contexts to play

  • Expert meetingThe game could work well during an expert meeting regarding the commons for different purposes (such as reflecting about an urban challenge in a non-standard way).
  • Multi-stakeholder co-creation sessionThe game can be played to promote a debate with a wide range of actors (a.o. residents, designers or architects).
  • Decision-making activityThe game can guide participant decision-making in a variety of contexts, for example by facilitating a voting or consent process.


  • InformativeThe game conveys concrete knowledge about or insight into a real-world situation.
  • RealisticThe game play closely mimics or emulates real-world dynamics and contexts.
  • Interactive/communalThe game incites a continuous exchange of information, ideas or experiences between the players. The game play is really ‘done together’. 

How to obtain

The game is free for non comercial uses. Have a look at the conditions.

Check the website of the game