The Fishermen’s Dilemma

Liron Lerman
Class: -
Instructor:

The Fishermen’s Dilemma was inspired by Garrett Hardin’s economic theory “The Tragedy of the Commons”, and its goal is to educate players to cooperate and maximize the social gains although their incentive for personal gains is higher. When given access to a common resource, humans tend to overexploit it, and could by all means do the same in the game; In the Fisherman’s Dilemma, players need to learn to govern the commons while using partial information, without an external “punisher” (like a government or police) that forces them to cooperate, in order to avoid the potential “tragedy.”

The game is played on iOS/Android mobile devices, and one mutual physical board game, through which two to four players can connect to the same game environment and share the same “augmented” fish distribution. When a player removes fish from the commons, the fish distribution gets updated and synced throughout all devices. The game has hidden information embedded through its augmentation, where each player can only see his nearby surroundings and therefore only part of the board’s information (what fish type remained in the ocean, and where).

As players exploit the commons, the augmented environment is going to change its settings, through visuals and audio to indicate the players they are doing something wrong. However, players can also learn how to balance the game, and fish just enough, and move to a higher state of game.

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