The PlayDecide game enables players to get familiar with a question, see it from different perspectives and form or clarify their own opinion. PlayDecide also invites players to look at issues as a group: can you reach a positive consensus?
Born in 2004, the game is being used today in a wide range of dialogue events, by a diverse community of users: secondary school teachers, science engagement professionals, civil society organisations, professional trainers... Game topics range from vaccination to football refereeing. The game is suited for players aged 13+ and lasts 90 minutes. The ideal number of players in 4 to 8, with the possibility of splitting large groups into several smaller ones.
Today the PlayDecide platform is supported by Ecsite, the European network of science centres and museums.
A community of users
All games are shared under a rather generous Creative commons license. The PlayDecide tool relies on a solid community of users who have developed, shared, translated and sometimes "hacked" content over time. Cooperation and trust are at the heart of the game. Don't hesitate to contribute by translating games into new languages or creating your own on any societal issue.
Players and facilitators use this Facebook page to exchange tips and news - join!
A little history
PlayDecide was originally created as part of the EU-funded project Decide (2004-2007), coordinated by Ecsite, the European network of science centres and museums. The game took inspiration from a card game called "Democs", developed by the New Economics Foundation between 2001 and 2003.
As explained in a 2007 evaluation report, the game was developed "to further science centers’ efforts to be active forums for dialogue on complex ethical issues in science and society [..] as a tool for people to discuss and gain more insights in science and technology issues in response to needs for having a more involved and informed public throughout Europe." "Decide is an innovative and experimental attempt in this direction," stated the same report. "Through a collective table activity played in small groups, it provides an experience in which participants are called to inform themselves on the issues, to discuss them and to finally produce a shared policy option." (Duensing and Lorenzet 2007, p.6.)
The game evolved over time: as Bandelli and Konijn noted, "between 2005 and 2006, 'Decide' was basically a tool [..]. Then, starting in 2007, we noticed a radical development [...]: 'Decide' was changing from a project in which museums made available a tool that users could employ for their own purposes, to a process of much more meaningful and relevant civic action that relied on co-development by users themselves." (Bandelli and Konijn 2011, pp. 169-170)
In 2009 Playdecide.eu an online platform was developed, enabling users to create, adapt and translate games. This development was made possible by EU-funded project FUND (2009-2011) and extended thanks to EU-funded project Polka (2008-2012).
In 2018 Ecsite decided to give the ageing platform a makeover and funded its redevelopment. New features include an online step by step tool for facilitators, helping them guide players before, during and after the game.
Bandelli and Konijn (2011). “An experimental approach to strengthen the role of science centers in the governance of science”, In The Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics, Publisher: Routledge, Editors: Marstine, Janet C, pp.164-173.
Duensing and Lorenzet (2007). Decide Evaluation Report.
Duensing and Rowe (2011). FUND Summative Evaluation Report.
Photo credits for home page: PlayDecide session at the 2018 Ecsite Conference, Geneva, Switzerland © Ecsite / Museum Geneve / P. Wagneur | PlayDecide session at Espace Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Paris, France, October 2013 © TRACES / Meriem Fresson