Civic Intelligence RPG

From civicintelligence

Civic Intelligence RPG

Peak oil has long passed. The modern convenience that cheap fossil fuel once afforded is harder and harder to maintain. Politicians have failed to adjust government to be of any use to the citizens living in a world falling apart at the seams. In this game players take on the role of citizens of a small city working together to build a sustainable future.


  • Karl Determeyer
  • Michael O'Neill
  • Amber Pecolatto
  • Michael Phillips
  • Vera Rankis
  • Morgan Reisdorfer

Game Rules

Project Cards

Click the Project Cards link above to work on your assigned cards.

We imagine that the Project Scenarios can span a vast array of possible events that a community or city could face. The list of project scenarios that we have chosen is by no means exhaustive, but we believe that it encompasses enough to make the game realistic and fun to play again.

Set Up

  1. Each player chooses a Character and picks a color of token to use.
  2. The Project Cards are shuffled face down and four are drawn and placed in the Current Project section of the board.
  3. The Community Sustainability Meter is set at 30 minutes to midnight.
  4. The action cards are shuffled and placed on the table.
  5. The player with the most letters in their last name will go first and play will continue counter-clockwise.

Game Turns

  1. At the start of each player turn they draw an action card
  2. Each player, in turn, spends their available action points to:
    1. Join a project
    2. Leave a project
    3. Roll to work on a project task
    4. One action card can be played for free, additional action cards take an action to play.
  3. Use tokens to accumulate successes on project cards.
  4. If a project scenario is completed it is moved to the Completed Project section of the board and a new Active Project is drawn.
  5. After all players have spent their action points a turn counter is placed on all projects that have been in play the full turn.
  6. Any project scenario that reaches its turn limit is moved to the Failed Project section of the board.
  7. The Community Sustainability Meter is adjusted based on Active, Completed, and Failed projects.

The game ends if Sustainability is reached and maintained for two additional turns, or the meter reaches midnight.


Character Cards

Blank Role Card
The Single Parent

Character Skills

Points 1-6

12 points total

At least 1 point in each

  • Organization/Planning
  • Communication/Leadership
  • Community currency
  • Networking

Action Cards

Action Cards are fairly self-explanatory, they are actions that a citizen would take. The action cards are to be used by the players to help them finish the project scenarios.

Make sure to add the skill increase for your numbers

  • Buy a Prius or a Volt
    • play card to get +2 to next Community currency roll
  • Volunteer at a food bank
    • play card to get +2 to next Communication/Leadership roll
  • Buy Girl Scout cookies
    • play card to get +1 to next Communication/Leadership roll
  • Work or build a community garden
    • add +1 to your Communication/Leadership skill
  • Babysit for a friend
    • get 2 extra actions
  • Raise money for the local animal shelter
    • play card to get +2 to next Community currency roll
  • Start a community recycling program
    • move the clock two minutes towards noon
  • Volunteer for community cleanliness
    • get two extra actions
  • Start a community watch
    • add +1 to your Organization/Planning skill
  • Wash my car in an ecofriendly car wash
    • play card to get +1 to next Communication/Leadership roll
  • Purchase environmentally friendly appliances
    • add 1 to your community currency skill
  • Switch to bio fuels
    • get four extra actions
  • Attend a free school class
    • Gain +1 in Networking
  • Lead a free school class
    • Gain +2 in Organizing/Planning
  • Equip home with alternative power
    • Gain +3 in Networking
  • Let your neighbor borrow your lawnmower
    • Gain +1 Community Currency
  • unplug things not in use
    • Gain +1 Community Currency
  • Buy natural cleaning supplies
    • Gain +1 in Communication/Action
  • Create back yard garden
    • Gain +3 in Networking
  • Donate food to local Food Bank
    • Gain +2 in Community Currency
  • Start composting
    • Gain +1 in Organizing/Planning
  • Organize a community picnic
    • Gain +3 in Organizing/Planning
  • Plant a tree
    • Move Dooms day Clock toward noon 4 minutes
  • Volunteer for childcare collective
    • Gain +3 in Networking
  • Volunteer at old folks home
    • Gain +2 in Networking
  • Help at animal shelter
    • Gain +2 in Networking

Disaster Strikes!

  • Walmart comes to town
    • Spend turn Protesting
  • Starbucks comes to town
    • 1 action lost
  • E. Coli outbreak
    • Dooms day clock moves 20 minutes towards midnight
  • FDA tries to shut down local food bank
    • Spend turn protesting
  • Swine flu
    • Every player loses 1 action this turn
  • Forest fire
    • Dooms day clock moves 3 minutes towards midnight
  • Bad harvest
    • Dooms day clock is frozen for 2 turns
  • Mass Unemployment
    • Every play loses 1 community/action point
  • African bees
    • Dooms day clock move forward ten minutes

Early Development Notes

Pattern Cards

We based the development of our game on the list of pattern cards from the Public Sphere Project the aim of which is to "help create and support equitable and effective public spheres all over the world."

Role of Players

The group felt as if these cards reflected the role of the players in our game

Connection to Real Life


Board areas

  • City hall
  • Elementary School
  • College
  • Downtown
  • Non-profit org. headquarters
  • Hospital
  • Housing development (the projects)
  • Suburbia
  • Forest/wetlands/undeveloped nature
  • Industrial area
  • Waste management
  • Church

"Team Sofa King Awesome" (how is this not a great name?) is interested in designing a role playing game. Some of the examples mentioned were:

Moving Towards a Civic Community In our first brainstorming session we envisioned some of the elements of the game we might design:

  • Character Sheets - a number of different roles within a community. Each character could have
    • Attributes
    • Personal Goals
    • Flavor Text
  • Scenarios - these would drive the game by giving the characters something to work towards
    • each scenario might have multiple phases
    • each phase could impose a limited number of turns to be completed in
  • Other game elements
    • Resources
    • Influence

We agreed to meet an hour before class next Wednesday to play Mansions of Madness

Here are some more ideas about the game:

This is from Doug's Paper

  1. Orientation - describes the purpose, principles and perspectives that help energize an effective deployment of civic intelligence.
  2. Organization- refers to the structures, methods and roles by which people engage in civic intelligence.
  3. Engagement - refers to the ways in which civic intelligence is an active force for thought, action, and social change. #Intelligence - refers to the ways that civic intelligence lives up to its name.
  4. Products and Projects - refers to some of the outcomes, both long-term and incremental, that civic intelligence might produce.
  5. Resources - refers to the types of support that people and institutions engaged in civic intelligence work need.

We might be able to incorporate these into the game as steps for the scenarios to follow.

I also thought we could frame our game around one overarching scenario or some big picture issue that would take Civic Intelligence to solve. One thing that came to mind was Peak Oil leading to industrial collapse and the challenge the players would be faced with would be to work together to save their local community. If we go with something like this we could look at the Transition Network as a resource to see what that organization is doing to promote Civic Intelligence in a sustainability context.