[p2p-research] P2P economics game design concepts

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 10 13:01:34 CEST 2009

Dear Joseph,

This is a fantastic and very important initiative ...

unfortunately, it's not really my thing, I have little fantasy for these
type of things, so forgive me if I'm not very active in contributing, but I
really hope others do ..

I think it would also benefit from some real-time brainstorming ...

Feel free to also publish your appeal on the ning forum, and also to
announce it on the regular blog


On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 8:17 AM, Joseph Jackson <joseph.jackson at gmail.com>wrote:

> Dear All, in preparation for a high profile conference I have planned for
> July 29-31, 2010 I have found a game design team to create a game suitable
> for distribution to various influential thought leaders and the public at
> large; trying to teach P2P/ Open Innovation concepts.
> If you have time please respond to me, joseph.jackson at gmail.com  or go to
> this google group
> http://groups.google.com/group/p2p-economics-game-design-brainstorm  to
> communicate your ideas and criticisms to the game designers.
> They have sent me an initial framework I reproduce below.  First see my
> original thinking based around the 1976 game Anti-Monopoly.  Then see the
> developer response which presents an interesting twist on Poker.  Then see
> Smari's brainstorming.  I need to decide on something so as to fund some
> initial rule set development.  We could try to design the whole thing in a
> P2P way, but I think it is useful for me to retain a core team of paid
> developers if a product is to be ready in time for next year's event.
> Thanks
> "
> Peeropoly: The boardgame of abundance, prosperity, and plenty.
> After attending enough conferences and watching the eyes of venture
> capitalists and other investors glaze over at the mention of Open Source
> applied to biotechnology, it was clearly time to devise a teaching tool to
> explain the economics of sharing nicely.
> The best way is to create a game so simple even a child, or a VC, could
> understand! This project, to distill the essence of Peer Production into an
> abstract set of rules, sharpens our own understanding and forces us to
> convey the ideas clearly and compellingly.
> History: The world’s most popular board game, the aptly and as we will see
> ironically named Monopoly, was, as it turns out, also originally devised as
> a teaching tool. In 1974, Ralph Anspach invented the Anti-Monopoly game. The
> incredible story of his decade long legal battle with Parker Brothers, a
> battle in which he uncovered the truth about the history of Monopoly, that
> the game itself was an unfair monopoly, stolen from an earlier game invented
> by Quakers and in the public domain for years, is summarized at
> http://www.antimonopoly.com/.
> His riveting book, The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle
> <http://www.amazon.com/Billion-Dollar-Monopoly-Swindle/dp/0738831395/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210289635&sr=8-1>
> is highly recommended.
> Concept: Just as the original Monopoly predecessor, called the Landlord’s
> Game and Prosperity, was intended to teach economics, namely Henry George’s
> theory of the single tax on unearned rent from appreciation of land values
> that the landlord effortlessly and thus unjustly captured, Peeropoly will
> teach the emerging economics of Peer Production.
> At heart, Monopoly is supposed to be a satire of the excesses of
> capitalism. Players are supposed to understand that the winner is the “most
> successful villain.” In practice, the game has led to an unintended
> glorification of monopoly. To correct this, Maggie Phillips, inventor of the
> first landlord’s game, created another called the Landlord’s Game and
> Prosperity. The key innovation was the the choice to vote to change the
> rules of play by majority consensus at any time during play. Once the
> players learned that the first rule set, the standard winner take all game,
> made one player rich but impoverished the rest, they would logically vote to
> play under the second set, in which all unearned gains were redistributed to
> the community. This was not anti-capitalist, players still kept income from
> houses or improvements they made on the land, just not from the title
> itself.
> Mr. Anspach’s Anti-Monopoly game went through several versions. Originally
> he created a game whose theme was to “bust the trust.” The board started out
> in the hands of monopolists and the goal was to break up ownership and
> create true free enterprise. Later, he modified the game so that players
> start in the normal Monopoly way, but can play as monopolists or
> competitors, illustrating the difference between a free market and a
> monopoly in real estate.
> Plan: The design process will itself be an instance of peer production. Our
> game will draw on the previous concepts from the Landlord’s game and
> Anti-Monopoly. We imagine a game in which players compete and cooperate to
> develop natural/energy, scientific, and cultural resources. Players can
> adopt a monopolist or a peer strategy. They will acquire intellectual
> property certificates over resources such as the human genome, the broadcast
> spectrum, oil sites, etc.
> The following rules are speculative at this point: just brainstorming.
> There are many things to work out depending on how we devise the victory
> conditions. The Landlord’s game ended when the poorest player obtained twice
> as much money as had been distributed to the individual players at the
> beginning, thus illustrating that prosperity had been achieved. The main fun
> of Monopoly is the ruthless 0 sum drive to destroy your opponents. We have
> to figure out how to capture this excitement in the context of rules that
> demonstrate the virtues of sharing nicely. Essentially the game must show
> that while monopoly is good for the monopolists, it is very unstable and
> dangerous for us all. Thus, game events such as oil shocks, avian flu, or
> crop devastation because of a monoculture’s vulnerability to
> pests/pathogens, will demonstrate the danger of monopoly. Some way to
> measure the player who creates the most wealth (is responsible for the most
> development) rather than acquires the most, would be ideal.
> If you land on a space controlled by a monopolist you must pay rent unless
> you try to infringe, at which point you “go to court” and just like in real
> life, essentially “roll the dice” to determine the outcome. If the
> monopolist doesn’t like the outcome, they can pay more and roll again–just
> like in real life where he who hires the most lawyers usually wins. These
> legal battles can quickly cost a lot, meaning that players will typically
> just pay the tax/rent. If a monopoly is found invalid, the property is back
> in the public domain and open for development under a Peer strategy.
> Monopolists will pay dearly to preserve control as each monopoly property
> pays large amounts of rent while a Peer owned property simply generates a
> modest amount of income per turn. However, Peers do not pay rent to one
> another, and can benefit from improving their properties.
> Obviously we could quickly make a game that is too complicated which
> defeats the purpose. Thus we are soliciting many ideas in the forums and
> will narrow it down.
> Seeking: a core dedicated team of rule designers and testers is needed.
> When the rules have been devised they need to be balanced and play tested.
> This can be done by having a computer play the game a few thousand times.
> There is actually quite a lot of probability work involved in the original
> game as to which squares are most often landed on and thus most valuable to
> own.
> We also need someone with artistic ability. There is a make your own
> “opoly” kit that can be a starting point. http://www.tdcgames.com/MYO.htm
> Also a Microsoft satire game, called micropoly is at micropoly.com<http://www.micropoly.com/>.
> The project does not seem to be active but there is some material to
> download and examine.
> Finally, we need some programmers on the team as it makes sense to build a
> computer version of the game both for testing purposes and eventual release
> with the prototype for a board game."
> "Joseph
> I have attached a short doc that gives an overview of what we are trying
> to accomplish with the design including the method of play.
> Once you and your partners have reviewed and hopefully approved the
> approach we will refine the concept, produce simple test copies and
> proceed with the initial testing process. Yes and of course bill you. If
> you have any trepidation to the direction we are taking now would be the
> time to bring it up, as re-starting later will be time consuming.
> I will be visiting and exhibiter at GenCon in two weeks that has a PoD
> game production business. They would be able to produce small numbers of
> games at a reasonable price to use in outreach. This would be a possible
> option incase your plan to produce copies for the general population
> changes and you still want to follow through with the original educational
> concept alone. Right now I know they have the capability to make Peer
> Poker yet I have not seen their products first hand. Quality is always an
> issue with PoD producers so I’ll let you know what you’ll get for your
> money."
> Proposed Peer Poker Design
> The authors were approached to create a board game that the clients can use
> in business seminar and workshop settings to demonstrate the relative
> advantages of different business entities working together rather than in
> strict competition. Ideally, the game will be straightforward to learn, yet
> provide the players meaningful choices that, at least on an abstract level,
> show how shared resources can sometimes be more beneficial to every
> stakeholder than would be possible individually. Since the potential real
> life applications are widely varied (e.g., open source software libraries,
> shared production lines, published biotechnology research, group health
> care, etc.), the in-game components should be kept relatively generic, at
> least during the initial development. This way, the clients can use the same
> game with groups in a variety of industries or, if desirable, customize
> certain thematic details in derivative works for use within individual
> target industries.
> Most seminars and workshops are likely to be held in group settings, so the
> authors will work to create a game that scales well with three to eight
> players. In larger group settings, the facilitators can divide the
> participants into teams that need not be equal (to simulate smaller and
> larger entities within the industry or other customized scenarios). Playing
> time should be under two hours, and enjoyable enough to keep the primary
> target demographic (investors, executives and decision makers who value
> their time) interested and engaged. In addition, the game will be tailored
> to also appeal to wide demographic (such as families), because larger print
> runs would greatly reduce per unit production cost allowing for a financial
> return in addition to the game's instructive benefits.
> Expected Components
>    - Paper Money (enough to have a working but limited in-game economy, in
>    a realistic size for easier handling)
>    - Loan Documents (notes in one or two denominations for simplicity, and
>    similar in size to the paper money)
>    - Markers (winks, chips or cubes) in eight colors (probably eight of
>    each, to represent the entities' claims on projects)
>    - Cards (probably around 100, representing combinations of resources
>    such as ideas, talent, experience, research, equipment, technology, popular
>    or political support, etc. over a range of values and costs)
>    - Board (with spaces for cards and markers to keep track of developing
>    and completed projects and claims, to help determine returns on investments
>    when projects are completed, to give bonuses or exact penalties for
>    investing in certain areas and so on)
>    - Rules
>    - Box Inserts and/or Zipper Bags (for keeping components tidy)
>    - Box
> Brief Description of Play
> Game play will feature a mix of competition and cooperation. Players (or
> teams) representing investors and/or company decision makers will take turns
> using money to pay for a limited number of actions. Some of the possible
> actions include:
>    - Purchase a card from a shuffled deck into your hand
>    - Play a card from your hand onto the board to open, advance or close
>    projects
>    - Replace an existing card on the board to improve your own projects
>    (or possibly sabotage a competing project)
>    - Invest in or claim exclusive rights to resources and/or projects
>    - Pay royalties to use resources owned by others
>    - Repay loans (whether to a bank or to other players)
>    - Release exclusive claims (doesn't cost money, but may be used in
>    negotiations or to retrieve a marker for future use elsewhere)
> Projects close when all the spaces representing that project are filled
> with cards, and the closure of the second projects represents reaching a
> deadline. At that point, all projects in a given area become due, whether
> completed or not, and returns on investment and losses are determined
> according to how they compare. A system roughly comparable to Poker is used
> to evaluate project rankings at the deadline. Projects can outshine one
> another by having better attributes:
>    - More valuable resources (like higher cards in Poker)
>    - Synergy due to resources of matching value working well together
>    (like two, three, four or five cards of the same value in different types of
>    resource)
>    - Clear progression (like straights)
>    - Strength in a particular area (like flushes)
>    - Combining two or more of the above (like straight flushes)
> Players may negotiate with one another about where or how to strategically
> invest in projects, loan money to one another, form alliances, make claims,
> and release rights. But since cards held in hands represent potential
> resources and technology that do not yet exist, the contents of players'
> hands may not be revealed to each other.
> Among the projects that came due, returns on investments are determined by
> consulting a simple look-up table in the rules. Then, the best project takes
> the largest share of the returns on the investments, and the second best
> takes some smaller share. Under performing projects get nothing. Returns or
> costs are shared proportionally among the stakeholders.
> 1. Example: Player A has exclusive rights to both the best and the second
> best projects. All of the returns from these projects go to Player A.
> 2. Example: Players A, B and D are invested 50%, 25% and 25%, respectively
> in the best project. Player A gets half of the best project returns, and
> players B and D each get half the remainder.
> 3. Example: Player C has exclusive rights to a project that does not pay
> off at the deadline. Player C gets no money.
> After investment returns are paid, the resources from the two projects that
> closed (even if they were not among the highest ranked) are removed from the
> board. Markers are either returned to their owners or transferred to other
> projects depending upon where they were on the board.
> As in the real business world, success is measured by how well each player
> or team uses their money and resources to generate more money. At the end of
> the game, players or teams are ranked based upon how well they did with what
> they had. Any positive return is good, but more is obviously better.
> Smari:
> " Have finally made it through the Peer Poker proposal, and it seems
> very lacking. It makes certain structural assumptions that I think don't
> readily apply within the P2P or open source contexts. The fact that
> loans, claims and rights are built seems a bit weird.
>  An alternative proposal... I've played a number of roleplaying and
> tabletop board games in my time so I can see how this kind of game
> dynamic might play out, but it's just a thought that came to me as I was
> reading the other proposal.
>  Each player represents a village. The village has a size on the scale
> from 1-20. Depending on the size of the village they have a certain
> amount of time resource units that can be allocated and reallocated each
> turn. These can be traded between players, but the total number in play
> is always the sum of the sizes of all the villages.
>  At the beginning of each turn players draw cards from a deck. The
> cards have three types: Resources, events, and technologies.
>  A resource needs time units allocated to it in order be used.
>  Events can be good or bad, and represent the will of the villagers,
> natural disasters, political situations or changes in prosperity.
>  Technologies need to be put into play in order to be used. When
> they're put into play they can be put into the player's area, granting
> him a monopoly over the technology, or into the commons, allowing
> everybody to use it.
>  Here's where it gets interesting.
>  Each village has a needs card with tokens on it. There are six bars
> representing six measures of prosperity: Exposure (too hot, too cold),
> hunger, thirst, injury/illness, luxury and happiness. Each bar has five
> places on it (see attachment) - hereafter known as Very High, High,
> Adequate, Low and Very Low. At the beginning of the game each player has
> tokens on all the middle row... and five cards on hand.
>  Now consider a game:
>   Player 1 has five cards on hand:
>        - Technology: Irrigation
>                        - doubles food production in farms
>        - Resource: Copper mine
>                        - requires 5 labor
>                        - provides +1 luxury
>        - Technology: Genetics
>                        - doubles health production from hospitals
>        - Event: Drought
>                        - -3 thirst to all players.
>        - Resource: Army
>                        - requires 5 labor
>                        - Can inflict -1 health to another village
>  Player 2 likewise has five cards on hand:
>        - Resource: Comedians
>                        - requires 1 labor
>                        - Adds 1 resistance to happiness drops.
>        - Technology: Insulation
>                        - Doubles exposure protection in housing
>        - Event: Forest fire
>                        - Pick two players; they get -2 exposure each.
>        - Event: Pandemic flu outbreak
>                        - All players get -4 health
>        - Resource: Well
>                        - Requires 1 labor
>                        - provides +1 water
> Token states can be traded (I'll give you one water in exchange for one
> luxury), and so on...
> This would need substantial playtesting of course, but how does the
> basic idea strike you?"
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Work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhurakij_Pundit_University - Research:
http://www.dpu.ac.th/dpuic/info/Research.html - Think thank:

P2P Foundation: http://p2pfoundation.net  - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net

Connect: http://p2pfoundation.ning.com; Discuss:

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