Bangalore is facing a changing environment for the disposal of waste. Waste can no longer be transported to Mandur, as this landfill has been recently closed on court orders. A new, decentralized plan for managing waste is being implemented by the municipal bodies of Bangalore. ₹ubbish! makes the players experience Bangalore’s waste crisis first hand, by dropping them in the middle of this situation. How will the players collectively tackle Bangalore’s waste crisis? And how will the players balance between economic and environmental constraints?
₹ubbish! challenges players to tackle the waste crisis in Bangalore, by playing the role of John, a DWCC manager. The players’ responsibilities include collection and disposal of dry waste and they need to ensure a clean city. Each player runs his own DWCCs, starting with one DWCC in one ward. Every round, waste is generated in all wards, however, the players can only collect the waste that is generated in the wards that have a DWCC. The remaining waste will be dumped in the landfill. Having a certain capacity, when this landfill overflows, all players lose. If the players manage to create a DWCC in every ward, they all win the game.
Every round is consists of four phases. In the first phase, players can choose to invest in buying a new DWCC. This will allow them to collect the waste generated in this ward (and consequently, keep it from being dumped in the landfill) and also provides them with more storage space to store their collected waste. Additionally, the player has the opportunity to work with a waste expert. These waste experts have in-depth knowledge about waste segregation and allow the player therefore to segregate dry waste in order for them to add value to their waste. After having made these decisions, the players will collect the generated garbage in the ward they have a DWCC present.
Three types of garbage are generated every round. Mixed waste consists of dry waste mixed with wet waste, unfortunately this waste can not be recycled and therefore has to be sent to the landfill. Dry waste solely consists of dry waste and can be recycled, but has to be segregated (with the help of the waste expert) before selling to recycling industries. Last, but not least, there is segregated waste. This is waste that is already segregated in different types of waste, for example PET bottles, carton boxes, milk covers etc. This waste does not require any segregation and can be sold immediately. The waste that is not collected at the end of this phase, is dumped in the landfill.
After collecting and segregating the waste, players can sell their waste to recycling industries. To complete one full round, each player takes a chance card. These cards depict an event that mirrors reality in a way that can either affect the individual player, or all players collectively in either a good way, or a bad way. For example:
“Truck strike: Truck drivers are on strike because they didn’t receive their salaries from the contractors for the past 4 months. DWCCs don’t receive waste next round. Keep this card over the board until next Chance Phase”.
A more detailed introduction to the game can be found in the presentation below.
We are in the process of user testing our third prototype of the game. Playing in the game with various experts of different backgrounds, resulted in some very unexpected and interesting observations. Until now, we have had three external game sessions. One with Lukas Schaefer, an urban environmental manager, one with Cisco and the MediaLab Amsterdam and one with visitors of Next Bangalore.
Given that we have had multiple playtests, we can now move away from testing the game mechanics and slowly move towards a focus on gameplay, used strategies and player interactions. Most players experienced during playing, that actually creating a DWCC in every ward, while keeping the landfill from overflowing, was very hard to do. Economic constraints have to be balanced with environmental constraint.
Interestingly, in the Cisco and MediaLab session, Gijs Gootjes (project manager MediaLab) commented on the other players when they kept money, instead of spending it to keep the landfill clean. Encouraging each other to buy more waste, even if this meant economic loss. Other players, did not really seem to mind the landfill, and were less drawn to cooperation with waste expert. They only bought the already segregated waste, and dumped the rest in the landfill. Some other interesting quotes: “Can I make the landfill bigger?”; “We can’t afford to be nice”; “Can I upgrade my DWCC to deal with wet waste?”; “Can I suggest you maybe purchase a DWCC?”. We noticed that having a discussion about the waste management crisis after playing the game becomes an easy transition, as the game provides the players with insights that mirror reality.
The last step in our project now, will consist of playtesting a few more times, including one playtest with Hasirudala. Also, we will move away from the paper prototype and build the final prototype with a little more volume to it.