Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to play the "Future Games". The concept of this game is to give individuals the opportunity to make the hard decisions that need to be made concerning economic development and then to see the outcome of those decisions, two (2), five (5), twelve(12) and even thirty (30) +years down the road. It was a great learning experience everyone involved.
The large group was divided into smaller groups of 4-6. The game starts out in Northern Australia in the wheat belt, this area is depicted as being under environmental and economic stress. You are given a map that outlines the cities, counties and agricultural land. The map shows you population, industry, and services. Along with this map you are given certain facts about the area as to the environmental and economic impacts that certain conditions have on the area, also, you are given four (4) facts regarding world news. From this information you must make your first choice for change for your area. When each group completed that exercise they were given a new map. This new map is dated in the future and shows the repercussions of your choices. You are then given new information and new world news and you must again make choices for this area. The game continues through several more times until you reach your final map. At the end we were able to talk to the whole group as to how our smaller group came to its decisions. For those that were elected officials the thought process was different than those in community relations, as the elected officials felt certain decisions would affect their efforts to run for re-election. It was a very educational process. For those that are making decisions for their communities and counties to see an actual outcome either negative or positive for that area was very eye opening. Those that attended the seminar held in Sioux City at WITCC where in economic development, elected county and city officials, utility personnel, and educators. If you ever have the opportunity to attend a "Future Games" please take the time to get involved.