Authors:Marie Jasinski, Design Planet and Sivasailam "Thiagi"
The two simple roleplay games following are offered
as models. Brief discussion is provided on each, plus
a rich text format ("word-processor friendly")
template to help you trial the idea:
The purpose of this role-play is to explore both sides
of a controversial issue. Depolarizer is based on the
philosophy that many issues we treat as problems to
be solved are actually polarities to be managed.
The product is a balanced list of positive and negative
statements about a controversial issue that can be used
as a basis for discussion or action planning around
Overview of the process
During the six rounds of the role-play, players explore
the issue from both a personal perspective and also
from a designated role. By informing the players about
the range of positions, the aim is to increase their
awareness of the spread of opinions around the issue.
By having players randomly role-play extreme positions,
they are encouraged to think about different points
of view. By reviewing extremely polarized comments,
players make more informed decisions. The roleplay typically
encourages players at extremes to get closer to the
average. Thus, it may not change anyones opinion,
but it increases players level of awareness of
alternative points of view.
Flow of the roleplay
Participants anonymously indicate their position toward
a controversial issue on a 9-point attitude scale. Eg
You must be a mug to teach online or Do lurkers learn?
Each player predicts the average attitude rating of
all inputs. The most accurate predictor wins the round.
Players assume randomly assigned positive or negative
roles. Each player contributes exaggerated statements
about the costs or benefits associated with the selected
issue from the point of view of a person with the assigned
Players review the statements and again send in their
position on the same 9-point scale.
Each player once again predicts the average attitude
rating of all inputs and a winner is announced.
The winner is announced. Players are invited to debrief
about the management of polarities or other issues raised
as a result of the role-play.
Template and Facilitator
Here is the Depolarizer
Template. It includes a complete set of step-by-step
instructions for facilitating the role-play.
To explore how stakeholder groups could influence positive
or negative outcomes.
Analysis and understanding of factors that could influence
specific positive and negative consequences.
Flow of the roleplay
In this role-play game, players participate in a time-travel
scenario and are projected into the future via a wormhole
to explore an issue relevant to their context
(eg, How an E-Business strategy turned out in the year
Players are randomly assigned either a utopian or a
dystopian version of the role-play and given a stakeholder
role from which to view the issue on question. eg business
development manager, teacher, managing director, IT
They are then asked to submit a 150 word story to a
facilitator which outlines how their designated stakeholder
contributed to either this utopian or dystopian future.
In this round, players dont know there is another
scenario or a range of stakeholder roles.
The facilitator collates the role-play stories under
the stakeholder roles and posts them on a Web site or
sends them back via email to the whole group.
After reviewing all optimistic and pessimistic postings,
players submit their five top ideas for ensuring a utopian
future for the issue in question.
The list of ideas are collated by the facilitator and
sent back to the whole group.
Players then vote on the top five ideas which can be
used as a basis for planning the next step in ensuring
a utopian outcome.
Players then join in a facilitated discussion using
a bulletin board or chat.
Template and facilitator
Here is the Galactic
Wormhole Template. It includes a complete set of
step-by-step instructions for facilitating the role-play.