Solving social dilemmas in the Oosterschelde

The floods of 1953 caused a lot of buzz in the Netherlands. A big plan was set in motion to make sure something like this would never happen again. We started defending ourselves more actively against potential floods. Het Watersnoodmuseum in Zealand tells stories of the disastrous events to newer generations.  Studio Inscape wanted to set up a discussion game in the museum to give everyone a “voice” regarding the Delta Works. We coached the design studio, and developed the hard- and software to guide the multimedia in the game.

Oosterschelde in negotiations





Number of players

9 to 12 players


Climate change, Delta Works, nature


30-45 minutes

Learning goal: Giving everyone a “vote”regarding the Delta Works

The question What would the (political) voice of a fish sound like?

What would the political voice of an eel, crab or porpoise sound like? How does one represent non-humans in our democracy? That was Embassy of the North Sea’s question. Dutch and Flemish students were invited to take part in this design contest, divided in three so-called “North Sea cases”: a voice for the eel, underwater sounds in the North Sea and future of the Delta.

The last case is about how we can best listen to the different Delta-communities (like farmers, but also animals) and how we can include them in the conversation. In this category, the contest was won by Studio Inscape, a young design studio from Rotterdam with their discussion game “Oosterschelde in Onderhandeling” (Oosterschelde in Negotiations).

Studio Inscape was looking for substantive expertise in the field of game design and technical realization to go from contest to end product. They came to us.

Oosterschelde in negotiations

How do you represent a seal in the Oosterschelde? – Photo:  Jord de Kat Angelino

The solution Oosterschelde in Negotiations

Studio Inscape won the contest with a scale model and a presentation. To get a good result we had regular coaching sessions, in which we supported the young designers with the development of their serious game. 

In these coaching sessions we discussed the theoretical background of serious games. How do games work? How do you make one? What is involved in the process? But of course we discussed the practical aspects as well. Think for example about how one extra turn can affect the entire flow of the game. This way you can prevent the game from becoming unnecessarily difficult.

The game consists of three phases. During the first phase the players get introduced to the political question regarding the Oosterschelde that they have to find a solution for, they also have to represent a single allocated political voice to the best of their abilities. In the second phase, players will create a web that visualizes the relations between humans and non-humans in and around the Oosterschelde. Finally, players will have a discussion about the best possible solutions for the different dilemmas. Players need to work together from a political standpoint; you will need to make sacrifices to come to a joint conclusion. It’s a give and take situation.

Oosterschelde in negotiations

Which choice will you make? – Photo: Jord de Kat Angelino


Finally, we developed the control panel for the game master. With this control panel, the game master will be able to easily start the discussion, fill in the results and play various videos to give the players more information. This control panel is ‘plug and play’. You only need to plug it in and you can get started. Together with Studio Intake’s finishing touches we are very happy with the end result!

The result an interactive discussion game in “Het Watersnoodmuseum”

After numerous small scale models, the interactive discussion game was placed in the watersnoodmuseum in Ouwekerk in Zealand on Friday, October 8th. Everyone will be able to experience the different political dilemmas related to the plans to protect our country against floods.

Oosterschelde in negotiations

The discussion table in its full glory – Photo: Jord de Kat Angelino

Do you also have a social issue for us?

Oosterschelde in Negotiations is a good example of a social issue we like to tackle. Do you also have a social issue for us? Please do not hesitate to contact us. We like to think along with you.

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This post is also available in: Nederlands

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Koen Fraijman

Serious Game Expert

T: 015 20 24 772