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The Future Song Frankie Zek, Gabriela Araujo & Seungkyun Lee

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercialShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.











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WHAT IS THE FUTURE GAME? The Future Game is played with a group of 6 to 10 players, and a soft ball. It consists of three phases. The first one is brainstorming phase, players will envision an imaginary village that is facing a catastrophic event. They talk about the consequences of the event and share them. In the second phase players will create a rhythm to which they will dance and sing the solutions of the problems stated in the first phase, throwing the ball around. Finally the game ends with a discussion where the player can go more in depth with the problems and solutions stated in the previous phases. WHY DID WE MAKE IT? Many communities are focused on the shortterm day-to-day life, but it is valuable for them to have a shared vision of their future so that they can work towards a goal together. How can a game lead a community through a process of creating a shared vision?


LEARNING GOAL The goal of the Future Song is to inspire members of a community to envision an attainable future. It urges the community to assess its vulnerability and capacity, then break down a big problem into smaller, solvable parts. The game will help the community brainstorm achievable steps towards solutions and be better prepared for different scenarios. In the following example we focus on floods, but other topics can come into discussion.


WHAT YOU NEED 6-10 players including the facilitator 1 ball-shaped object It must be soft, so that it does not hurt the players Ex: rolled scarves/shirts, banana leaf ball, volleyball ball, etc.


PART 1: PROBLEM ANALYSIS & BRAINSTORMING In this part the players will talk about the communal problems of the village. PART 2: SINGING GAME Then players will use the rhythm learned to sing their solutions as they play a ball throwing game. PART 3: DISCUSSION After the game, players will share their experience and discuss how they will further develop their solutions.


PART 1: PROBLEM ANALYSIS & BRAINSTORMING In this part the players will talk about the communal problems of the village. All texts in “ ”(quotation marks) are for the facilitator to READ OUT LOUD to the players. Other texts are descriptions for the facilitator to read and better understand the game process


Gather around in a circle.


Introduce an imaginary village and get the players to think about it.

“Picture an ideal village where everything is perfect and happy. What do you see? What’s there? Who’s there? What are the children doing? What does the village look like?”


Introduce the problem the imaginary village faces. In this particular example the problem is a flood.

“But one problem with the village is flood. They get floods every now and then, just like we do here.”


Help the players realize the potential issues that rise because of floods.

“The imaginary village is going to get another flood soon. What are the potential dangers and problems?” “Think about what happened here in our village when there was a flood last time. What problems did we have as a village? What problem will the imaginary village have?” 5


Make sure the problems the players mention are on the community-level.

Ex. So nothing like “my toilet broke because of flood.” It will be fine if the player says “the village sewage system broke because of flood.”


Prompt the players to share the problems they thought of.


Pass the ball to the player on the right.



Ask the players to pay attention to what each person says and try to remember them.

“Now let’s share the potential problems you thought of. Also, pass the ball every time you say one problem. Imagine that this ball carries all the problems you are saying. Pay attention to what everybody says and try to remember it.”


The facilitator states a problem as an example to start the brain storming process. Then he/she passes the ball to the player next to him/her.

Ex: “The flood is ruining all the crops.”


After everyone has said something, ask the players to come up with a couple of ideas to solve the problems that were mentioned in the circle. But don’t let them say the solutions yet.

“Now please think of a way to solve the problems everyone just mentioned. Come up with a few ideas. Keep the ideas to yourselves, don’t say them just yet.” 6

PART 2: SINGING GAME Then players will use the rhythm learned to sing their solutions as they play a ball throwing game.


Stay in the circle, if needed stand up.


Explain the rules for throwing the ball. There are three possibilities.

Case 1

A hits B, B sings A’s solution.

If the thrower successfully hits another player with the ball, the player who has been hit will have to solve the problem that was said by the thrower.

Case 2

A does not hit B, A sings his/her solution.

If the ball doesn’t hit anyone the thrower will have to answer his/her own solution. 7

Case 1

A throws, B catches, B throws again.

If a player catches the ball he/she doesn’t have to solve any problem. He/she gets to throw the ball to another player. DO NOT HIT OTHER PLAYER IN THE HEAD AND BE CAREFUL NOT TO HURT THEM.


The players can improvise a rhythm or take an existing popular melody, and adapt it to the game.


Clap along.


Facilitator passes the ball to his/her right, while they all clap along.


Once the ball goes back to the facilitator he/ she will start the game by throwing the ball to a random player.

Follow the throwing rules & don’t loose the rhythm. While people throw the ball they say their problem.


The game is over when all the problems are solved. Or, the game can end when the facilitator decides it will be beneficial to stop and start the discussion part.

The problem with most solutions wins. If there is a tie, the problem with most applicable solutions win. If your problem is not solved by the end of the game you lose. 8

PART 3: DISCUSSION This game demonstrates that the effective way to solve a problem is to break it down into small solvable parts and coming up with achievable goals. Also sharing ideas with the community and having fun at the same time is a healthy practice. Explain that the objective of the game is to share problems and help each other as a community so that the village can be prepared for the future. That is why it was important to be able to come up with a solution for other players’ problem statements. “Who got to toss the ball?” Explain that tossing and passing the ball to another person is analogous to sharing a problem with the community. Passing a problem is not a bad thing, but it is actually a great way to seek more effective solutions. “Who got hit by the ball?” Explain that this person represents a situation where the community was caught by surprise by a problem, so the community has to come up with solutions quickly. “Who caught the ball and tossed it back at others?” Explain that this person represents the dialogs that go on in a community. The more dialogs, the more effective the problem-solving process. 9

Ask questions about their solutions, and pursue them. Start a discussion based on the output of the game. Give the group an opportunity to solve the problem. Examples: “Do you feel more motivated to take actions?” “Do you feel more comfortable sharing problems and ideas now?” “Will you be better prepared for future flood?” “What does this game teach you about preparing for flood?” “Describe your motivation. Do you feel more motivated to solve a problem after this game?” “Which problems do you feel motivated to solve for the community? Why?” “Do you feel more comfortable sharing problems and discussing ideas now? How does this game help you share thoughts?” “Did you discover anything new about the village from hearing everyone’s thoughts? If yes, what did you learn new?” “How does this game help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the village?”


ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES What if one player who has his/her problem already solved get hit by the ball again? Just solve the solution in another way. In the real world, there are always multiple solutions to one problem and it is beneficial to talk about many solutions. As a variation, the game can follow a call and response song. The nature of the call and response song meant there was one lead singer, with others chanting in unison and agreeance. If player have trouble remembering the throwing rules practice them before singing. If a player joins in the middle of the game and gets hit there are two possible choices for the facilitator to follow. The facilitator can choose to assign a problem and explain the rules quickly or he/she can get the ball and throw it again.



Frankie Zek Phone: 646 406 0007 E-mail: Note: I’m available to work in future projects.

Seungkyun Lee Phone: 401 965 9663 E-mail:

Gabriela Araujo Phone: 917 284 0082 E-mail: (prefered contact) Note: I’m available to work in game design and Game art for Red Cross and Red Crescent in Future projects if there is a need.


THE FUTURE GAME Frankie Zek, Gabriela Araujo & Seungkyun Lee

Future Game Rules  

Collab:Games For New Climates. Parsons 2013. Game Designed by: Frankie Zek, Gabriela Araujo and Seungkyun Lee