Role playing game description

Although the mode of communication and players varied across games, there were some common features in all games. The pertinent features common to all games are as follows:

Game board

In all the games, a wooden game board resembling the ones used for tradition game tiger and cattle “ta-da-no” was used (Figure A3.1). To suit for the game, the board had 12 hollow outs designed to represent 12 plots (or terraces). In one corner of the board, a rectangular depression (1”x2”x0.5”) was made to represent irrigation channel where village level water share was placed during each time step. The other end of the board has two rectangular hollow out, one representing water received from other village and the other to place any balance water share. In all the games number of players were kept 3 such that it matched the basic design of board where only three could play. Each player was allocated 4 plots and each village had 12 plots of paddy. For the purpose of calculation, one plot was considered equivalent to 0.1 hectare of land.

Water share

Small wooden cubes (1cm3) were used to represent water share in the game. One cube meant 1 unit of water enough to grow rice in one plot on the game board. Water share per village was predefined as shown in Table 8 which was dependent on weather types. It was left to the players to discuss and share the allocated water share within the village.

Fig. A3.1. Game board representing a village irrigation scheme.

Workshop settings


Each village was represented by 3 members. These 3 players per village were Village representative (Tshogpa), Chusup (Village water guard), and a farmer (active irrigator). They were selected based on the following requirements:
  • Person knowledgeable about the irrigation canal, water sharing systems and issues related to systems operations (Chusup),
  • Person who is knowledgeable about the village in general, development needs and constraints, and has a decision making role in the village (Tshogpa), and
  • Person who is an active farmer knowing about the issues related to irrigation water and rice cultivation (irrigator).


A generic game representing the watershed was used where 3 players each from 7 communities participated in the game. To ensure the smooth course of the process, 7 group facilitators, 2 game facilitators, 4 observers and 1 overall coordinator was engaged during the game. The workshop lasted for 4 days, structured into first 2 days for RPG, day 3 for interview and discussion, and the preliminary results and workshop recommendations were presented to all the participants on 4th day. The workshop process can be summarized as follows:
  1. The workshop started with general briefing, explaining the objectives of the workshop. The process of the game was also explained in detail. To provide a technical explanation on watershed from hydrological perspectives, an overview of the hydrological cycle and the concept of watershed were presented.
  2. Three modes of communication (Intra-village, collective with flow of excess irrigation water, and collective decision on water sharing) were played.
  3. Players were assigned to their respective villages, and explained their roles as irrigators. One facilitator was attached to each group.
  4. On day 1, five rounds of individual mode were played, where players were allowed to discuss and exchange water exclusively within their group.
  5. In the afternoon of Day 1, 5 rounds of collective mode with flow of any surplus water were played.
  6. The second collective mode was played on Day 2. During late afternoon of Day 2, the report drafting team (mangmi, clerk of Gup, some voluntary farmer representatives, District officers, Extension staff and researchers) brainstormed on the development of watershed level management committee,
  7. On Day 3 the Tshogpa of 7 villages, gup, mangmi, dungyee, District officers, Extension staff and researchers were requested to report. Each community members present on Day 3 was interviewed on their views on the RPG and the process. Following the interview, the group deliberated on the Lingmutey Chu Watershed Management Committee.
  8. The preliminary result of the RPG and recommendations of the group discussion were presented to the plenary on Day 4.