UPRI launches Sakunwari, a board game for managing complex disasters

The UP Resilience Institute has launched an interactive board game called Sakunwari, a multi-lingual, tabletop and role-playing game set in a time of compounding disasters.

Compound disasters (also known as complex or cascading disasters) refer to disruptive events that either happen simultaneously or successively, causing unprecedented, wide-ranging and long-term damage to society.

“Sakunwari is a portmanteau of three Filipino words: sakunâ (disaster), kunwarî (pretend/simulate) and warì (sense-making/personal assessment). Throughout the game, players will encounter multiple disasters that will challenge their ability to make the right call in the face of impending disasters, whether independently or in cooperation with other players,” explains Dr. Kristoffer Berse, UP Associate Professor and UPRI’s Director for Research and Creative Work, who led the development of the game.

UPRI envisions Sakunwari as a serious game that can be utilized primarily in simulation exercises and training workshops for crisis and disaster risk management. It can, of course, be played by anyone who simply wants to have fun while learning about how to deal with complex disasters.

The game places 4-6 players in the shoes of neighboring Mayors in an imaginary region of Sakunwari. They have to make timely and effective decisions in the face of overlapping disasters, from super typhoons to massive earthquakes to pandemics and other human-induced crises.

The players must individually or collectively invest in Response Options (Tolerate, Treat, Transfer, and Terminate) and Advice Options (Do Nothing, Do Something, Do Extreme Measures) from multiple stakeholders to protect the people and development assets in their city. The Mayor with the highest Development Points wins the game.

Serious games play an important role in raising public awareness and building the capacity of crisis and disaster risk management practitioners in dealing with complex disasters. Dr. Alfredo Mahar Lagmay, UPRI Executive Director, notes that “Games mirror key elements of pre- and post-disaster actions providing an effective alternative means of understanding disaster risk. This complementary and safe alternative to develop knowledge on disaster risk reduction can deeply penetrate into the mindset of stakeholders refining their decision-making process

through repetition by play.”

To expand the reach of the game as a capacity-building tool, Sakunwari comes in seven languages. For this to happen, UPRI has worked with language experts from within and outside UP.

The game is a product of multidisciplinary collaboration involving disaster risk management, public health, language, biomathematics, and humanities professors from UP’s different campuses, namely, Dr. Michael Francis Andrada and Prof. Eilene Antoinette Narvaez of UP

Diliman, Dr. Amy U. Catalan of UP Visayas, Prof. Junley Lazaga of UP Baguio, Dr. Carlos Primero Gundran of UP Manila, and Dr. May Anne E. Mata of UP Mindanao.

Sakunwari    was    developed    as    part   of    UP   COVID-19   Pandemic    Response    Team’s

WOKE4COVID project, implemented through UPRI’s Research and Creative Work Division with funding support from the UP System. The virtual launch of the game was attended by more than 150 participants representing the government, non-government, civil society, academe, students and game enthusiasts.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/12oCTe52uhlP_hQsv00QUQM6zUtQKcF0u/view?usp=sh aring

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