California Water Crisis
Can you solve the drought? California Water Crisis is an educational game about California water politics. Take the role of one of California's three main regions (NorCal, SoCal, and the Central Valley) and try to find a solution to the fundamental cause of California's drought: there's more water demand than there's water.
Based on extensive research on California water history and current conditions, California Water Crisis will expose you to real world challenges such as special interest groups, groundwater depletion, and population growth.
Providing realism and replay value, the 3 regions have different starting resources, weaknesses, and potential strategies. This game takes about 10 minutes to learn and about 40-60 minutes to play. In addition to the main game, there are also two scenarios: one set in the late 1800s in the bad old days of reckless resource exploitation, and a cooperative scenario set in the mid 21st century.
Download a print and play PDF with game rules and components
Buy a copy at The Game Crafter
Game is also sold at Games of Berkeley in Berkeley, CA. Call ahead for availability.
Game prints on 8.5x11 pages, except the board, which is an 11x17. Preview the rules at the bottom of the page. You will also need two 6-sided dice. This game is Creative Commons, CC-BY-3.0, feel free to distribute.
Rules clarifications and strategy discussion at California Water Crisis BoardGameGeek Forum Minor clarifications incorporated into latest version of rules, 5/28/2015.
The Science and Politics Behind the Game
3. The California State Budget and Local Water Spending
5. Different Cultural Approaches to Risk
Additional references used
The Pacific Institute's site on the California Drought
State of California Drought Website
Department of Water Resources publications
A Typical Game:
It's never a good start: Even in a wet year, there's not enough water. And the megadrought can start at any time!
Overextend yourself, and watch farms dry up and cities riot: Like in real life, building cities makes money. Groundwater can get you through a few dry years. But run out of water and your approval rating will take a dive!
However, sustainable growth is possible: Plan ahead and prepare for a non-rainy day, and you just might come out OK.