Le Grand Jeu is the name of a game designed in May-July 2016 by an expert group in a 4 days workshop, held in Milan 10-14 July 2016. The group includes artists, engineers, design experts and activists.
The idea and the direction of the process came by to help design a situation where some narratives about the future of our society could be told, crafted and discussed in a positive way.
Learn by play, have playful conversations and a open handed game for co-creation
When to use
A heterogeneous group of people needs to gather around the table. Is a valuable group of energies and knowledge but don’t know well each other, they have different expertise, different backgrounds. How to start a conversation? Le Grand Jeu works very well for this end. We learn by playing and at the same time we play together discovering each other and learning very fast to use some instruments, just because we want to play.
Another very useful feature of playing the game is that uses all elements necessary to imagine new economies without the need to explain them, you learn by use. Can be fun to learn to name them after the first game: what was standing for the governance system, what was the role of biodiversity, where was the blockchain and the meaning of tokens, where were the externalities going, etc.
After the game one of the effects is that there is a common, elementary language to let everyone express functions useful to design the system. The process of learning and co-design can start.
How to use
- Give a look at the website www.legrandjeu.net and download the game set design and rules from GitHub https://github.com/freddbomba/legrandjeu.git.
- The last version of the instruction booklet is geared toward energy, because was developed for the European nuclear fusion community, but don’t get scared. The rules can be learned by players while playing.
- The game organizer plays (usually) the game master, that is the one that plays the world, spins the wheel, facilitate. Knowledge to do that takes a small number of games to be perfected. We have collected some games here: http://legrandjeu.net/?cat=46 and there is a game master group of interest on telegram, just look for it.
What you get
- Behind the outcomes of Le Grand Jeu as a tool for starting a conversation, there are some small takeaways that are of another nature. The most influential philosophical ones may come in form of questions from the players. How to win? What is conflict? How do we deal with externalities? How do we design with complexity in mind? What is fair? Can we deal with outsiders? Why the game is named “Le Grand Jeu”? Is the ability of the master/observer then to shape the discourse ahead, proposing break-out groups, studies, tasks or any other fruitful coordination strategy to bring the group ahead.
- The concept of learning (and playing) community
- The circle of peers approach to work
- The common dream that develops around the table for fun can become an important aspect of the community’s growing capability of realizing it
More info and resources
- For more information about the way the book can be played and the contexts we played it in you can refer to the website. The instructions for self-play are here:
do it yourself
A short introduction to the rules of the game by Raffa Le Grand Jeu is open source and free to use for non commercial applications. It is released under creative commons licence. The community of players is expanding and we would love to hear about…
- There are many pointers to literature possible. From Calvino to Hesse, from Permaculture Design to Dungeons and Dragons. They work best when they emerge from a game or two. You can find a more methodological paper here: Sauer, S., Bonelli, F. “Collective improvisation as a means to responsibly govern serendipity in social innovation processes”, Journal of Responsible Innovation V.7, 2020.
- In the community, there have been many gamers that became good masters. Apart of Raffaella Rovida and Federico Bonelli, the game has been supported by Gijs Spoor (@GijsSpoor on Twitter) that is testing it -as we speak- traveling on the silk road, by Sebnem Ruisitschka (@solsista on Twitter) Nikoline Arns, Beth Mc Carthy and Daniel that engineered a great “pandemic” scenario during COVID (http://legrandjeu.net/?p=450) and many others from the token Engineering community. We a grateful to a vast assortment of people playing and lately to SOU https://www.sou-schools.com/, the School of Architecture for children, a nonprofit initiative in Italy that is using it as a tool.
- When Le Grand Jeu met Token Engineering, it was love at first sight. The “hands-on tool to co-design sustainable micro-economies empowered by crypto-currency” was discovered by the Token Engineering Community and opened up interesting conversations about investments, ownership, wealth, energy, externalities, token economy, system dynamics and simulation of complex systems.
- Maybe you like to organize a workshop around the game that is facilitated by the experts already mentioned or you need an expert game master that can translate the experience at the beginning of a co-design process and do the extra mile, then we have as well a proposal for workshops http://legrandjeu.net/?page_id=487 and we can make the board for you and help you become experts or just to help you use it for your own communal design process.
Unconference session about this topic
Some of the references in this session:
- Hakim Bey nom de plume of Peter Lamborn Wilson. I refer first and foremost to “TAZ Temporary Autonomous Zone from 1991:
Peter Lamborn Wilson
Peter Lamborn Wilson (October 20, 1945 – May 22, 2022) was an American anarchist author and poet, primarily known for his concept of Temporary Autonomous Zones, short-lived spaces which elude formal structures of control. During the 1970s, Wilson lived in the Middle East, where he explored mysticism and translated Persian texts. Starting from the 1980s he wrote (under the pen name of Hakim Bey) numerous political writings, illustrating his theory of "ontological anarchy". His style of anarchism has drawn criticism for its emphasis on individualism and mysticism, as did some of his writings where he defended pederasty.
- Indymedia Italia, a project that died just after the 2001 crakdown in Genova during the G8:
Independent Media Center
L'Independent Media Center, chiamata anche Indymedia o IMC, è una rete di mezzi di comunicazione di massa e di giornalisti. Fu creata nel novembre del 1999 per sostenere le proteste del movimento no-global contro l'organizzazione mondiale del commercio a Seattle. Nel 2002, a tre anni dalla fondazione, le IMC sparse per il mondo erano 89, localizzate in 31 stati e 6 continenti. Nei soli Stati Uniti d'America si trovavano ben 39 Indipendent Media Center, mentre in Canada 11.
- Situation Based art: check the notion of poetic terrorism in Hakim Bey, check Situationism according to Debord and others, but many of the notions come out of theater of the XX century. Peter Book, the empty space is a good place to start with.
- About Permaculture as a system of design and ethics: Holmgreen in his design books:
About Permaculture | Holmgren Design
'Permaculture' was originally coined to describe an "integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man"
- Philips Home lab times: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/3298790/-interview-with-federico-bonelli-one-of-the-philips-research
- Trasformatorio: you find all possible connections from https://www.trasformatorio.net
- The European Project NGI LEDGER there’s an atmospheric video on Vimeo, where you see the companies busy with DLS tech confronting themselves with artistic methodologies.
Watch LEDGER's Human Centric Bootcamp round-up clip
At the end of October 2019 the first #LedgerEu Venture Builder cohort of 16 teams gathered in the small town of Milazzo, in Sicily. Their task: to apply their current knowledge and skills to a real case scenario and come up with ideas for possible solutions (or even more) in only 3 days.
About “the problem” of community, innovation and the law… Bonelli still hasn’t found any solution. When someone acts in this area, even with the best intentions, can be used as a vector for gentrification. Unwillingly it can be used to exploit the place.
Economic structures based on DLT or any other token engineering approach, could minimize this effect? How? Is it another case of tragedy of the commons that happens even before the commons are formed?
- Participation is made by participants, is an egalitarian stand. All involved in the situation willingly or not, are participants;
- Don’t frame everything as a problem. Is an ideology;
- Read Pauolo Freire, about how to shape an education that is not oppressive; (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulo_Freire); his legacy in theater has been formed by Augusto Boal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusto_Boal) and his “theater of the oppressed”;
- Chaotic behavior and complexity are connected phenomena, and we need to take that in account;
- Art has parameters for judgement that can be qualitative and quantitative and can be described in terms of KPI as any other innovative practice;
- Film-making is one of my favorite example of an art that is strictly connected with innovation and gets to the point of defining a paradigmatic way of work
- Commons related project have to realize that you need to put stake in them, emotional stake is a real factor. No tools fit all, co-design in a open, learning community is the only acceptable way to create them (let’s call it “Ostrom in the hood”)
- Act local, keep it open and fun, think global, design infrastructure you could use yourself…
- Be careful of the Big Game
- Radio: www.radioantidoto.org and August Black Mezcal software project: