By John Thompson and Jim Jackson
On Sunday 17 May, a major update of the single player version of the African Farmer Game was given its first public outing at a workshop run for doctoral and post doc students attending the STEPS Summer School at IDS.
The African Farmer Game immerses players in a simulation where they must confront the challenges and uncertainties of life as a poor farmer in Sub-Saharan Africa. The original single player version of African Farmer was launched in 2014 to complement the multiplayer game. It was developed to provide a more readily accessible version of the game to individuals and institutions for whom running the multiplayer game is problematic. Playing the single player game does not require network access or technical expertise; it can be used in time constrained contexts and the level of complexity and challenge can be increased by the player as his or her expertise grows.
This latest iteration of the game, which will soon be released as version 2.0, introduces major updates to the user interface and many improvements throughout the game. The interfaces for Task Management, the Market, the Village and Game Statistics have all been redesigned and all dropdown menus have been replaced by ‘drag and drop’ or ‘point and click’ selections. There are also numerous other minor changes to the user interface. The ‘Chance Events’ module has been expanded to include election bribes and granary fires and town work now brings greater rewards for educated household members. Game Statistics data has also been expanded and can be saved to file for post-game review.