The soil Game
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A serious Game about Soil and Agriculture

a two hours workshop

What is it about?

Ludi Soli is a serious game to understand the different cause to effect relationships in the soil system and how collective choices can influence them. It is meant to illustrate the complex life, chemistry, and physics of the soil to different stakeholders. It can also be a great educative tool for students of all ages.

Why is this important?

Soil is a crucial component of the earth’s system. It is the substrate in which we grow our food, a fascinating nutrient transforming factory and a fantastic reservoir of life. It is also under pressure. It is urgent to build as quickly as possible a common knowledge of soil functioning and soil related issues. Important decisions about our soils need to be made and those must be informed by sound science.

How Does it work?

Each session of the game lasts 2 hours and is animated by a facilitator. It is divided in three phases.

In the first one, the players must place the different components of the soil system and explain how they interact in a natural context. Players are introduced to the following concepts : mineralization, immobilization, photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation, denitrification, nutrient cycles, mycorrhizae. According to the background of the team we will explore those topics with more or less complexity. Players with more knowledge are invited to explain to the others. The whole game is collaborative.

Then the players put themselves in the shoes of “Neolithic start-uppers” trying to improve their life conditions inventing practices as it happened through agriculture history. The players slowly come up with the following ideas : land clearing, tillage, manure, fertilizers, irrigation and use of machinery. They are invited to critically and objectively think about the necessity of using each of those practices for the well being of an hypothetical society.

The third phase is dedicated to understanding the human and environmental costs of those practices and discussing the possible solutions to mitigate them. The players put together everything they have learned so far and come to understand the consequences of certain practices on the soil and the issues that threaten it. The following threats are addressed: soil erosion, air, water and soil pollution, water runoff, flooding, CO2 emissions, nitrogen emission, nutrients leaching. According to the interest of the team we can focus more intensively on some of them.

They tried the game

"Ludi Soli is THE serious game to learn from each other how soils work now and may work in the future"
Gerlinde De Deyn - Soil Biology Group, Wageningen University and Research

"Ludi Soli is not only preaching about the importance of soils but, rather, actively triggering the phantasy and imagination of the players of the game thereby transmitting key information about soils : a modern form of highly effective communication."
Prof. dr. J. Bouma

"Corentin and Morgane developed a uniquely effective and fun way to engage people, while educating them on the importance of healthy soils."
Rio Pals