The Tragedy of the Farmers
The Tragedy of the Farmers (or simply The Farmers) is a game that illustrates a common pool resource dilemma, in which multiple people (in this case the farmers played by players) need to use a common set of finite resources and manage the resources sustainably if they are to avoid a tragedy of the commons. The tragedy of the commons is related to sustainability and the focal topic of a the 2010 Nobel Prize.
Overview:
In The Farmers, several groups of three players simultaneously. But the goal in The Farmers might not be what you expect. To win, you are not trying to beat the other groups as a whole group, nor are you trying to beat other players in your group. Rather, you have a personal goal. You want to score more points than the people in the other groups who are playing the same farmer role that you are playing. In the game players harvest and plant resources. Players gain points when they harvest resources they value.
Setup:
To play, you need to have at least 2 groups of 3 players each (at least 6 people total). Once you have at least 2 groups of 3, assign one player in each group to each of the three farmer roles listed in the chart below, so that each group has one of all three of the farmer roles. Note that each farmer has a unique ability for harvesting, planting, and gaining points from resources. The next section explains how much each farmer is able to plant, harvest, and earn points from having harvested each unit of resources. There are 5 kinds of resource spaces (trees, pasture, wheat, empty land, and destroyed land). Give each group a commons (a shared space) of 6 trees, 2 empty land, 2 wheat, and 2 pastures. For now there are no destroyed lands.
Playing the Game:
The game lasts 15 turns. Each turn, each player, starting with player 1 and ending with player 3 selects 1 action. Players have 9 actions to choose from: Plant wheat, Plant pasture, Plant trees, Harvest wheat, Harvest pasture, Harvest trees, Gain point, Sanction, Restore Land. (These 9 actions are listed on player cards, which can be used if helpful). The cards are not strictly needed and you can simply use the values from the chart below. Also listed are the number of points that each player receives for each harvesting each resource.

Player 1
The Rancher
Player 2
The Farmer
Player 3
The Lumberjack
Plant wheat
3
0
0
Plant pasture
1
2
0
Plant trees
1
2
1
Harvest wheat
1
1
4
Harvest pasture
4
2
4
Harvest trees
3
0
1
Gain point (optional)
1 point
1 point
1 point
Sanction
---
---
---
Restore Land
1 land
1 land
1 land
Points for each wheat
1 point
4 points
0 points
Points for each pasture
2 points
1 point
0 points
Points for each tree
1 point
0 points
2 points
Players may use the same action more than one time during the game, but you can only play one action per turn. These actions include planting and harvesting wheat, pasture, and tree resources (these resources are in the commons). After each turn (after all three players in every group make a move), a game administrator (the teacher) roles a pair of six-sided die. This die role signifies rains that can cause erosion. The same die roll applies to all groups. If the dice total more than the number of trees in the commons of a group, then 1 space of empty land belonging to that group becomes destroyed; remove the empty land card and replace it with a destroyed land card. No new crops may be planted on that location until that land space is restored. If there are no empty lands, then 2 spaces of wheat become empty, if there is no empty land or wheat, then 2 spaces of pasture become empty, if no empty land, wheat or pasture remain, then 2 spaces of trees is become empty. Note, if there are not enough resources of a given type, then go to the next available resource. For example if one wheat card remains during erosion, then replace one wheat and one pasture with one empty land each.
Actions:
Harvesting:Harvesting is how players score most of their points. To harvest, take up to the number of resource type from the commons as listed for your farmer role and replace those spaces with empty land.
Planting:To plant, place up to the number of resources of a given type that you can plant on empty land. However, keep in mind you can only plant on empty land tiles. You may also sanction, gain a point, and restore land. These will be explained below.
Restoring land:Destroyed lands can be fixed by playing a restore land card, but this takes time and effort; two players must work together to restore 1 land by both playing a restore land card on the same turn, changing 1 destroyed land into 1 empty land.
Sanctioning:Players can cause other players to lose 1 point by playing a sanction card.
Gain a point:Sometimes the best thing to do is work your “part time job” and take a point.

Winning:
Remember, you only need to do better than other people who play as the same player as you in other groups, so you don’t need to beat others in your group and your group doesn’t need to beat other groups. The three players who have the highest scores – for each of the 3 roles – are the winners!
Downloading the game materials:

Although tokens may be used for the game, we have also made downloadable card images available here: www.indiana.edu/~semantic/plebicibi.zip
(Note, the files have the name "Plebicibi" which was the original name for the game)

Adapting The Farmers for the Classroom:
The Farmers can be played with cards, candy, or tokens. You may wish to substitute candy or tokens for cards in your classroom! E.g. you can use yellow tokens for wheat, red for pasture, green for trees, blue for empty land, and black for destroyed land.
Contacting the Designers:
The Farmers game is copyright by Thomas Fennewald and Brent Kevit-Kylar 2012. We would love feedback on the game and would like to know if parties are interested in attaining a copy or have played and have suggestions.
Please email: tom.fennewald@gmail.com for information and with your comments!
The Farmers © 2012 Thomas Fennewald & Brent Kevit-Kylar