ANTICIPLAY: unlocking the potential of simulation gaming for anticipatory governance


State and non-state actors around the world are urgently seeking new ways to reach global goals such as global climate change targets and the UN-led Sustainable Development Goals. They need new approaches to ‘anticipatory governance’ – governance that actively considers the future to inform present day decisions.

However, while current model-based foresight methods are able to provide macro-level analyses about the scale of change needed, these approaches are unable to offer insights about changes needed to systems of governance and to the roles of different societal actors. This is an important societal and scientific gap – because imagining and enacting concrete and actionable changes to current systems of governance is crucial.

ANTICIPLAY seeks to create a radical new direction for the research and practice of anticipatory governance. It aims to unlock the potential of simulation gaming as a new approach to experimenting with future governance systems. Because simulation games focus ‘roles’ and ‘rules’, they represent a research direction with significant potential for governance simulations. Moreover, the game sector currently eclipses all other media in scale, and games are starting to be used for large-scale political change efforts.

ANTICIPLAY seeks to 1) understand ‘gaming in governance’ – when and why simulation gaming can impact anticipatory governance; and conversely 2) ‘governance in gaming’ - the representation of systems of governance in simulation games. These insights are brought together to 3) develop a ground-breaking new methodological approach – game co-design for anticipatory governance. ANTICIPLAY combines analyses of existing global and national practices with high-level governance experiments in two case study countries: the Netherlands and Japan. The project builds on leading research by the PI on futures methods for policy guidance, and on gaming for governance. ANTICIPLAY’s research has concrete applications for research and action in many global contexts.





Dr. J.M. Vervoort

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Utrecht, Faculteit Geowetenschappen, Department of Sustainable Development


Dr. J.M. Vervoort


01/01/2020 tot 31/12/2024