The ORCHESTRA Board Game
To make learning about the MTM concept model easier and more engaging, the ORCHESTRA project is developing a board game. This game introduces the new concept of traffic orchestration and allows the players to try handling transport and traffic challenges in ordinary and extraordinary situations.
Concept models and reference architectures are useful tools for describing advanced systems, but it can be challenging to grasp what they mean practically. To address this challenge, we are developing a board game in the genre of serious games. Serious games have a purpose beyond pure entertainment, and additional goals can include learning, team building, etc., for all participants.
Our goal when developing the board game is that it should become a tool for learning about the ORCHESTRA concept model and reference architecture and for engaging stakeholders such as the Community of Practitioners (CoP) and others to provide their input and feedback on the model. The primary target audience of the game is actors within the transport and traffic domains. In addition to learning about the concept, the game should trigger discussions which can be used as feedback to the reference architecture topics, including overall ideas, concepts that are unclear, the relevance of concepts and features, as well as missing concepts and features. The players should be given strategic choices, and the level of randomness should be low.
How the board game works
The initial version of the Board Game is made for use in workshops and to communicate the concept model’s content and get a good discussion within a one-hour session. To this end, the game has been kept simple, and instead of a competition, it is more of a collective puzzle exercise.
In the game, one player is the orchestrator, while the other players (up to 6) take the roles of transport service providers/fleet operators. The game is played in rounds, each focusing on a situation. The situation is introduced by a situation card drawn at the start of the round, which explains the current situation. The situation can be regular or extraordinary, such as an event that causes heavy traffic in a zone or an accident or incident. The situation also defines how dense the current traffic is in each zone, and the orchestrator updates the board by placing markers on each zone for this.
Each transport service provider/fleet operator player is given a card with a transport assignment they should try to complete within the round. In the workshop version, the players play with open cards and add markers on the board for where their vehicle starts, where they have a pickup and delivery.
The orchestrator then decides on measures to apply to the zone to handle the current situation and facilitate transport assignments. The measures the orchestrator selects affect where and how far the other players can drive in the round and whether they can complete their assignment.
When the measures have been applied, each player will, in turn, try to complete their assignment within a limited number of moves of their vehicle and take the measures and traffic situation in the zones into account. This can trigger good discussions in the player group on how the measures affect them and how it could be done differently to facilitate the transports better. The experience can, in this way, be a kind of shared puzzle-solving.
Experience using the board game
The board game has been used in two workshops with the ORCHESTRA Community of Practitioners (CoP) in the autumn of 2022 at Hærøya Industry Park in Norway and Malpensa Airport in Milan. It was very well received by the participants and triggered good discussions. The collected feedback shows that the participants think the board game helped them understand the concept model.
The board game was also displayed at ORCHESTRA’s stand at the Transport Research Arena (TRA) 2022 conference in Lisbon and at the ORCHESTRA project review at the same location.
ORCHESTRA plans to continue developing and improving the game in 2023 based on feedback collected in the workshops and to include additional ideas and concepts. Stay tuned for more news in a later newsletter!