The Buzz Game
Publisher: Royal Agricultural Society of England
Target Group: 10 - 13
Type of game: Agricultural Simulation
This game is a simulation of how different choices of biodiversity influences farming. Players must create diverse farming habitats on a virtual farm with wildflowers, bugs, birds and small mammals in order to achieve a high wildlife score, while also producing an economically viable crop.
Elements of the game
The aim of this game is to gain the highest possible wildlife score while still maintaining a profitable field. To get a high wildlife score the player needs to create a diverse environment with high numbers of wildflowers, bugs, birds and small mammals and predators. To encourage this diverse environment the player may choose to use some planting schemes in the field: beetle banks, field margins and bird food crops.
At the beginning of the game, the player has to choose the amount of farmland she is willing to give up for wildlife, choosing the number of beetle banks, choosing how wide the wildlife conservation margins of the field should be and how much land should be used to grow bird food. The rest of game consists of a simulation of the farming, with a screen showing the influence of the initial choices on the numbers of wildflowers, bugs, birds and small mammals and predators as well as on the profit of the farm and the amount of crop that is generated. During this simulation period, the player can stop the game and inform herself about the different factors and their influence on biodiversity and the farming.
After a simulation period of three years (takes only two minutes in the game), the results of the choices and the simulation are communicated to the player, available in both a simple graphic representation and a very detailed report with exact figures for all factors and parameters. There is also teaching material available for this game, which makes the detailed reports all the more useful.
How biodiversity is presented
This game gives an idea not only about some aspect of biodiversity but also about the implications of maintaining biodiversity with regard to other aspects in agriculture namely maintaining a profitable field.
Best practice because:
- Deals explicitly with biodiversity, presenting it as an important concept that should play a role in agricultural decisions
- Good graphics and clear structure