The project is about the development of a board game in which players will be facing the challenges of traffic management. To reach the goals, the players have to reduce the traffic jams and the number of accidents of their municipality.
The metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte involves a wide spread urban area that is home to about five million people. Like most large cities, the region in question faces major challenges in traffic management and traffic safety.
The Magnum Agostiniano School is located in the district of New Forest, not far from the municipal limits of Belo Horizonte and its neighbors. Because of this, significant portions of the students face the difficulties of daily inter-municipal mobility involving the commute between home and school.
Students and teachers joined together during extracurricular time to discuss the main challenges for the management of road traffic; they grouped the problem in three large topic areas: mobility, road safety, and the political aspect of these issues. These topics became the basis for the development of a board game. The topics included: the lack of alternative transport; mobility focusing only on buses and cars; poor or deteriorated signage; the need for interactive campaigns; the need for intermodal transport development; the need to incentivizing the use of public transport;
Also, there is the need for greater oversight regarding drunk driving; a need for more traffic agents; a government initiative to disseminate more information to users of public transport and to pedestrians; more efficient legislation regarding traffic crimes; more efficient public money management when directed to traffic intervention; cooperation between urban mobility policies with respect to all metropolitan municipalities; the combat against corruption in the administration of public resources; avoiding the bureaucracy which causes decreased government efficiency.
Believing that by having fun it is possible to promote a deeper understanding in people, the students and the teacher developed a board game that took into account the issues previously discussed, and grouped these into three thematic and regional contexts which are part of the student’s daily reality. This action became known as Metrópolis. The Metrópolis Board Game Project Team set out to develop an educational board game that reached significant parts of the educational community of the Magnum School. Metrópolis is a game in which each player manages the traffic of the six municipalities around the city of Belo Horizonte. With a limited budget, players must make choices on how best to invest in the management of metropolitan traffic in order to reduce the kilometers of traffic jams and the number of accidents. The game is meant to represent the course of one year (there are twelve rounds of investment, each representing one month) and each player can increase the monthly budget. However, the easy solution to apply taxes on the population causes a fall of the manager's popularity, which needs to be carefully monitored so as not to suffer impeachment due to low popularity. At the end of twelve rounds, the player who achieves the best results in reducing the number of accidents and kilometers of traffic jams is declared the winner. The player’s choices are guided by a number of cards that are in his or her hand. These cards have costs and benefits. By analyzing the cards, players learn through playing the challenges of managing the metropolitan area traffic. The game also allows for collaborative action. When there are inter-connecting lines of bus or subway routes, players who are represented by the municipalities in question improve their benefits. The game involves several numerical variables which had to be tested. Six test kits were produced and the Metrópolis Board Game Project Team made the needed adjustments. In the last step, after adjustments, a new board was printed and presented to the educational community.
About fifty people have played Metrópolis. However, a large number of students have already attended the presentation of the project and are eager to play. There will be an event on Saturdays where the game will take place. The game was presented at an event during an interval of classes in the schoolyard. Subsequently, Metrópolis Project Team members brought the game into the classroom explaining the intent of the game and the next dates in which events will take place. The game has already been played by 50 students in two events in the afternoon at school, and reports of the players were collected.