Failing Fisheries Online Game: More Tragedy, More Hope, More Complexity


For those who are interested in a slightly longer game of tragedy of the commons than the Bunnies game (see below)…particularly one with a little more complexity, readers may prefer’s Failing Fisheries game. (scroll down a little on the page. It is under failing fisheries)


Much like the bunnies game, failing fisheries pits you against virtual opponents on a quest to make money. In contrast to the bunnies game, however, you can select for the temperament of your opponents or allow the game to randomly generate flexible, cooperative, or “independent” boat captains.

The game is more suited to a module on environmental decline than as an assist to clarify Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons. This is because the game permits you to attempt to set fishing limits through agreements with other fisherman.

In my own rounds of play I managed to preserve the fisheries. Having said this, I was working with reasonably cooperative boat captains who permitted limits to be set on our maximum catch. So I didn’t ruin the fishery, but I also experienced my own pangs of jealousy as other boat captains were clearly better at fishing. (the snapshot clearly is a demo shot, I always made about 1/3rd what everyone else made.)


The game is winnable if you are moderately willing to watch the game’s fishery market trends and take out an occasional loan for better fishing equipment.

I strongly recommend reading the instructions FIRST on how to actually fish, since I succeeded in driving my boat several places but forgot to cast my nets. Live and learn.