Gamescapes workshop
with Jose Sanchez

Key concepts:
-Urban Trading
-City currencies / resources
-Feedback loops / Balancing systems of trade
-Urban Synergies

Framed under the Gamescapes research agenda developed by Jose Sanchez at USC and The Bartlett, the IAAC workshop presents the opportunity to consider the city as a dynamic system of transactions. While biological simulations focus on the unfolding of time and process driven morphologies, a gaming approach allows to slow down time and focus on each individual trade done by diverse city agents. The workshop will initially clarify and present this perspective; ‘From time-based to trade-based systems.’ To emphasize the discretization of time, the workshop will utilize an analog game approach in the form of a board game, where turn-based dynamics are used for engagement. Students will be requested to work in groups to identify urban variables and city currencies that establish diverse forms of exchange with one another. The math and trading dynamics will be prototyped as an analog game, emphasizing the modeling of an urban problem rather than the technical requirements to do a digital simulation.
In this context, the architectural model becomes a simulation engine, one that can be tested and operated by diverse groups of individuals. The objective of the workshop is to encourage students to discover where does the wealth of a community lies and what are the resources or mechanisms available to make them flourish. The workshop will finish by explaining how such game prototypes can be used for a more in-depth research using video game engines.

The workshop will be divided between 3 teams that will represent different agencies in the city. One of the teams will play the role of the real-estate market or private sector, another group will take the role of the environment and nature, and finally the third group will take the role of the government. Each team will come up with their own set of Blocks, resources, and events. This is what this items represent: -Blocks (architectural interventions or units that can foster trading protocols, ex: shops, apartments, trees) -Resources (elements to be traded, ex: water, electricity, social capital) -Events (conditions that alter the trading protocols, ex: financial crisis, heat wave, draught, riots) By defining these ingredients, each team will participate in one global game of transactions that will operate in a turn by turn format. Each team will take turns to reveal plans of intervention, currencies of exchange and trigger random events placed in a deck of cards.
The objectives of the workshop will be to define the scope of variables that apply to the ‘Barcelona Super-Block’ and balance the rules of interactions that would yield a productive negotiation of the agencies participating in the game.
We will analyses how rules can foster competition while other might enable synergies, patterns, or cooperation.

Further reading:
-The Third Plate, Dan Barber
-Space fighter, MVRDV
-Game, Set, Match, Kas Oosterhuis
-Unit operations, Ian Bogost -Thinking in Systems: A Primer, Donella H. Meadows -Game Design Workshop, Tracy Fullerton

-The Plant, Chicago
-Prephub, MIT -World Game, Buckminster Fuller
-Game of War, Guy Deboard

Video Games
-Block’hood -Off-world trading company -Civilization -This War of Mine -Eco
-Game of life (cellular automata calculations)
-Hot Spring Story (mobile)
-Rim World
-Prison Architect
-Dwarf Fortress

Board game mechanics references:
-Catan (balanced resource trading)
-Carcassonne (generative territory negotiation)
-Magic the Gathering (probabilistic / combinatorial design strategies)
-Betrayal in the house in the hill (procedural architecture based on game rules)
-X-Wing (Vectorial and Orientation strategies in a board game environment)