EGU21-4938, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Breaking The Silos: an online and narrator-led role-playing game for multi-risk DRR management

Marleen de Ruiter, Anaïs Couasnon, and Philip Ward
Marleen de Ruiter et al.
  • VU Amsterdam - Institute for Environmental Studies, Water and Climate Risk, Amsterdam, Netherlands (

The increased complexity of disaster risk due to climate change, expected population growth and the increasing interconnectedness of disaster impacts across communities and economic sectors, require Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) measures and practitioners that are better able to address these complexities. Nonetheless, in the traditional risk paradigm, there is a strong focus on single-hazards and the risk faced by individual communities and sectors.

Breaking the Silos is a narrator-led, role-playing game designed to support decision makers and stakeholders in understanding and managing the complexities of implementing DRR measures in a multi-(hazard) risk setting. The game starts in de aftermath of a (randomly selected) disaster. The different roles include key decision-makers and stakeholders of a country. The team is responsible for the post-disaster recovery process and can decide to implement DRR measures. However, while some of these DRR measures can decrease risk of one hazard, they can increase the risk of another hazard. In each subsequent round, the team faces another (randomly selected) disaster. Unlike many other risk serious games, Breaking the Silos includes many random factors to better simulate reality. The roles are designed such that expert knowledge and objectives are spread throughout the participants and they can even be conflicting at times.

The game was successfully launched during the World Bank’s 2020 Understanding Risk conference. Before and after playing the game, participants were asked to complete surveys asking them about their perception of the challenges of Disaster Risk Management and whether the game raised their awareness of these challenges. The preliminary findings indicate that Breaking the Silos is a useful tool in supporting decision makers and practitioners to become aware of (the risks of) hazard-silo thinking and possible (a)synergies of DRR measures.

How to cite: de Ruiter, M., Couasnon, A., and Ward, P.: Breaking The Silos: an online and narrator-led role-playing game for multi-risk DRR management, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-4938,, 2021.

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