The Mayor of Chicago
Sneak Preview

Developed by
Willem van Deursen and Myisha Ahmad

Carthago Consultancy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

©2020,2021 Carthago Consultancy

COmmunicate’, ‘Reflect’, ‘Explore’ -

the CORE of dynamic decision making through serious gaming

Every politician knows what should be done to handle the climate crisis. None of these politicians know how to be re-elected after doing so.

- Bruno Tobback, Belgium (Flemish) politician

The Mayor of Chicago a localized game developed for a session and discussion about climate adaptation with Climate Resilience Consulting, based in Chicago. It is a Serious Game that focuses on decision making around water management interventions.

Decisions are mostly based on forecasts and predictions about the future. In real world, as complexity builds upon complexity, decision-makers increasingly have to rely on their intuition and judgment. The challenge is the ability to balance logical processes and intuition.

Mayor of Chicago highlights this complexity of decision-making processes by investigating different dynamic and interdependent issues ( financial capacity, natural resources, manpower, etc) and addresses the challenges for robust and resilient water management.

why serious gaming?

It provides the simplest introduction to understand, visualize and control the trade-off between

budget, investments, community resilience and climate risks in a realistic simulated environment where long-term impacts of policies may be tested and rated.

Mayor of Chicago is designed as a role play game. The game is developed using a template that is easily adjusted to local settings, ensuring local set-up, situations and challenges are well represented. During the sessions, participants develop an understanding of the resilience and defense against flooding. The participants have to protect the city and better prepare for future climatic uncertainties, by exploring the associated challenges in the game. This narrative helps to understand the incentives of decisions that eventually result in highly vulnerable or highly resilient cities. Or something in between.

The game is played in group sessions with live participants, but it can also be played online in one of the zoom- meet- teams- or other collaboration-and-meeting software.

The name Mayor of Chicago does not reflect any actual situation in any existing city, nor does the name refers to any existing persons. Any resemblance with any existing situation or person is purely coincidental.

However, having said that, the developed scheme fits very well to real-world circumstances, in which humanity finds it increasingly difficult to contrive and withhold resilience. The prelude to the recent flooding, for example in Europe, follow an all-too-familiar pattern.

Lets be The Mayor of Chicago for a while!


  • Discern the challenges, goals and expectations for the upcoming year of your tenure as the Mayor of the city.

  • Pick your priorities

  • Promote good practice and good politics

Round one: explore


  • Comprehend the strength of your city

  • Identify the weaknesses

Round two: Disaster management


Time is short, options are limited!

  • Develop strategic approaches to tackle the crisis situation

  • Make best use of your resources

Round three: Short term planning


  • Election year is coming.

  • Develop you strategies for your election manifesto

BUT! Also remember!

"We all need lots of powerful long range goals to help us past the short term obstacles" - Jim Rohn

Round four: Long term planning


"Long-term consistency trumps short- term intensity"- Bruce Lee

So, would you like to rethink your strategies?

Our team

Willem van Deursen is a senior expert on integrated water resources management. Willem started Carthago Consultancy as an independent consultancy in 1995. Ever since he has been involved in advising on management of large river, both in Netherlands and international. Currently Willem is involved in projects in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Pakistan.

Dr. Shahnoor Hasan is a Bangladeshi academic who currently works as a researcher at the international development studies in the human geography and spatial planning in Utrecht University. Her work focuses on planning and policymaking for water and deltas in development cooperation. Shahnoor promotes open discussions on what ‘good’ policies and policy knowledges are, and rethinking about how different actors can relate to each other and come together for sustainable development.

Myisha Ahmad is a junior hydrologist at Carthago Consultancy. She graduated with a Master in Hydro Informatics and Water Management and currently developing serious games for agricultural and water management at Carthago Consultancy. Born and bred in Bangladesh and studying in Erasmus Mundus program, she now aims to connect best of both worlds- resilience of people and strength of technology. She focuses on linking water management issues with livelihood aspects, and promotes participatory processes for decision making.

Carthago Consultancy