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These are some games that I have created to be played by students in a class to illustrate the tragedy of the commons, made famous by Garrett Hardin in 1968 in Science magazine. If you want to get a feel for the game, you can try single-person versions of these Tragedy of the Commons games by clicking below:

Request Form

Single person games

  • A single person game to prepare you for the Tragedy of the Commons game, also known as "Making optimal use of a Private Farm".  This game is NOT a Tragedy of the Commons - it simply shows you that one problem in avoiding overuse of an environmental resource involves simply identifying the carrying capacity of the resource.  In this case, you are effectively in the role of a farmer with a new piece of land that you own privately and the "game" is to figure out how many cows is the best number to have on the farm - too many and overgrazing reduces the total milk produced by all cows; too few and you aren't taking full advantage of the farm you bought (although you may want to keep part of the farm to grow organic vegetables!).  
  • The single person Tragedy of Indigenous Whaling.  This doesn't really have a solution - I never quite got around to writing the script for it.  But it may give you a sense of the tradeoffs that indigenous cultures MAY face in retaining a culture while using a scarce natural resource, like whales.  

Setting up the Multi-person Tragedy of the Commons game

  • I can set this up if you are a professor or teacher and would like to use it for your class.  The REQUEST FORM is the fifth bullet below, but please read the other four first.  
  • For more about using the multi-person game for educational purposes, read the instructions before filling out the request form below. 
  • Example pages of the game once its been played.
  • My lecture notes and Powerpoint for when I run the game simulation in my class.  
  • Video of simulation I ran while at Stanford University. 
  • You may want to assign Mildenberger's 2019 article on racism, Hardin, and the ToC. I assign students to give me pros and cons as to whether I should teach the Tragedy of the Commons or not, and always get great feedback.

Playing the Multi-person Tragedy of the Commons game

  • If your professor has already requested and been approved to play the Multi-person Tragedy of the Commons game, please do the following:
  • Before playing the multi-person game with other students in your class, make sure to play the single person game of "Making optimal use of a Private Farm" as described directly above.  
  • After playing the single person game, you can access the multi-person Tragedy of the Commons game for your class by entering the password provided by your instructor and hitting ENTER
  • NOTE: The game does NOT work well with Safari - please use Chrome or Firefox.
    Enter Password:.

    You will then be sent to a page to fill in your name and start the game. If you were returned to this page after entering a password, you have entered an invalid password. Please try again.

  • If there is a problem with the multi-person version, email me at