Common Canal Handout


In this game, you have four fields that can be planted. 

You get four numbered playing cards, which you can keep secret if you like. These cards represent the value of the dry season crops from each your fields. 

For example, if your cards are numbered 7, 5, 4 and 3, then the first field that you plant yields a crop worth 7, the second yields 5, the third yields 4 and the fourth yields 3 (think of these numbers as thousands of dollars). 

If irrigation is available, you can triple the value of your fields. For example, fields yielding 7, 5, 4 and 3 without irrigation would yield 21, 15, 12, and 9 with irrigation.

The watershed for all participants is a canal that flows by each person’s farmland, one farm at a time.  Does everyone have a envelope with a number on it? The number on this envelope tells you how close you are to the source of water. The lower the number, the closer you are to the source of water. For example, the water flows by “#1” first, “#2” second, and so on.  There are ____ of you located along each canal, so the address numbers go from 1 to ____.

Water is represented by water cards that we will put in a large sac and pass to each of you according to your address along the irrigation canal, starting with #1 then to #2, and so on.  Each person may take 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 water-cards from the bag when it is his or her turn to select the amount of irrigation for his or her four fields. You may not capture more water than the number of fields you have.

The total amount of water is unpredictable, due to variations in upstream water flow. But it is highly unlikely that there are enough water-cards in the bag for everyone to irrigate all their fields.

You can put your water-cards in your envelope before taking them out of the bag, so that your irrigation decision is not observed by others.

If you take fewer than four cards, then only the fields for which you have irrigation cards will have tripled crop value.

Please use the tables in the handout for each season to organize your irrigation decisions.


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