National Drought Mitigation Center

Drought Game


About the Game

The Ready for Drought? game is an in-person role-playing game based on the Extreme Event game developed by the National Academy of Sciences. Players work together to solve problems that can arise in their communities during a drought - building a community resilience. They learn to prioritize resources, build coalitions, respond to and assess the impacts of a drought, while practicing critical thinking and improving civic literacy related to drought resilience.



  • Compliment other educational and outreach tools
    Serve as a team building activity and/or ice breaker during meetings, conferences, or in a high school/college classroom.
  • Short, simple and low-cost
    Playing time 90+ minutes. Downloadable package with the entire game and instructions that can be easily printed.
  • Demonstrates the importance of community resilience, communication, and coalitions during a complex and evolving natural hazard
    Drought-stricken communities solve realistic challenges with sector-related resources and engagement opportunities (with neighboring populations).


How to Play

Players begin by selecting a role in one of six sectors that were identified as critical for addressing drought mitigation and impacts:

private citizens
community groups
federal government
local decision makers
business and industry


Each sector must decide which resources to invest in to help make their community more resilient to a drought. Since drought impacts are location-specific, during the development of this game we focused on the Missouri River Basin DEWS and various drought impacts that communities in this area may encounter. Each one of the communities include one person from each sector, who brings resources to solve the challenge. Communities are allowed to trade resources freely, building cooperation and resilience of the entire area. Communities receive points based on the number of resources they were able to utilize for solving the challenge. After the drought is over the players will assess the impacts of the drought and how well they were able to mitigate or respond to them.


What You'll Need to Play the Game

players reviewing chart
1.5 hours
free game materials
group of game players looking at chart and projector