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How does a Democs Game Work?

A Democs card game is a discussion method for groups of 6-8 people, using sets of cards specially written to provide basic facts and explore the ethical and social issues of a new technology. It needs no previous expertise: the ‘expert’ is the cards. The aim is to promote informed, open and balanced discussion to enable people come to their own opinions.

All you need is the box of cards and instructions, a table, some friends, and about 1˝ hour to play. A person sends off for the kit (free), or downloads and prints it, reads the instructions, to be able to act as ‘dealer’, invites people round, and you begin.

Three types of cards are dealt to the players.

Story Cards - imaginary stories about people who are involved in cattle breeding or affected by it, based on real situations or that might happen in future, often presenting an ethical dilemma. Each person gets a different card and reads it aloud to the group.

b). Information Cards - essential information to explain the basic technology. Everyone gets a hand of cards. When their turn comes. Each player selects 2 cards, reads them out loud and says why the cards interest them and the group may discuss.

c).Issue Cards - explore ethical and social implications, to cover a fair range of opinions and attitudes known or likely to exist. Again each player selects 2 cards, reads them aloud, says why the cards interest them and the group discusses.

Clustering Statements - As discussion progresses, the person acting as 'dealer' encourages the group to crystallise their ideas into 3-4 statements they would like to make as a group, clustering the cards, and workingfor consensus as far as possible.

Voting - At the same time each person is invited to vote as an individual on the acceptability (or not) various options, stating their reasons if they wish to.

Feedback - At the end the dealer fills in a form recording the place and date of the game, numbers, gender and age cohorts of the players, and gives one contact email address for the game. No names or other personal information are recorded. If they wish players may also indicate what they knew about the subject before the game and how much they have learned by playing it.

The opinions are combined with thosefrom other games we will report on these public insights to the European Commission in the output from the BovReg project.

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