The Ginseng Game


  • Christopher M. Cassidy
  • Dallas Brozik


The Ginseng Game is designed to teach the principles generally associated with the tragedy of the commons and specifically with competition in industries susceptible to resource depletion. The game explicitly uses competitive forces to encourage groups to escalate commitment to short term profits while visually conveying resource depletion. Student teams must use the available information, “out of the box” critical thinking, problem solving, coordination, and cooperation to achieve the objective of long term industry sustainability. The game and debriefing can be run in a single class session. It can be delivered with or without computer presentation (game computations must be performed with the game’s MS Excel spreadsheet). The instructor calculates industry harvest and team performance data with an excel spreadsheet and may display that information with or without the aid of a presentation system.