How to Play and Use AgLand: the Game
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Introduction to AgLand
Welcome to the world of AgLand! You and the group you'll "facilitate" are about to become part of a medium-sized, rural community. It's a pleasant little spot, the kind of place that receives five-star ratings from chambers of commerce. The game board is your map to AgLand: there are four 640-acre farms, a small town, a river with surrounding wetlands, and wildlife. An elected governing body known as the Policy Council is responsible for keeping as many citizens as possible satisfied by influencing the management decisions of the farmers.
As in real life, this community does not exist in a vacuum. Life here is interdependent. Decisions that each farmer makes influence not only that particular family's prosperity, but also the well-being of the other farm families and townspeople, as well as the state of the natural ecosystems and the health and survival of the area's wildlife. Likewise, decisions that the Council members make and the resulting incentives, taxes, and regulations affect the entire community for years to come. And there are factors over which neither group has any control but on which each depends for success: crop prices and the weather.
Although you'll be using a computer, AgLand is not a human-versus-machine game. Nor is it "solvable." AgLand mimics the ever-changing dynamics of the real world. Its main objective is to help participants develop strategies for dealing with complex and ambiguous issues and then think about the consequences of their choices. They might then reconsider assumptions they may have about the driving forces behind their local economy and environment. If the game is played "correctly," the room will soon become noisy, as players move freely about, airing their opinions and making their decisions. Your primary role as facilitator is to keep things moving, not to interfere in the decision-making process or to teach the "right" way to do things. AgLand is interactive learning at its best. Encourage conversation after each round of play, or stop the game periodically to discuss what's going on. These "debriefing" sessions are vital and enjoyable ways for the players to exchange viewpoints and stretch themselves. Use the initial default settings or liven things up by adjusting them to increase tension. We'll show you how in a moment.
This manual will give you a brief overview of AgLand: The Game and how to use it to help others learn more about agriculture, economics, and environmental policy issues. AgLand is based on a "system dynamics" model, which helps users determine how future conditions are influenced by current decisions.
You will have the best luck using AgLand if you understand its basic concepts, feel comfortable moderating open-ended discussions, and can handle basic computer operations. Neither you nor members of your group need to have expert knowledge of agriculture, public finance, wildlife management, or water management to benefit from playing. All the information you need is included in the printed materials. Some of your players might provide additional scientific and technical expertise, and the computer does the necessary calculations for you. For supplemental information, check the AgLand website listed inside the front cover of this manual.
Number of Participants
You can play AgLand with as few as eight participants or as many as 20. (We've done it with as many as 45, but we don't recommend this.) There are five teams: four farms and one Council. It's best that there are at least two people per team so that they can discuss and analyze factors that prompt their decisions. When two or more players must agree on a course of action, they are more likely to discuss their underlying assumptions, which frequently are not in concert. Conversely, if there are too many people on a team, not everyone can participate in the discussions, and some players may become bored.
You have decided to use AgLand, and your copy of the game has arrived. Don't leave it in the box! Now is the time to check to make sure you have everything you will need to play and that your copy of the computer program runs exactly as it should. If you're missing something, call the contact number listed on the inside of the front cover.
You must have:
- A game board;
- Copies of role descriptions, decision sheets, and settings summaries (optional);
- Game tokens for each of the six crop/use choices;
- Four low-till cards (one per farm);
- A computer running Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 and capable of displaying at least 800 by 600 resolution;
- A printer and at least 70 pieces of paper; and
- An extension cord.
You may find the game more enjoyable if you also:
- Provide name tags;
- Use a kitchen timer to keep things moving;
- Keep track of the players' results on a flip chart or blackboard (don't forget the markers and masking tape or chalk); and
- Make transparencies of some of the handouts and annual reports for use with an overhead projector.
For your convenience, you may want to photocopy materials for your farmer players on one color (green, to symbolize "growth," for example) and those materials for your Policy Council players on another color (yellow, indicating "caution," for example).
For Farmers (one per farm):
- Farmer Role Description sheets
- Settings Summaries; and
- Farmer Decision sheets.
- Policy Council Role Description sheets;
- Settings Summaries; and
- Policy Council Decision sheets.
How to Load the Software
Installing the AgLand: The Game software is easy if you follow these steps:
- Make sure your version of Windows is set up for at least 800 by 600 resolution.
- Insert the first AgLand diskette into the disk drive (usually Drive A).
- In Windows 3.1, go to the File/Run window. Type A:\setup.exe. In Windows 95, use Start/Run. Type A:\setup.exe.
- Follow the setup program instructions, inserting the second and third diskettes when prompted.
- Click on the AgLand icon. You will see a welcome screen with several choices down the left-hand side. You're now ready to play!
Move around the program and get used to how the screens look and how you change initial settings (see the figure below), enter data from the players' decision sheets, and print the results.
If you ever get lost, you can always exit and start over. You can also back up two years (to where you were before you last pushed Run Simulator) or reset the whole system to Year 0. Both of these options are located on the Run menu.
Finally, you can save a game midstream to be continued later. Choose a catchy but self-evident name for the session, save it, and then reload the interrupted game the next time you're in AgLand.
AgLand Main Screen:
Setting up to Print
The first time you're ready to print in AgLand or if you've switched printers, you may need to make some adjustments. We've found there simply is no such thing as a "standard" printer set-up. You can make the necessary adjustments from within the AgLand program:
- Click on Print Results. You should see a little window asking how many copies of the regional report you want. Ignore the bitmapped printing option, for now. (We'll talk about this in the Troubleshooting section.) Click on CLOSE.
- You should now see a Windows printer window. On this screen and under Setup, set your printer to landscape mode. Make sure the printer driver you've loaded and selected matches the printer you've attached. A resolution of 300 dpi is sufficient.
- Now you are ready to print. Try it.
- Be sure to test your printer before the playing session begins, and whenever you change printers or computers. Immediately before the game begins is a good time to print the initial Year 0 reports. The speed of printing depends on your computer and your printer. It should take no longer than five minutes to print all six status reports for each round.
A Quick Look at a Round of Play
The game board depicts four farms, each with eight 80-acre fields, some buildings representing the community beyond the farms, wetlands managed by the Policy Council, and a river running through it. The farms' fields have steep or shallow slopes, produce abundant (high-productivity) or meager (low-productivity) crop yields, and are close to or farther away from either the river or its wetlands. Each characteristic is evident from the game board. Only those fields that actually touch the river or the wetlands are considered "near water."
Participants will play through up to 10 two-year decision-making periods. In each round, the four farm teams will decide how to manage their fields for the next two years. Having filled out their decision sheets (see the figure below), they place plastic tokens matching those choices on each of their fields. Token placement must match the decisions indicated on the sheets. At any time, farmers may also decide to purchase low-till equipment, as indicated by the card shown below, which they might or might not choose to employ in each succeeding round. They place this card on their tractor when they opt to use low-till equipment, and remove it when using conventional tillage. Low-till applies to all fields or none at all.
Decision sheet for a typical farm:
|The tokens for field use|
Meanwhile, the Council makes its own decisions about which policies will be put into effect in the following two-year period (see below).
When all teams have turned in their decision sheets to you, enter their decisions into the computer (see page 11), run the simulation, and print and distribute the annual reports (see pages 12 and 13). The illustrations reflect conditions after ten years five rounds of actual play. The teams analyze what happened, make new decisions, and move their tokens as necessary and the next round begins.
Decision sheet for Council members:
Decisions screen for a typical farm:
Decisions screen for the Policy Council:
Regional summary report:
Policy Council report:
Typical Farm Report:
How to Begin
You may find it easier (at least the first time around) to have someone assist you in running the game. One of you can be in charge of entering the players' decisions into the computer, printing the results of each round, and distributing the reports, while the other can mingle and help the participants. Allow 2-1/2 to 3 hours for the entire exercise (discussing the actions and consequences of each round as it is played), including 30 minutes at the end for a wrap-up "debriefing."
Arrive early. Set up and test the printer, and then print out the initial ("Year 0") output report for each team.
The room should be large enough for the tables you will need: one for the game board, one for the computer and printer, one for each of the five teams, and one for name tags and refreshments if provided. When arranging the tables, keep things "conversation friendly," and allow enough room for the players to walk around. You'll want to create an atmosphere that lends itself to dynamic and active exchanges the best climate for learning!
When everyone has arrived, introduce the game, your objectives in using it, and the player roles. Assign players to each of the five teams.
Your job is to "stir things up," to keep that realistic chaos going. As with learning in general, uncertainty sparks discovery and growth. Don't let your players become complacent. You can use the Settings pages (discussed below) to toss in an occasional zinger: crashing crop prices or an immediate need for higher net income, for example.
Every playing session of AgLand is different. Once the action begins, the natural factors and situations that have been incorporated into the game take much of the control out of your hands. Have a rough mental guide of where you where you want the game to go, but keep things relaxed and comfortable.
We've built great configurability into AgLand so that you, as the facilitator, can change many of the game's initial settings. Because some of these numbers might prove useful to participants in the course of play, you'll probably want to be able to print copies for distribution. We've included master copies of the default settings, plausible in many agricultural areas. If you decide to keep these settings, just distribute the sheets to the farmers and the Policy Council members as you see fit. If you change any of the settings, you'll want to mark those changes on the Settings Summaries sheets prior to distribution. Do this in advance. We've found it convenient to include the information sheets along with the role descriptions at the beginning of the game, but you could also distribute them later, under the guise of "late-breaking university research."
Each participant takes the part of either a farmer or a policy maker. If either role is already overfamiliar to someone from real life, challenge that person by having him or her play another part. Try to blend the teams so that players do not "think alike": mix genders, mix ages, mix real-life farmers with real-life policy makers, mix students with teachers, mix educators with agency employees. Distribute the farmer and Policy Council role description and decision sheets. Instruct the Council to fill the positions of tax watchdog, wildlife enthusiast, hunter, farm advocate, and clean water advocate.
You might also want to assign farming strategies. For example, have one farm grow as many different crops as possible, tell the players in charge of the second farm to concentrate on maximizing its family's net worth, force the third group of farmers to put most of their acreage in reserve to protect the area's wildlife, and limit the last farm's tillage methods. The idea behind these strategy assignments is to provide a rationale for the decisions that need to be made during each round.
Playing the Game
Distribute the Year 0 reports, and have the farmers place their game tokens on the board, matching their preassigned crops and land uses with the fields, and record the field characteristics (whether the river flows through it or it is adjacent to the wetlands, whether it has a steep or shallow slope, and whether it is high- or low-yielding) on their decision sheets. (Remind each farm team to circle the appropriate letter identifying the farm at the top of the sheet.) Encourage thorough discussion, but keep things moving. After 10 minutes or so (no more), have the farmers choose the crop to plant for the first two-year cycle, the type of tillage to use, whether to put any of their acreage in reserve, or whether to sell any of their fields to the government. Then have them mark these choices on their decision sheets for Year 1-2, move their game tokens accordingly, and give you their decision sheets.
At this same time, the Policy Council is deciding whether to regulate, tax, or offer payments for specific land uses or characteristics. The Council is subject to pressure from often-conflicting special interest groups, prompting it to conduct public satisfaction surveys (as reflected in the various "faces" that accompany each variable). Its members are also privy to some scientific data not available to the farmers. The Council may opt to share this information or it may decide not to. Public forums can be held periodically or can take the form of impromptu discussions at the end of each round, perhaps while you're waiting for the reports to finish printing. Remind the Policy Council that their decisions won't take effect until the next decision round. (It takes time to implement new laws.)
Enter farm and Council decisions into the computer program and generate biennial summary reports for the region, the Policy Council, and each farm.
To save time, you may want to print only one copy of the regional report and put it on the table with the game board for everyone's review. Or, if your printer is sufficiently speedy, you might decide to give each team its own copy. While the reports are printing, it is a good time for players to compare strategies or for you to lead a general discussion: Why did the Policy Council do what it did? What information did the farmers use, and were their decisions wise? Pay special attention to those smiling and frowning faces! Why is the river still dirty? What does it cost to generate more wildlife?
Another way to generate discussion is to hold periodic public forums. The Council can explain the actions it has taken, individual advocates can report what their constituencies have to say, and farmers can voice their concerns and offer suggestions. (If things are moving along quickly enough and the farmers are not pleased with a Council decision, you may opt to have each farm write a letter to those elected officials.)
Even if you run out of time before the twentieth year (and we've found that this very often is the situation), you can still play out the simulation to the end by clicking on Run Simulator until it reaches Year 20. Then, print reports for that round so that you can discuss how life in AgLand would have progressed, given the last set of decisions.
At the end of your last round, it's time to identify the problems and events that occurred during the game and the factors responsible for them. There is no closing script, but a lively (and educational) discussion would focus on how these problems and events occur in real life and what changes can be made to avoid or solve them. Would you make the same decisions again? How easy or difficult was it to consider things from the "other side?" Now that you have played AgLand, will it be easier for you to consider viewpoints other than your own?
AgLand has no set script. Use it to fit the learning situation. As facilitator, you control the game but the game should be only part of the total educational experience.
How AgLand Simulates Real Life
The simulation program that serves as the framework for the game is a prototype of the world at large. Think of AgLand as a world, but certainly not as the world.
The system modeled in AgLand is relatively simple at its core but involves several layers of complexity not readily apparent at the start of the game (and never completely visible to either you or the players). Farmers decide what to do with each field they control. Each land use choice results in a particular pattern of income, physical output, soil loss, water quality changes, habitat improvement, and money flows. Embedded within the computer program are numerous relationships and variables that capture these changes. You can either use the initial default settings (they're quite plausible and generally supported by up-to-date university research) or adjust them at your discretion.
The four types of soil in AgLand, typical of many midwestern farmland soils, are specified on the Erosion settings page and the Yields settings page. Soil quality (represented by the high- or low-productivity indicator), tillage method, and field slope establish yield conditions. If soil loss through cropping exceeds soil building (the default setting is three tons per acre per year), field topsoil depth diminishes. At first, this has little or no effect on yield, but as topsoil depth decreases to a critical minimum level, yields increasingly diminish. The limit of this decrease is roughly half of the original base yield. By contrast, soil loss and soil building continue at the same rate regardless of topsoil depth. The computer program converts tons of soil to soil depth. Generation rate and maximum depth are set on the Wildlife\Water settings page. Initial topsoil volume in AgLand corresponds to fewer than six inches in depth. AgLand fields are much more sensitive to soil loss than are most real fields.
Erosion settings screen
AgLand asks players to deal with two wildlife issues: (1) How is the population of a hunted species doing? (2) What is the overall diversity of wildlife species the region supports? Both are a function of the type of land, its location, and the crop/use choice. The two are affected by these variables in different ways.
In calculating the abundance of the hunted species, the AgLand simulation models the response behavior of pheasant populations, which have been widely studied by wildlife biologists. You could refer to a different game bird or targeted wildlife species providing it has similar habitat relationships. In general, crops provide less suitable habitats, grazing provides more suitable habitat, and areas in reserve provide the most suitable habitats for pheasant nesting and brood rearing. However, a fifty-fifty mix of grassland and cereal grain crops (corn/beans and small grain) is optimal for year-round survival. Random weather events affect population levels as well.
Public land is treated as additional grassland, like the Reserve. Fields next to wetlands or the river provide a boost to production. On the other hand, alfalfa fields actually reduce pheasant populations because although they attract nesting hens, the nests are destroyed during early harvesting. The maximum pheasant population is achieved when four fields per farm are in grass (reserve or public land including all those near water), and four fields per farm are in small grain. The total numbers per farm range from 120 to 168 but it would take up to five years to reach this level.
Wildlife diversity is represented in AgLand by the number of bird species and their distribution across the region. (Birds are often a good indicator of trends in other wildlife species as well.) Different species have different habitat requirements. In calculating diversity, the program models the response of three different groups of birds to crop/land-use choices: common species, wetland and riparian species, and area sensitive grassland species. The maximum diversity of common species per farm is 19. Grasslands add up to 6 species: four species if one field on a farm is in the Reserve, six if two fields are in the Reserve. Grazed pastures add four species, small grain fields add four, fields planted with corn/beans add two, and alfalfa fields add three. Wetland and riparian bird species only occur in grasslands or pastures adjacent to wetlands or waterways: six species for one field, eight for two fields, and 12 species if three or more fields are adjacent to water.
"Area Sensitive Grassland Species" are a special group. These are native grassland birds highly sensitive to habitat fragmentation. Some examples in the Tallgrass prairie region include Greater Prairie Chicken, Henslow's Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Upland Sandpiper, and Bobolink. Grassland birds have shown steeper, more consistent, and more geographically widespread declines than any other ecological grouping of North American species. These declines are prevalent from the Great Plains eastward across the United States and southern Canada. In AgLand, the number of area sensitive grassland species per farm ranges from one (if one or two fields are in grassreserve or public) to six species (if seven or more fields per farm are in grass).
Wildlife/Water settings screen
The Regional Report provides a combined diversity index for all bird species on a scale of 0-100% of the regional maximum. The Policy Council annual report shows the status of each group of birds separately: common species, riparian/wetland species, and area sensitive grassland species. If the resulting diversity indices for any one of these is less than the "Frown Below" setting, regardless of how good any of the other indices are, the affected constituency will be upset and the public survey indicator for Wildlife Enthusiasts will be a frown. To get a smile on the survey face, two or more of the indices must be above the "Smile Above" level, and the third must be above the "Frown Below" level. For all other combinations of the three species indicators, the survey will show an "OK" face, neither a smile nor a frown.
The quality of river water is affected by annual changes in soil loss and by previous levels of water-borne sediment. Each crop or land use on each type of field has associated with it an annual soil loss, which is shown on the information summaries you may choose to distribute to the players. Not all soil that is "lost" to a field actually reaches the water; some is deposited in adjacent fields. The amount that actually reaches the water (the sediment delivery rate) is determined by the slope of the field and its proximity to water. All else being equal, steeper slopes and fields nearer water have higher sediment delivery rates.
You can change these on the Wildlife\Water settings page if you'd prefer. The soil loss levels reported on the farm reports are measured at the boundaries of the farm. They do not reflect sediment delivery rates. But the sediment loading given on the Policy Council reports is actual "dirt in the stream." The former can be likened to the common in-field soil erosion estimates that many farmers are aware of. The latter is like the results from a water quality monitoring station located just above town. The two sets of numbers are obviously related, but they will not move lock-step, depending as they do on sediment delivery rates and river water quality lag functions.
AgLand mimics the operation of real river systems by delaying the impacts of land use changes on water quality. It takes several years for the river to clean itself, even after field erosion is slowed or stopped. Water quality itself is a function of the amount of sediment moving through the river at any given point in time, and is indicated by a water quality index of 1 (worst) to 5 (best). It is this index that is reflected in the public survey. You can change the thresholds for the public's response on the Community settings pages.
Farmers earn money by selling crops, renting any of their fields for pasture, participating in the reserve program, selling land, and receiving payments from the Council.
In AgLand, there are three kinds of farm expenditures, most of which can be adjusted on the Finances settings page. Direct costs, measured on a per-acre basis, are associated with the particular crop/use, such as cultivation, seeds, pest control, and harvesting. Overhead costs, whole-farm expenditures allocated on a per-acre basis, are incurred regardless of the use choices. In general, it costs more to produce on poorer soils. These include interest on debt, machinery depreciation, and equipment repair. Transition costs, measured on a per-acre basis, are incurred when major changes in land use are made. These are generally up-front expenditures, such as fencing for a new grazing operation or grassland establishment for fields entering reserve status. There is no provision in AgLand for crop storage or special marketing arrangements. All crops are sold at year-end for the price that is reported at that time.
Finances settings screen
Yields settings screen
The field-level annual summaries include net government payments for the selected crop/use. These payments are separated out from crop sales receipts in the whole-farm financial summary.
Year-end farm reports show Net Farm Income, which is the amount remaining after overhead costs and family living expenses are subtracted from (and proceeds from any land sales are added to) Net Cash Income. Cumulative graphs for this indicator provide a long-term view of a farm's overall financial condition. Any year-end balance above zero earns interest (at a rate you can set) and any balance below zero is charged interest (at the same rate).
You can change crop prices on the Finances settings page and crop yields on the Yields settings page.
To influence land management choices, the Policy Council can change the profit farmers make (through payments or taxes) or the rules under which farmers operate (through regulations). The Council can also try to buy land, at a price it sets, and take over complete management. By manipulating these three parts of the economic and legal environment, the Council seeks to reach desired levels of performance for the entire system.
All payments are funded by taxing the community as a whole. The Council must make sure that farmers do not pay so much that they go bankrupt and that townspeople do not pay so much that they vote Council members out of office. (You can either use the tax burdens already established in the computer program or adjust the rates on the Community settings page.) Regulations obviously have no direct fiscal impact, because all costs are borne by the farmers outside the payment/tax framework, and all benefits appear as changes in water and wildlife quality, not as taxes to the community. However, regulations can substantially influence the financial condition of affected farmers, because they presumably are imposed to force farmers to select a crop/use option that they would not otherwise choose.
Payments and taxes are represented in AgLand as positive or negative increments to the per-acre net income of each crop/use choice. The Policy Council can choose to target these increments to particular field types or to certain crops/uses or to particular tillage practices. The underlying economic concept here is that financial incentives or disincentives can influence the eventual crop/use selection, just as changes in output or input prices would. Of course, the incentives might be too small to persuade farmers to change a selection, or they might simply reinforce a decision they would have made anyway in which case, the Council is wasting public money. The reverse is true for disincentives.
Community settings screen
Corn and soybeans are grown in a two-year rotation in AgLand. The rotation is automatic players (or facilitators) cannot specify which crop is planted in which of the two years. There is no rotation effect (a yield increase achieved by switching from one crop to another) and no particular weed-control carryover problem when switching. Because each is planted in rows, these two crops result in fairly high erosion, particularly on steep slopes. Low-till cultivation has the largest effect on erosion here. Because of strong market demand and effective agronomic management, these crops tend to produce the highest profits of those crops grown in AgLand, even given their higher production costs.
This crop is modeled on a four-year cycle in AgLand. In the first year of each cycle, yields are low (half of normal, because there is only one cutting) and transition cost is high, to reflect initial field preparation or stand renovation. The crop is cut three times in each of years 2-4. The first cutting is in early June hence the mortality problems with associated nesting wildlife. Alfalfa prices can fluctuate widely in real life, because of drought or winterkill. In AgLand, this is represented as wider annual price swings (up to 0.7-1.3 times normal) than for the other crops.
Fields planted to grains cost relatively little to convert, are moderately erosive, and tend to return profits lower than does the corn/bean rotation at least under the AgLand default. The default price and yield are for wheat. You might want to change these to reflect local agronomic conditions
Grazed fields in AgLand are rented out, not directly managed. The relatively high transition costs reflect the one-time expense of fencing and routing water to the paddocks. The annual direct cost is for fence maintenance. You'll want to increase this for fertilizing costs if you want to model the fields as "improved pasture" with its associated higher stocking rates. Revenues are the product of stocking rate (number of animal-unit-months per acre) and the annual rent per animal unit. The default $35 represents a $7/aum rent at a 5 aum stocking rate. You can change the revenue product on the Finances setting page.
Reserve contracts are for six years, at the payment rate in place when initially entered. If the Council later changes payment rates, in-place contracts are honored until the six years are up, at which point continued Reserve participation is treated as a new contract at the rates in place at that time. Note that Reserve contracts can be "broken" by farmers simply by selecting a different use. It's up to the Council to monitor contract compliance, as is the case with regulations. As a facilitator, all you have to do is ensure that the decisions you enter into the simulator are mirrored by appropriate pieces on the game board. We've found that periodic "cheating" (yes, it happens) by farmers (breaking contracts, ignoring regulations) opens up lively and informative discussions about monitoring, penalties, and trust in policy making.
If farmers so choose, they can sell one or more fields to the Council at a price set by the Council. Once sold, the land is managed as wildlife habitat, and any wildlife increases or associated costs are entered into the Council's accounts, not the farmer's. There is no buy-back option. Each farmer receives the payment in one lump-sum, which is added to the farm net income balance. The Council has 10 years (the default) to pay off the bond, but there is an interest charge for remaining principal. Both parameters can be altered on the Finances settings page. When a field is sold, farm overhead is automatically reduced, proportional to the charges set under Overhead Per Acre.
Weather and Crop Prices
Underlying much of AgLand is a series of linkages that influence the outcome of the game but cannot be changed by anyone. Weather and crop prices are two examples.
Each year's weather, which affects crop yields and wildlife mortality, is determined in the model by a variation function that can move about its initial value. Weather patterns can be either "normal" or "extreme" over time. You can select these on the Wildlife\Water Quality settings page. Normal weather (the default) fluctuates between 0.9 and 1.1 times the normal, whereas extreme weather fluctuates between 0.7 and 1.3.
Output prices also fluctuate from year to year, between 0.8 and 1.2 times the original level you set. Nothing that farmers or the Policy Council do can influence these price fluctuations, but you, as the facilitator, can change the base price at any point in the game.
- AgLand won't start.
Close any other programs that may be running, and then turn your computer off and back on. If AgLand still won't run, reload the program from the original diskettes.
- My printer doesn't work properly.
Double-check the cables and printer driver, and then print something outside of AgLand. Make sure you have the correct printer driver loaded and selected. If you still have problems, select "Use bitmapped printing method" (from Print Results option in Windows). That might be a little slower, but it will work with almost any printer.
- My printer seems slow.
Turn off Windows Print Manager and reduce resolution on output. If this doesn't work, try a faster computer. The default printing system (non-bitmapped) seems to be quicker on most machines, but on some, the reverse is true. (Don't ask us!) Your goal is a balance of legible reports prepared as quickly as possible.
- AgLand (or Windows) blows up.
Reboot if necessary. When you restart AgLand, the playing session will automatically rebuild itself to where you were before the problem developed.
- I need to return to the default settings.
If you haven't started playing, select Run/Reset to return to the initial settings. If you have started playing, you can change any setting you want, but you can't automatically restore the defaults without returning to Year 0.
- I want to change settings in mid-game.
Before any round of play, you can change items on the Settings pages. We advise caution here, but you can do this to increase tension levels or to examine different policy scenarios.
- I get a fault when I exit AgLand.
You can safely ignore this. It occurs only in Windows 95 and only the first time you run AgLand after a cold boot. It has no adverse effect. It will not occur again until after your next cold boot.
- I can't find the masters for my handouts.
You will find additional copies in the back of this manual. Or you can download copies from the AgLand website.
The following documents contain copies of the Farmer and Policy Council Role Descriptions and Decision Sheets, and optional Settings Summaries handouts. These documents can be viewed and printed using Adobe Acrobat Reader 2.1 or greater. Click here for instructions on downloading Acrobat Reader to your computer.