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WASHINGTON — The Hutchins Center for Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings and the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Serious Games Initiative are proud to announce that Fiscal Ship – the game in which ordinary citizens solve the problem of rising federal debt using real fiscal data and policies – won Gold in the International Serious Play Competition, the highest distinction awarded.

“Fiscal Ship makes it easy for players to understand the tax and spending policies that make up our federal budget – and the tradeoffs necessary to bring U.S. debt down over the long term” said Eric Church, Director of the Serious Games Initiative at the Wilson Center. “We’re honored that the International Serious Play Conference believes as strongly as we do in Fiscal Ship’s ability to provide greater understanding of the federal budget.”

To play the game, contestants choose their priorities by selecting three governing goals among 10 choices such as reduce inequality, strengthen national defense, shrink government, invest in the future, or rein in entitlements. A player then decides among some 100 different tax and spending options to achieve his/her governing goals while simultaneously trying to bring the debt-to-GDP ratio down from a projected 130 percent in 2041 to 75 percent – a goal many economists consider reasonable.

“We are aiming The Fiscal Shape at Americans of all ages who realize that the U.S. government has a long-term debt problem, and would like to see if we can address it over the next 25 years,” said David Wessel, Hutchins Center Director and Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at Brookings. “In just 10 minutes or so, The Fiscal Ship shows players the sort of choices that we will have to make eventually and demonstrates that there are ways to put the U.S. government on a fiscally sustainable course without compromising all of a player’s other priorities for government.”

Organizations winning Gold status are invited to show their title at the 2016 Serious Play Conference, this year hosted by the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Tuesday-Thursday, July 26-28.  The Conference the most experienced developers and designers in the industry, the top academic researchers and senior program heads from education, corporate, healthcare, government/military, museums and other emerging areas.

Play Fiscal Ship Here

Fiscal Ship was built by 1st Playable Productions, a game development firm based in Troy, NY. It received financial support from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Lounsbery Foundation. The Hutchins and Wilson Centers worked with an advisory committee that represents a broad spectrum of political views and included: Joel Friedman, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Marc Goldwein, Center for a Responsible Federal Budget; G. William Hoagland, Bipartisan Policy Center; Harry Stein, Center for American Progress; Michael Strain, American Enterprise Institute; and Paul Winfree, Heritage Foundation.