About Extreme Event Game

What is Extreme Event Game? 

This in-person role-playing game gives participants a taste of what it takes to build community resilience in the face of disaster. Players work together to make decisions and solve problems during an engaging, fast-paced disaster simulation.

What You'll Need to Play


Adults and teens age 14+


With your group in one place


Download your own materials or use our ready-to-go game sets

How the Game Works


Choose a disaster scenario and prepare your game room


Read from a script to create the narrative and issue challenges


Help players connect game outcomes with real-world lessons

Benefits of Playing


Players must work together to solve problems within small and large groups


Players learn to prioritize resources, build coalitions, and adapt to changing circumstances


Players practice critical thinking and improve civic literacy related to disaster resilience


An Award-Winning Game Based on Good Science

Extreme Event was developed by the National Academy of Sciences’ Koshland Science Museum in collaboration with the ResilientAmerica Roundtable. It won a GOLD Medal in the museums category for the 2015 International Serious Play Awards.
The content draws on recommendations in the seminal National Research Council report Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative and has been reviewed by experts and staff of the National Academies. In addition, we tested and refined the game over a 2-year beta period, so we know it works well with a variety of settings and groups.
The game was developed with support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Koshland Science Museum Endowment, and private donations.

User Testimonials

"Great exercise! Gets the group really thinking and it was fun!"
"This is a really well put-together packet for bringing awareness to resiliency."
"Excellent exercise. Many participants noted that it was one of their favorite parts of our training."
"Intense interactions & decisions make this a great program to use in teaching."

Gameplay Overview

In the course of the game, players must:
• Prioritize resources
• Build coalitions
• Respond to a disaster
• Assess the impact
Players begin by selecting a role to play in one of six sectors: households, community groups, businesses, first responders, local and state government, and federal government. As the game gets underway, each sector must decide which resources to invest in to help make their city more resilient.
Then, a disaster occurs, complete with sound effects and narrative drama! The game becomes more intense as players use their resources—and collaborate with each other—to solve challenges in neighborhoods around the city.
Time is short and surprise events occur throughout the game, requiring participants to adapt and reprioritize to help their neighborhoods and the city as a whole. The game ends with a thought-provoking discussion to uncover lessons learned throughout the game.

Should I Host an Extreme Event Game? 

Who’s it for? Any group of adults or teens can play Extreme Event. It’s been used by community groups, in classrooms, and as part of volunteer and teacher training activities. 
What’s it cost? All the game components are free, but some items need to be printed. Most facilitators report spending less than $25. Producing top-quality materials or having us host your game can cost up to several hundred dollars. You can customize the game materials to fit your budget and technology. 
What do I do? Start preparing a few weeks before your game. Visit Game Setup to select a scenario, assemble your materials, and get ready to facilitate. Then you’ll just need to gather your group and enjoy the challenge! You can also subscribe to receive occasional email updates and game tips. 




Try a Demo Test Game! 

Use the Digital Game Portal to get a feel for the script and game phases. You can facilitate the game using this portal or a printed script.