The Fish Game is one of the easiest, most effective and fun games that anyone can play! It requires little preparation, is easy to setup, and is deceptively simple.
Players are divided up into teams, that can decide each round how much they would like to fish that round. One caveat is that the sea contains a maximum number of fish, but the exact number is unknown to players. As communication improves during the rounds of the game, teams need to decide how much they will fish, when, and why. Who will be the winner, and what does that even mean?
The Fish Game is a gamified form of what is known as the Tragedy of the Commons, a problem in economics that occurs when collective and personal objectives interact. Depending on the setting of the game, the group, the course, the discipline, and so on, the setup and debrief can be tweaked either which way in order to enhance particular learning objectives and didactic learning goals.
A variation on the Fish Game that we sometimes play, is known as the Isle of UICCS – originating from the Isle of Ted. This uses similar dynamics, but includes defense and trade (from pirates!) – in order to simulate collective defense, collective goods, and different forms of cooperation and competition.