About UpRiver

UpRiver is an analog game that teaches players the principles of flood prediction so that they can make better decisions based on regional and seasonal forecasts. Every year, people die in completely predictable floods. Severe rain overflows the banks of the Zambezi river, and water flows downstream, hitting each population in order from the source of the flood to the sea, where the river empties.

UpRiver was designed in partnership with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and the Zambian Red Cross who work directly with people affected by floods to communicate these important ideas and save lives. Download the full game in the resources tab below.


How it works

Players simulate water levels along the river with cups filled with different amounts of water. Water is added or subtracted from the cups with sponges, and players are asked to predict the final level. players earn game currency by reporting the water level, weather, and other real-time information about their local area. They can earn more by placing bets about future conditions. The farther out their predictions, and more accurate their guesses, the larger the reward. To help make more accurate guesses, players may also purchase information about what players upstream from them are reporting, or buy access to a computer model. In the end, the player who is best able to leverage this information into accurate predictions will be deemed the winner.

The Goal

UpRiver challenges players to predict what the water level in their area will be at a future date. At the end of a play period, the player who has earned the most in-game currency wins real world rewards such as free text messages or cell phone minutes.

UpRiver News

Zambia Red-Cross a ‘global champion’ in climate games

Zambia Red-Cross a ‘global champion’ in climate games

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies article on UpRiver success story

Emerson College Reviews UpRiver Game

Emerson College Reviews UpRiver Game

Emerson College article on the Engagement Lab's UpRiver game that has been implemented in Zambia

UpRiver Flood Preparedness Game

UpRiver Flood Preparedness Game

Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre article on UpRiver as a flood preparedness game in Zambia