Commons and Dragons: roleplaying the generative commons


“The essence of a role-playing game is that it is a group, cooperative experience.”

Gary Gygax, co-inventor of Dungeons & Dragons


This tool is for you if…


How long does it take?


How many participants?


What do you need to play?



You need to evaluate, choose or test the most appropriate juridical arrangements and governance systems for your organisation.

Some preliminary work is also required to prepare the session. A session can last from one to several hours. Multiple sessions could be organised to continue the exploration… and the fun!

Three participants is the minimum requirement, but definitively not enough. Aim for a group of 5-6 players besides the game master

A table large enough  for everybody to sit around, printed copies of the gaming sheets and instructions (which can be downloaded from this webpage), white paper, pencils and pens for everybody, a computer with an internet connection, maps, drawings and other representations of the site where you are going to set your game session. 

Using the logic of role-playing games, Commons and Dragons allows players to simulate commoning situations to configure and test forms of governance, regulations, laws and legal structures. This will enable participants to make informed assessments and choices in their actual practices.

Inspired by the famous Dungeons and Dragons, the distinctive characteristic of Commons and Dragons is the possibility – in the hands of the players – to refer to real situations in terms of setting, objectives of the game sessions, actors involved. The aim of the game is not to win but to explore possibilities and solutions: the role-playing formula was also chosen because of the opportunity it offers of avoiding competitive logic in favour of playfulness and collaboration. In addition, intending to use the game as a tool for evaluation and study, Commons and Dragons allows you to learn about and explore existing regulations and legislative instruments specific to the juridical context in which you are playing. It will be up to the Game Master to prepare the necessary materials to deepen the contents that will emerge during the session, in the form of links to relevant websites or involving players with legal knowledge. 

In particular, Commons and Dragons has been conceived to allow the exploration of the legal structures and laws supporting the establishment and the activities of commons-oriented initiatives. To complete the preparation of the gaming session have a look at Q&A tool of gE.CO’sLegal Toolkit.


A Commons and Dragons session, at Valentino’s Park, Turin, during the Researcher’s Night, 24-25 September 2021

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