About the Game

The Mercury Game is a negotiation simulation designed to teach people about the role of science in international environmental policy making.

The game is free to download.

Despite decades of scientific work on issues such as ozone depletion, climate change, and toxic chemicals, effectively communicating scientific uncertainty remains a major challenge in all environmental treaty negotiations.

Strategies for incorporating scientific information into policy include developing scientific assessments, setting up subsidiary bodies to treaty negotiations, and framing the information in an appropriate manner. How scientific information is perceived has been, and will remain, a key challenge facing all international environmental treaty-drafting efforts.

This mercury game is a role-play simulation aimed at scientists, students and decision makers. Playing the game will help participants explore the consequences of representing scientific uncertainty in various ways in a policy context. The game focuses on the credibility of various sources of technical information, strategies for representing risk and uncertainty, and the balance between scientific and political considerations.

The game also requires players to grapple with politics – it explores the dynamic between the global “North” (the developed world) and the global “South” (the developing world) at the heart of most treaty-making difficulties.

Ultimately, the role play should help to make clear how scientific information can be favorably employed in an environmental treaty making process.The results of the game will be used in a doctoral research project on the relationship between science and policy in international environmental negotiations.


  • The game takes 3-4 hours to play
  • The game is designed for students, scientists and decision makers
  • The game is for 9-11 players, depending on whether the facilitator plays the Chair and whether the India role is used.
  • The game is free and available for download


The Mercury Game was written by Leah C. Stokes, Dr. Noelle E. Selin and Dr. Lawrence E. Susskind at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. See “Contact” for more information. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1053648.

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