Play a game to discuss how factors of identity, occupation and changes of environment or circumstances (societal, economic, technological) interact to affect rewards, meaning and self-realization.

Original Gaming Surface: butcher paper (3.5 X 3.5 feet) divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant contains a geometric spiral that represents alternatively elevation or depression with respect to the surface.

Markers: pieces of stiff, bright colored cardstock
  • are identity pieces: blind person, vegetarian, teenager, veteran, convict
  • are occupation pieces: janitor, pediatrician, bus driver, stock broker, carpenter
  • are delta pieces: "electricity becomes obsolete", "5.1 earthquake on Hayward Fault","AIDS is cured","children choose their own schools"


Move the "workforce" with respect to environmental changes and verbally justify the movements to other players.


Preparation:The "workforce" is created when each player takes five delta cards and writes environmental changes on them and combines them to form one stack.
By turns: Individual players draw one card each from identity, occupation and delta card stacks to place on the board.
As delta cards continue to be drawn the environment is affected causing each player on their turn to make reasoned changes in position (level= meaningfulness, self-realization, rewards) of the "workforce". These moves can be challenged by other players. If consensus says a set of moves is unreasonable then the player loses her/his turn.
Winning:Play ceases when all the players run out of delta cards- last one in wins!


delta-WORK was developed to give concreteness to discussions about the influence work has in people's lives. If you play it, please write about your experiences and send them in to share with other players and people who are interested in work.

Source:  The name comes from the discipline of physics where work = change in level.
This game was invented by Kasey Asberry during the Workscapes of the Future research project at Xerox PARC, 07/17/96.
With impetus from Mark Chow's "What if...?" thought experiment

©HumanOrigins, 1996 - 2009 Creative Commons License
delta-Work by Human Origins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
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