Cops and Rubbers, Hazard Identification

These are examples of teaching a very specific topic to an audience. ‘Cops and Rubbers’ is a card game, while the OH&S hazard identification game is digital.

Cops and Rubbers was designed in order to get people aware of a problem in some states of America and many developing countries: condoms were (are?) being taken from prostitutes as evidence of their job and then they would often be taken into custody. This mean they had to make a choice – do they continue to keep condoms on their person, protecting themselves from HIV and other diseases, or would they rather risk it and avoid police confrontation? This is a dangerous choice to force people to make, and it seems ridiculous that such a rule is still in place in the first world. The game placed players in the position of sex workers who then had to constantly face this risky decision – get caught, or get diseases?

This, however, is possibly most important: “ultimately the physical game attracted a greater audience to the [official document about sex workers] because of the inherent spectacle and level of engagement a tabletop game creates.” (p. 5)

p.5) “at least a quarter of the players had walked by and seen a group of people getting emotional and vocal playing the game, stayed to observe the rest of that game session, and then decided to join in the next game session”

And despite the rather serious, unpleasant topic, people said they found the game enjoyable because of its “accessibility with quick and easy gameplay and its high level of engagement”.


The hazard game, on the other hand, was created for a very specific audience; construction workers in Australia who need to know how to identify and eliminate hazards onsite as part of their training, as it is can be a very dangerous job (11% of all ACC claims in AU come from this area) and not all hazards can be identified prior to work starting.

Originally they provided these safety tests through classroom and online environments, but found that many workers switched off and just didn’t gain anything from them – in fact, 91% of workers failed to complete the online readings. They decided to try designing a game instead as construction workers tend to be hand-on people, and they felt interactivity would be more engaging. This was greatly successful, a shown by the graphs of many questions asked of the players.

3. “Games often break down complex tasks into smaller more manageable tasks that cater for the individual pace of the player and give immediate and continuous feedback along the way”


REF: Lien, T. (2013). Cops & rubbers: a game promoting advocacy and empathy in support of public health and human rights of sex workers. Retrieved from

Greuter, S. & Tepe, S. (2013). Engaging students in OH&S hazard identification through a game. In DiGRA 2013 – DeFragging Game Studies. Atlanta, GA, USA.


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