Short history of the MSP Challenge

In this page you can find the short story of the MSP Challenge development.

Original idea

Early summer 2011, Lodewijk Abspoel (Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, The Netherlands) and Xander Keijser (Rijkswaterstaat, The Netherlands) came up with the idea to develop a policy game about Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). They teamed up with Igor Mayer, Bas van Nuland and Linda van Veen and other serious game designers from the Serious Game Lab at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands.

MSP Challenge Original (2011-2013)

​The MSP Challenge Original was first played on 24 November 2011 with marine spatial planners from the North Sea, Baltic and Atlantic region at the joint HELCOM-VASAB, OSPAR, and ICES workshop (in the Marine Aquarium, Lisbon, Portugal). In 2013, the team was invited to run the game at the 2nd Nordic Workshop on Marine Spatial Planning, Reykjavik, Iceland, 12-13, November 2013.

MSP Challenge 2050 (2013 - 2015)

Soon after the first gaming sessions, the team started the development of the MSP Challenge 2050, first launched in May 2014 in Delft (het Meisjeshuis) and in 2015, at de Noordzee-dagen (North Sea days), Assen, The Netherlands. In 2015, Igor Mayer changed his affiliation to the Academy for Games and Media, at Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUas). Atlantis Games (a BUas serious game startup) reworked the underlying MSP Challenge software in 2015.

MSP Challenge Board game (2016 - )

In 2016, the original team, Lodewijk Abspoel, Xander Keijser, Igor Mayer, Linda van Veen developed a Short Sea Shipping Board game for a high-level workshop, organized under the then EU presidency of the Netherlands. Between 2016 and 2019 we further developed the board game and produced editions and copies in many different languages for many organizations in different regions of the world.

MSP Challenge simulation platform (2016 - )

Beginning of 2016, MSP challenge became part of two EU Interreg projects, NorthSEE and BalticLINes, broadening the support-base of the game to the whole North Sea and Baltic regions. Around the same time, Rhona Fairgrieve of the Scottish Government / Marine Scotland asked to develop a Clyde Marine region edition of the digital game for the SimCELT project.

The development of the MSP Challenge simulation platform was assigned to BUas R&D lab, named CRADLE, under the supervision of Carlos Santos and Harald Warmelink.

Many organizations contributed to the development, among others Ecopath International Initiative (EII) for the Ecopath with Ecosim food web models.

In 2018 and 2019, many educational and stakeholder engagement sessions were held with both the board game and simulation platform.

3D Ocean View

In 2018, on behalf of their organizations, Lodewijk Abspoel and Rhona Fairgrieve requested the development of the 3D Ocean View proof of concept. The 3D Ocean View prototype uses virtual reality to enable users to visualize the sea basin in 3D, you can have a bird eye view of the plans you are making at sea or dive in to see underwater structures.

Future developments

In 2019, the MSP Challenge became part of the Digishape project, whose ambition it is to develop a Digital Twin of the North Sea.

Early 2020, we launched the new MSP Challenge user community.

We continue to work on the MSP Challenge for the benefit of the international MSP community.