MaeSalaep was developed to help socially validate a computer multi-agent model linked to a Geographic Information System (GIS) developed by researchers to understand the interaction between crop diversification on slopes and the risk of land erosion in a small mountain watershed.
The use of a role-playing game allowed local villagers to understand what the computer model simulated about agricultural dynamics. It also provided local player views about socio-economic issues to researchers.
The game is for twelve players divided into three groups of four, each with a character with a particular style of farming skills. Each character manages their land and cash resources. A series of "chance" cards mimic random events during play. A periodic market event allows transactions of crops and cash to occur. The process uses a computerized system to generate outcomes based on character actions.