Our game Tolerance shows how segregation emerges even when individuals are relatively tolerant. In our game, we use two types of crabs with arbitrary differences. Both types are tolerant, so there’s no asymmetry or one-sidedness. The game includes an alternative version, Attraction, in which integration emerges from gameplay. One lesson is that even a relatively heavy dose of tolerance, a slight preference for one’s own kind aggregates to a collective segregation, what seems a group intolerance. In our alternative game, Attraction, integration often emerges despite that all individuals have only a mild attraction to difference. Passive tolerance itself is not enough. We have to actively welcome difference. A wonderful example are the signs spreading across the nation, “”No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.” Three languages: Spanish, English and Arabic.” The lesson we offer about tolerance not being enough is very focused on one point. This is a point that one can prove with a simple model: segregation can emerge even when no one wants it. Thus the board game Tolerance shows a pattern emerging that you would not expect based on the simple game rules. In this way the game introduces a practical application of emergence in complex systems and may offer some insight into an important social issue.
We also provide a computer model of the Tolerance board game. Our inspiration for the game was Schelling’s model of segregation (1971), so we provide a very brief example of that in this video and discuss this at some length in our rulebook. We also look at hypothetical applications of the model, such as to segregation by gender in classroom seating in this longer video.