Introducing Alissa for North Olania!
You find yourself managing a campaign on a shoestring budget, trying to keep a dozen balls from dropping while pushing your candidate and their issues successfully across the finish line. The long hours and late nights are hard enough to handle - and that's before your computer is rendered useless thanks to a ransomware attack, and your website is suddenly taken down. What could you have done to prevent this moment of crisis? And what can you do to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and safely move forward?
To help political and civic campaigns answer these questions (ideally before a crisis hits them in the real world), NDI has developed “Alissa for North Olania!”, a mobile-friendly, single player "choose your own adventure" game built on Twine. Set in the fictional campaign environment of North Olania, players take on the role of first-time presidential hopeful Alissa Orme’s campaign manager. Over the course of the game, they’re tasked with boosting Alissa’s popularity and raising funds to help her win the election, while preventing cybersecurity incidents from derailing the campaign.
Traditional digital security lessons often go unheeded. In-person training, online courses, and best practice manuals - even when perfect - frequently fall short of their ultimate learning objectives because of a disconnect between digital security and people’s daily priorities. “Alissa for North Olania!” is designed to bridge this disconnect by giving civic organizations, political campaigns, and others in the democracy arena an opportunity to experience (in the safety of a fictional gameplay environment) the “real world” connections and consequences of digital (in)security.
Free and easy to share, the game is well suited as an engaging, youth-friendly standalone exercise for individuals who lack exposure to basic digital security best practices, and can also be paired with follow-up training focused on translating increased awareness into tangible, sustainable risk mitigation.
We had fun designing (huge thanks to Dr. Katryna Starks for working with us to make the game a reality), user testing, and editing the game, and look forward to hearing your reviews! Check it out at https://games.demcloud.org/alissafornortholania.html and let us know what you think!