This in-person game helped to select the initial set of strategies that would later become the 35 strategies included in the Plan Bay Area 2050 Final Blueprint.

The objective of the Transform-the-Future exercise was for small groups to develop a package of strategies that would respond to the challenges identified via each of the three Futures developed from the Create-a-Future game.

In a series of public workshops in March 2019, MTC and ABAG planners engaged with Bay Area residents, partners and elected officials to gather their visions for the future and their policy priorities for the Bay Area. Groups of eight participants were formed to solve the challenges in one of the three Futures. Using finite resources, as measured in points), groups “purchased” strategies to address a challenge to help improve their Future from a set of 44 strategies. The strategies were organized by the Guiding Principles—now fundamental to Plan Bay Area 2050—they most directly addressed: affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant. The game continued until all the points were spent.

The goals of the Transform-the-Future game were to:

  1. Learn about the challenges and opportunities for each Future.
  2. Learn about a suite of possible strategies to improve each Future.
  3. Share which strategies participants thought would best address each challenge and most improve their assigned Future.

To learn more about the Transform-the-Future game or to discuss its relevance to your organization’s scenario planning process, please contact Michael Germeraad at


  1. Board - There were three different five-foot diameter game boards, each with the same layout. Each version of the board displayed unique information on a single Future, based upon the Futures Interim Report.
  2. Strategy Booklet - Each player had a strategy booklet to reference descriptions and possible impacts of the 44 different strategies. The booklet also summarized some of the information displayed on the board.
  3. Game PieceAt the start of the game each player chose a cube game piece that they used for the remainder of the game.
  4. Points - During the game participants used points to purchase strategies. In the back of the Strategy Booklet, points cards were provided, which were based on the available financial resources projected in each Future.
  5. Selected Pins - The facilitator held onto selected pins that marked the strategies purchased during the game.

Transform-the-Future has four main steps that repeat until all points are spent:

  1. Choose a Principle One by one, each player places their game piece on the principle they think requires the most action. The principle with the most game pieces is where the group will focus during step 2. At the start of the game, players can use the information on the board to inform their choice. As the game progresses, players could consider how previously selected strategies may alter where attention is needed.
  2. Choose a StrategyFocusing only within the principle determined in Step 1, players can propose to purchase a strategy listed under that section. Other players can make counter proposals. The facilitator will use their best judgement to determine where there is the greatest agreement and move the single strategy with the greatest support to Step 3.
  3. Buy the StrategyWhichever strategy was chosen is purchased with points. Those who were supporters of the strategy should be early funders of the strategy. Once the facilitator collects the points, a Selected Card is placed next to the strategy on the board.
  4. Repeat!
    1. Participants go back to Step 2, this time focusing on the principle with the second most game pieces.
    2. After the top two principles have had strategies selected, participants go back to Step 1 and repeat the entire process.
  5. Game End The game ends when the group runs out of points to purchase strategies. As one final step, each player is given 30 seconds to place their game piece next to the single strategy they believe is most important to improving the Future.