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Changing the game

21 October, 2022

As we all scrabbled to work out how to put an end to COVID, some that could stomach it turned to the boardgame, Pandemic. This was partly as some light (-ish) relief from actual events but also as an engaging way to understand more about deadly viruses and how we can stop them. 

Now, the creator of Pandemic is replicating the same idea by creating a collaborative board game where players work to protect the world from a different deadly threat: climate crisis.  

Although Daybreak isn’t out yet, the concept itself is very interesting. The challenge of reducing such a complex set of dynamics into a game that reflects reality but is approachable is no easy task. This task effectively involves modelling these dynamics – things like climate tipping points, climate financing, energy transitions and international cooperation – and turning them into a game that works.  

Inevitably, this is fascinating process and the creators’ blog makes for a great read. The creators had to deal with some of the weighty questions of our time such as what ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ mean in the context of a climate crisis, how you can foster cooperation when people are dealt different hands, and how to overcome humans’ psychological biases in decision making to get them to work together

Aside from it being an interesting undertaking, we think the game itself will be powerful too. Although people largely understand the need for climate action, conversations tend to be oriented around personal actions to reduce carbon footprints, or the scary reports about our collective fate. There’s an important place for these but having meaningful conversations about how we can collectively manage climate change can be really trick. But using the medium of a board game and putting people in positions of power – at least for a couple of hours – can bring the conversation into people’s living rooms in an engaging way.. 

Training for managing climate change through a game? Game on, we say. 

By Patrick Bapty

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