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[The Market] Climate change and fun

Key Takeaway: Want to learn about climate change in a fun and social way? Look no further: Resilience: Survive and Thrive is a new board game developed with government funding that teaches about the consequences of development on the environment, and how we can prevent negative damage and foster positive, integral growth instead.

The Philippines can become world-class in board and card games, I tell you.

Innovative ideas seem to be starting to spout from everywhere, some simply wanting to ensure its players have fun, others with a deeper social purpose. The latter includes The Think Game and Upstart, both of which I’ve already featured (and played) before. I also have my own deck of the card game Flirt, but I have actually yet to play it (no opportunity yet!). Furthermore, a fellow entrepreneur who joined me and the developer of Upstart at the BPI Sinag boot camp is also developing his own board game on disaster preparedness.

While I featured last week Upstart, which aims to help budding entrepreneurs by simulating startup incubation and operation, this week I’ll be featuring a board game that aims to help us deal with climate change: a very real threat to us today. In fact, very recently, NASA confirmed that a three-foot rise in sea level is inevitable – and I don’t think it’s stopping there.

Learning is most effective when we enjoy doing so, and how do we ensure enjoyment better than playing games? That’s what Resilience: Survive and Thrive aims to do when it comes to awareness and proactivity about climate change.

Balangay Entertainment (Facebook)

Balangay Entertainment (Facebook)

(Read: Rappler feature on Resilience)

Dubbed the “anti-Monopoly”, Resilience attempts to teach its players (3 to 4 of them, aged 10 and up) how to reconcile human and social development as well as environmental protection. Developed by the University of the Philippines’s Marine Science Institute in collaboration with local board game developer Balangay Entertainment, with funding from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the game’s object is to earn the highest number of “development points” via investments that can affect the shared in-game natural resources – for better or for worse. So-called “crisis cards” can strike, and the amount of development points determines how well each player takes the crises – if all the development points are destroyed, it’s game over for everyone.

The aforementioned investments are split into Commercial, Sustainable, or Conservation Investments; Commercial yields development points at the expense of a natural resource, Sustainable yields more development points the better the environmental situation is, and Conservation simply restores the environment. There is a part of the game called the Voting Phase where players, mirroring real-life democratic action, can vote to close down an investment – any kind. There is another feature of the game called Action Cards where players can take other players’ investments or protect their own.

In short, it’s meant to be a business simulation game, but one that takes the environment – an oft-overlooked but crucial stakeholder – into consideration.

A lot of us, especially children and even the elderly, love to play games in our spare time. But a significant number of those games do not have a social aspect to them, and instead focus on giving maximum enjoyment to their players – such as Clash of Clans, Candy Crush, Monopoly, or card games. Games with educational aspects, such as Scrabble, do intend for their players to learn by playing, but the social aspect is still quite not there. Games that raise social awareness, such as Resilience and Upstart, are thus hidden gems, and should be promoted more as they encourage consciousness and service.

Resilience has been in development since late last year, and as the traction for the game grows given its reception at UP, I invite you to support them by spreading the word and by answering this simple, one-question poll: it asks about your preferred price point (vis-Ă -vis the materials) for the commercialized sets.

With games like The Think Game, Upstart, and Resilience, let’s create a new culture of awareness and mindfulness about the consequences of our actions and our beliefs through fun ways and socializing therein.

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