An Inconvenient Game

Climate change is really bad. Even broaching the subject is difficult.

We want players to understand the impact they have on the environment and on each other, despite overwhelming odds and a seemingly relentless problem

So we created a co-op board game that balances bad behaviors and planet scale challenges against good strategy and people's personal super powers.

An Inconvenient Game

Project Duration: 4 weeks

Team Size: 5 people

Role: Testing, Mechanics/Dynamics, Balancing

The Premise

The Earth is dying. Climate change is causing irreversible shifts, and in 10 rounds the world will be destroyed. You are a team of researchers returning from deep space with atmospherium, a special element that will help cool the Earth and fix its atmosphere.


You and your team must race back to Earth, and work together to keep your rocketship moving forward and the atmospherium secure. But be warned that things happen on the ship and in deep space, and not all may survive the trip.


If you get back, use whatever atmospherium you have to cool the Earth. Keep moving, stay alive, and get the atmospherium to Earth.

Formal Design

We used the Mechanics, Dynamics, Aesthetics, and Outcomes framework to make sure that every single element in the game creates the right interactions between the players to make sure that they learn and stay engaged.

Basic Elements

All of the elements in the game try to create a sense of impending doom in the players that they need to overcome. The rising temperature, increasing difficulty, and random challenges are balanced by good behaviors, strategy, and a player’s personal super power. We tried to let any wins that the players get feel like accomplishments due to strategy rather than good fortune.


We tested over 10 times, and with different demographics within our target audience, including Matt Leacock (creator of Pandemic and the Forbidden Series). The final game works for 3 - 6 people ages 14+


We assessed 3 things during our playtests: fun, understanding, and remembering facts about climate change.

Yuri Zaitsev |