I playtested the board game CarbonOpoly this week in the evening course "States and trends" that I take this term. The game is developed by a student at KTH, Patrik Larsson, and he has worked with the concept for two years. It is a labor of love and it is quite obvious he must have poured hundreds and hundreds of hours into this project. Here is the KTH press release from when the game was released earlier this year. Patrik's goal is to find a partner who can finance sending the game to all Swedish high schools. And then there is the rest of the world waiting (something Patrik is already working on).
The game does not really challenge your strategical or tactical skills, so it has limited replayability. You might play it a few times but that's probably about it. On the other hand, it does not try to maximize replayability as it rather aims to be a facts-based trivia game with questions in the fields of energy, sustainability and natural sciences. The goal is to make young people more interested in energy issues and perhaps make a few of them apply to a (technical) university education for a career in that field. The game is comparable to Trivial Pursuit, but I actually found the game mechanisms to be better than TP. Patrik's idea is to send out new packs of cards every year so that the questions stay current and are up-to-date, and this sounds like a really good idea.
As my friend and previous colleague Mats went to Fortum after he completed his ph.d. and started up and developed activities where they invite and "inform" high-school students about energy and about Fortum (including playing a board game), I asked Patrik for a copy of thegame. He couldn't give me one of the trial games then and there, but he promised that he could produce a copy of me. I promised to play the game with Mats and get back to Patrik with feedback in return. This blog post will be a reminder for me to get in touch with Patrik now and then until I get my copy of the game!
All 25 playtesters had lots of advice for Patrik and my most important advice (as a long-time board game geek) was to think about ways for players to interact more with each other within the game. If I can help or hinder another player to a higher extent, this will bring lots of feelings and passion to the game and it might be an important factor in making high school students play the game twice or three times (and go through all the questions), rather than just once. All in all I did find the game really enjoyable and I think it is a great way to challenge your energy-besserwisser-friends on a knowledge duel!
Last but not least, I will from now on try to end each blog posts with a question so as to entice you, my dear reader, to leave a comment and transform it into something different from the one-way channel it is at the present. My first question is thus: Would you like to play the game? With who and in what context?