Understanding climate change through a board game

Games are a powerful mechanic for mental exploration and critical thinking.

Climate change is a global dilemma that is complex and incredibly challenging to understand, even for those who actively explore and think about the challenge as a part of their professional work.

Framing the issue and engaging with it in the form of playing with climate change in a board game might sound like a weird thing to do, but it does make a lot of sense if awareness and a deeper understanding of the dynamics involved is more desirable than simply kind of knowing that a problem exists 'somewhere out there'.

Writing for the MIT Technology Review, Casey Crownhart wrote about her experience playing the game Daybreak and the upcoming release of a new version of Catan called 'New Energies'.

Apart from the fun of playing a board game with other people - usually while scoffing snacks and quaffing bottles of beer - engaging with serious topics through the dynamic channel of a board game is a great way to personalise the experience of subject matter that may otherwise be mentally inaccessible because of our own unconscious biases.

Games are a powerful mechanic for mental exploration and critical thinking, one that is perhaps way too underutilised in the realm of change management and professional development. Along with topics like climate change, they can be used to simulate conditions and explore options for a number of complex themes that could include things like futures and innovation.

The time now seems right for them to be reclassified not just a child's toy, but as a powerful alternative frame for discovery.


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