Climate Change – the board game is a scientific board game created to show how climatic changes affect animal species over long periods of times (in the order of millions of years), leading to their migration, evolution or extinction. It has been designed based on the evolution of medium-large mammals and it is inspired by the research performed in the Evolutionary Ecology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge.

Each player is a species, living in a world where the climate may change every now and then. Every species has its own DNA and collects mutations through time, allowing it to adapt to new habitats.

This board game explores in a rigorous but simple way complex scientific concepts such as adaptation, evolution, speciation and extinction. In the near future, this website will contain additional material to help better understand the science behind the game. There is also the opportunity to explore the effects on animal species of the current human-induced climate changes with respect to the natural ones.

This game is for 2 to 5 players and is suitable for people aged 8 and older. The approximate duration is 30 minutes. It has been designed as an educational resource for schools, but can be played also with family or friends.

Playing in person

Climate change - the board game
Climate change – the board game

Everything needed to play Climate change – the board game can be printed from the files, included the species figurines and a die, that should be cut and glued. Of course, you can also create your own species figurines, or use anything you may find fit (my favourite options are Legos or pasta animals).

By clicking on the links, you will download the PDF files directly. All material has been designed to be colourblind safe and can be printed even in black and white without losing readability.

  • Habitat boards file (high resolution, can be printed up to A3): 5 boards + a blank one that can be hand-coloured and customised as needed.
  • Materials file: 5 species figurines (to be cut and glued), a die (to be cut and glued), cards, etc.
  • Rules file: rules on how to play

If you don’t have access to a printer you can easily hand-draw most of the material (see picture below). Boards are a bit more tricky, if you need to draw them I suggest to transform the cells into squares and then let species move into the 8 squares surrounding the occupied one.

Climate change - the board game, hand-drawn material
Climate change – the board game, hand-drawn material

Playing online

Thanks to the game developer Alessandro Crespi it is now possible to play Climate Change – the Board Game online (English version only) through the platform VASSAL. The instructions for playing online can be found here.

Additional material

We will soon publish in this website new material associated with the board game (quiz, alternative scenarios, scientific background, etc.).

If you want to receive updates as soon as we release new material, please sign in through this form and we will send you an email when new content is available. Please consider that we are not expecting to do so very often.


Author: Dr Michela Leonardi, Evolutionary Ecology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge.
Within the “Meet the experts” project, Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge.

Twitter: @MikLeonardi, @EEG_Cam, @ZoologyMuseum

Collaborators: Dr Eleanor Miller (1), Dr Gian Luigi Somma (1), Prof Elisa Anna Fano (2), Prof Andrea Manica (1), Dr Rosalyn Wade (3)

(1) Evolutionary Ecology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK.
(2) Department of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Ferrara, Italy.
(3) Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge

Portuguese/Brazilian: Dr Tiago Tresoldi (1)
Turkish: Nihan Dilşad Dağtaş (2)

(1) Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany
(2) Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Society of Turkey, Ankara, Turkey

Online module developer:
Alessandro Crespi

Fundings: ERC Consolidator Grant 647787 “LocalAdaptation”

Climate change the board game -  fundings

Climate Change – the board game, including all associated images and text have been published under a Creative Commons licence CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0.

Climate change the board game -  License 

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