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
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.
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.
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.
(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
(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:
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.
Web and media coverage
- Pikaia.eu (Italian website about evolution): “Climate Change – the board game” (in Italian)
- Blog of the Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge: “Climate change the board game“
- Oggiscienza.it: “Climate change: un gioco da tavolo sul cambiamento climatico“
- News from the University of Ferrara: “Climate change the board game: il gioco da tavolo su evoluzione e clima“
- Blog of Festival della cultura tecnica 2020: “‘Climate change’, il gioco da tavolo sul cambiamento climatico“
- ARPA Campania Ambiente n.10/2020 (May 2020): “I cambiamenti climatici in un gioco da tavolo”
- News of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Society of Turkey: Turkish version; English Version
- Comune di Ronco Briantino “Nel 50° anniversario della Giornata della Terra, quale è la tua impronta ecologica?“
- “Student resources” section in the webpage of Louise Nuijens, PhD