Péter Kristóf Makai
Linnaeus University/Independent Scholar
“Climate Change on Cardboard: Ecological Eurogames”
The article examines how climate change has been simulated in modern hobby boardgaming. It argues that, like other playful media, board games are an important vehicle for the communication of the scientific principles behind climate change because learning and applying the rules of the game imply a tacit acceptance of the logic of climate change, and the players’ agency activate problem-solving skills that highlight the social and political aspects of climate change action. The article investigates four board games, 20th Century, CO2: Second Chance, Rescue Polar Bears: Data and Temperature, and Keep Cool, including modifications to the original rules of CO2, to demonstrate the wealth and breadth of representing how human actions factor into the current climate crisis. Methodologically, the author merges theories from game studies and science communication to highlight how playful mechanisms can elucidate the abstract, sometimes barely perceptible changes of the climate to lay players.