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[GDS] JANUARY 2014 "Big Ideas in Tiny Packages"

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richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009

We have a winner!

Climate Control

Can you power the world on clean fuel while avoiding climate catastrophe? Fully tabulated results will be posted in the comments and questions thread!

January 2014 Game Design Showdown - “Big Ideas in Tiny Packages”

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

Entries are in!

Take your time and read through this month's entries. There are a lots of them, but they each are a special flower and need your attention all the same.

Remember the voting criteria below, and submit your votes to mindspike by the end of the 15th!

Happy new year, everyone! It’s time to start 2014 off with what could be the toughest Game Design Showdown of our newly birthed year.

Games, as we know it, started as abstract competitions - perhaps with a lightly applied theme with carved pieces. Modern games with text and image heavy pieces are able to push a theme on the players much more effectively. And perhaps because of this, game and there themes have moved into the “meaningful” category.

Organizations like Values at Play and Tiltfactor seek to design games that use their fun to expose players to a new understanding of concepts from how illnesses spread to how wind spreads the seeds of genetically modified crops.

Your task this month is to create a game around the theme of fossil fuels and sustainable energy. The game’s design can illustrate concepts like the costs and benefits, the expanding need for energy, energy production capabilities of different regions, or any other facet you deem interesting and important.

You may use any mechanics and components that you wish in your design.

Remember that since you have 500 words you can use the space to describe the overall mechanics and “mouth-feel” of different parts of the game rather than give a full rule-book.

Now the standard details:

**Word Limit**: Standard 500 word

**Voting**: Award a Gold, Silver, and Bronze (worth 3,2, and 1 points respectively) Medals to your three favorite entries. Any entrant that does not award all three Medals will receive a Pyrite Medal (that's "Fool's Gold") worth -3 votes!

**When submitting your entry**: Please PM submissions to *richdurham* with the following subject line.

Subject: **GDS - JAN - [your username]**


  • Submissions: Wednesday the 1st through to Wednesday the 8th.

  • Voting: Through the 15th. PM your votes to mindspike.

  • Voting Format: Each person has 3 Medals (Gold, Silver, and Bronze - with values 3, 2, and 1 vote respectively) to distribute any way they choose among the GDS entries with the following restrictions:

    • Entrants may not assign any Medals to their own entry!
    • Entrants must assign all 3 Medals.
    • An entrant who does not assign all 3 Medals will receive a Pyrite Medal (-3 votes) as a penalty.
  • Comments or Questions: Comments and questions about this Challenge were handled on the Comments Thread.

  • CRITIQUES: After voting has closed the entries will be posted for comments and critiques. Post constructive critiques and commentary about the entries to this Challenge in the [Critiques Thread].

  • GDS Details: For more details on how these Game Design Showdown Challenges work, visit the GDS Wiki Page.

Enjoy, and good luck!

-Rich and Mindspike

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #1 Climate Control

Climate Control


Climate Control is a card game for 3-5 players. In in, players to try get sets of resource cards (such as Oil, Gas and Uranium) in order to build power plants that can be used to generate energy. Whoever produces the most energy by the time the draw pile runs out wins the game. However, fossil-fuel burning power plants (oil, gas & coal) also produce pollution when used. If at any time the global pollution level rises beyond a certain threshold, a climate catastrophe occurs and all players lose the game. Thus, players must weigh the allure of cheap energy against the health of the planet, a balance that shifts throughout the game.

Game Components

  • 100 resource cards, in the following denominations -- 24 Oil -- 20 Coal -- 16 Gas -- 16 Wind -- 16 Sun -- 8 Nuclear
  • 50 energy resource tokens
  • 1 pollution tracker (card & marker)

Game Setup

Deal each player 5 cards from the resource deck. Set the pollution tracker to 0.

Turn Structure

  1. Draw a card.
  2. Trade up to 1 card with another player (optional).
  3. If you have a set of 4 resource cards, you may build a power plant. Place one of the cards face-down in front of you to represent the plant, and move the other three to the discard pile face-down.

Once all players have taken a turn, each player has the opportunity to produce energy from their power plants. Plants produce the following amounts of energy: - Oil: 3 - Coal: 2 - Gas: 2 - Wind: 1 - Sun: 1 - Nuclear: 3

However, some plants also produce pollution in the following amounts: - Oil: 2 - Coal: 3 - Gas: 1 - Wind: 0 - Sun: 0 - Nuclear: 0

Players choose which plants to use by turning them face-up. A countdown from 10 is instigated, after which players must stop touching their cards.

Then, energy and pollution is generated simultaneously from face-up cards. If this production pushes the pollution tracker above 40, all energy is discarded and all players lose.

Game End

The game stops at the end of the round when the last card is drawn from the resource deck. All players have a chance to produce energy one last time, and then each players totals their energy. The winner is the player with the most energy.

Thoughts & Aims

I want to try and encompass many aspects of the energy debate into a card game simple enough to be played by a wide range of people. Early in the game players will hopefully feel the allure of bountiful fossil-fuels, but later they become a burden as players argue over who uses their polluting plants. More sustainable energy sources start the game as near-worthless, but as that pollution tracker creeps forward their guilt-free energy makes more and more sense. I hope you enjoyed reading my entry!

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #2 - Energy Drafters

TITLE: Energy Drafters

Introduction In Energy Drafters 3-5 players will use a card drafting with some conditions to make sure they collect enough energy for the people of their town, getting the best Energy cards they’re able to. They’ll have to choose if getting more now with Fossil energy or plan for more points later with Renewable energy.

Components 10 cards for each Fossil Energy type (Coal, Oil, Gas) 5 cards for each available Renewable Energy type (Wind, Sun, Waves, Water) 20 Renewable Energy Center cards, five for each type of Renewable Energy.

Setup of first round Shuffle the deck of 50 - Fossil and Renewable - energy cards. Each player is dealt 3 energy cards.

Turn description The player chooses only one of the following: 1) Put a Fossil card from their hand to the area in front of him. 2) Every player that has got an Energy Center of a certain type (e.g. Wind), can put a Renewable Energy card from the hand to the area in front of him. 3) The players that haven’t collected energy this way, can then choose one of the Energy Center cards and put it in front of them. Then everyone passes the remaining cards in their hands to the player to the left. After three turns, the round is over and energy points for the round are counted.

Counting Energy Points for the round For each Fossil energy card a player has collected in the round he collects one point. For each set of more than one card of the same type of Fossil energy that the player collects he gets N points, where N is the size of that set. For each type of Renewable energy the player gets 1 point for the first card of that type, 2 points for the second, and so on… The Energy centers score no point.

Preparing following round The cards that were still in the hands of the players and the Fossil energy cards that were collected move to the discard pile. The Energy centers and the Renewable Energy cards remain in front of the players that collected them and count for the following rounds. Each player is dealt 3 new energy cards from the deck of remaining cards. The new round begins.

End of game After three rounds the game is over and who’s got the most energy points is the winner of the game.

Final Thoughts I think improvements can be made in the scoring field, and that with more time, more complex conditions could be set in the rules to make the Energy Centers more complex and fun. But as it is it's already fast and fun and shows the difference between renewable energies and those that are going to waste.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #3 - Frack


This is a general feel of the game rather than a ruleset:

This is a game that takes place in “small town USA” as depicted on a board. The board shows a central town, and outlying farms, which the players control. Each farm has a few land spaces around it that will be put to use during game play for crops and livestock or various energy production means.

The center of town is where event cards are played, events that represent the kinds of things that happen to small towns that end up putting pressure on it like drops in crop prices, factories closing down, natural disasters, mega-stores opening, etc.

As these events occur each round the players, as members of the town’s community, will vote on one of the options presented by the event. Options are influenced by Tragedy of the Commons type decisions - communalizing costs while privatizing profits. Since all players are part of the “community” their decisions will have social ramifications if votes (which are secret) lean towards private profit at the degradation of the land.

The events are one of the driving factors of this game, since it is a simulation of the social and economic pressures living in small-town-USA.


Along with a decision point, the events also determine crop/herd prices and and a modifier to crop harvests for each plot of land.

Economically, players will contribute to the town coffers (used to deal with community effects) as well as develop their own land to support their families. This income is affected by how they use the land surrounding their farm. As the game goes and pressures mount, players will need likely need more money than they can produce with crops and livestock.

There will be a side market where players can sell plots of their land to energy companies so they can drill (frack) for fuel or build solar/wind farms. Fracking pays A LOT, wind and solar don’t. The Fracking market price goes up as more land is sold, but the wind and solar payout stays flat. This is to encourage players to Frack as the game goes on.

However, during each event, the more Fracking locations there are, the higher the chance for accidents or polluted groundwater. These effects do things like:

  • cost the town money
  • ruin surrounding land for crops
  • reduce crop production.
  • cause costly health issues for a player’s “family” they need to pay for

Game end

The game will end when the town goes bankrupt (everyone loses), or if a player’s family dies due to poor health caused by pollution. At that point the game is scored according to:

  • How much money the player can produce from crops/livestock each turn.
  • Farm improvements (they all score points, except for selling land for Fracking - that’s just lots of money)
  • Family Health level
  • Minus the amount of pollution accumulated
  • The amount of actual money they have doesn’t matter. That’s used to improve things.
richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #4 - Time Capsules

You are a terminally ill energy technology entrepreneur with one year to arrange your affairs before entering a cryogenic capsule to await a cure.

How do you make the world you will wake in better than the one you leave? Do you solve world problems before being frozen? Or create foundations to work while you sleep? Do you wait for the exact moment when you get the right solution or do you apply all your resources to dilemmas as they appear?

3 Decks – Dilemma, Remedy and Foundation

A Continent for each player
Central Global Effects space holds 8 cards
Turn track - 12 months

Information on each card type:

Danger Rating of 4-12
3 Remedies to match

Remedy Value of 1-5
3 Dilemmas to match
1 Snowball Effect Dilemma
1 Unintended Consequence Dilemma

Remedy Value of 3-10
3 Dilemmas to match
Unique Completion Time

8 Dilemmas in Global Effects
8 Remedies, $20,000,000 per player

Each player’s monthly turn –

Fill empty Dilemma Card spaces in Global area
Income 2D6 * $1,000,000

Draw 1 Foundation Card and 3 Remedy Cards
Buy Foundation Cards for $10,000 each (Max 3)
Buy Remedy Cards; 1=$10,000, 2=$50,000, or 3=$250,000
~or Recycle hand and draw 8 new Remedy Cards

Move some Dilemmas from Global Effects onto your own continent. Some can’t be moved.

Play none, any or all Remedy Cards
Pay cost to play Remedy onto matching Dilemma. All players may contribute.

When Remedy Value exceeds Danger Value, retire the Dilemma and recycle other cards. Remedies remain through subsequent turns until Dilemma is retired.

Pay cost and play Foundation on Dilemma on one’s own continent.

Small victories inflame the imagination, creating a wave of innovation. Beware crushing disillusionment.

Each Remedy has a unique Snowball Effect Dilemma. When this Remedy is played on its matching Dilemma all players may immediately play any Remedies, regardless of matching, at no cost. DURING THIS PLAYER’S TURN if the Danger Value is reached retire this Dilemma. If not, the Dilemma remains on the board, recycle all cards on it.

Down to 8 cards in hand

After December begin SLEEP phase.

Dilemmas reduced to a Danger Value less than 4 are mitigated. Leave on board with its accompanying cards.

Remove Remedies from unmitigated Dilemmas. Hold as Unintended Consequences.

Foundation with the shortest Completion Time starts-
For each Foundation look for any matching Vulnerability Dilemma on board
+ Roll 2D6 and multiply by 10
Minus Dilemma’s remaining Danger Value
Minus Foundation Completion Time
+1 for $50,000,000, up to +3

POSITIVE - Apply as Remedy
ZERO – Apply as Half Value Remedy
NEGATIVE - Remove Foundation

Match Unintended Consequences to Dilemmas. Discard if no match. Matching Remedies now add to Danger Level.


Lowest continent Danger Value tally wins

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #5 - Nuclear Meltdown

Nuclear Meltdown

The use of nuclear energy was once seen as the solution to the energy crisis. But when something goes wrong, it really goes wrong. The use of nuclear energy is a hot topic following Fukushima. This game takes a look at nuclear energy through the eyes of the worst nuclear accidents in history (including Chernobyl, Fukushima, 3 Mile Island, etc.) Players will be faced with situations similar to the ones that lead to these famous catastrophes. Players will also see how greed can make a safe energy, unsafe.


Board game -has a picture of a nuclear power plant with three silos (representing reactors) and three concentric circles around the power plant (representing radiation contamination). The silos also have a meter for danger level.

Cards are split into two parts (top half / bottom half), one for each phase of the game. In the first phase, players can play cards to gain victory points (which also raise the danger level). In the second phase of the game, players can use cards to contain radiation after a nuclear meltdown (which costs victory points). Finally, there are also maintenance cards that can be played during the first phase. These cards do not gain victory points, but will lower the danger level on one silo.

Game Play:

Players start by secretly selecting a silo that they are invested in. (If this survives, they will receive extra victory points). Players also will take 5 cards from the draw pile.

Phase 1: Operations

Players will choose a card from their hand and place it face down on one of the silos. When all the players have chosen a card and silo, the cards are revealed and the affects are applied. Players will take victory points, and increase / decrease danger levels according to the cards played. Players will also take one new card before the next round.

The cards are balanced - cards that are worth more victory points also increase the danger level more. They are also better cards for clean up. So players need to make decisions on how to use the cards (reflecting factors leading to famous nuclear disasters).

If players complete the deck without a meltdown, the player with the most victory points wins.

Phase 2: Meltdown

When one of the silos reaches 100% danger level, it goes into meltdown.

At this point, all players must reveal their hands and play with their cards face-up. In each round, players can use a card from any other player to contain and clean up the mess (simulating how governments and foreign agencies step in during disasters). For each card played, the level of radiation is reduced and victory points are taken from the owner of the card played. When radiation levels reach the safe zone, the game is over.

Players tally up their remaining victory points and the player with the highest score wins.

Note: This game can also take on the theme of offshore drilling and oil spills.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #6 - Climate Economics

Climate Economics

Players take the role of countries trying to grow their Economies (which generate Money each turn) through Energy produced by Power Plants (Coal, Oil, Nuclear, Solar, Wind, Hydro). Generating more Energy increases your Economy, while not generating enough Energy shrinks your Economy.

Each country is made up of different Geographies (Mountains, Flatlands, Coastal, Rivers, Desert), which define the types of Resources (Coal, Oil, Uranium) that can be found and the types of Power Plants that can be supported. Some Power Plants generate Pollution (P), which contributes to increases in Climate Level. Higher Climate Levels increase the likelihood of harmful Climate Events (such as tornadoes on Flatlands or hurricanes on Coasts), which cost Money, shrink Economies, or may trigger Nuclear Disasters.

During their turns, players spend Money generated from their Economies to Search for new Resources, Extract or Refine those Resources, Build Power Plants, Research Power Plant improvements, or Trade money, Resources, or Energy between one another.

The goal is to achieve a target Economy, without destroying the world.


Coal and Oil Plants are the cheapest, but have ongoing costs for Extracting (Oil / Coal) and Refining (Oil). Operating these generates Pollution, and requires access to finite Resources.

Nuclear Plants have a higher build cost, but have the greatest output per Resource (Uranium). Pollution is generated only from Extraction and Refinement of Uranium, but not from its operation. These are at risk of Nuclear Disasters if impacted by Climate Events (making the associated Geography unusable).

Plants requiring Resources (Coal, Oil, Nuclear) are best used in early game where the consequences less likely to be realized, but may need to be replaced later on.

Solar, Hydro and Wind Plants have the highest initial cost, and relatively lower output, but do not create any Pollution when operated, and do not require Resources to operate.

Money spent on Research helps everybody, lowering the initial cost and improving the output of the associated Power Plants. Players may work together to focus Research.

Players may work to prevent Pollution by others, by not trading Resources with them (to prevent them from operating), or performing more Search actions to gain control of finite resources earlier in the game. Players may hold their controlled Resource reserves until late game, when the Resource may be more scarce, and fetch a better price.

With enough Money put into Research for renewable power sources, Solar, Wind, and Hydro become a better investment. Players may balance the higher initial cost with the long term payout of these Power Plants, which only get better over time.

Players may purposely generate Pollution, or hold ransom other players with the threat of doing so, in exchange for Money or promises of Energy or Research.

Nuclear Plants have the best price to energy output, but have the risk of Nuclear Disasters if impacted by a Climate Event. Players may risk intentionally contributing to Climate Change to put Nuclear Plant focused players at greater risk, or alternatively hedge their bets with a Nuclear powered country.

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Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #7 - Power the Galaxy

Power the Galaxy

You are one of many space colonists sent out to secure goods for planet earth. As Chief Power Advisor to the newly formed planetary colony you must manage resources to meet the power needs of the colony. Each planet has a distinct set of resources available that must be utilized efficiently to maximize the colonies production of goods for earth.


  1. Planetary colony keys which are literally a base of operations and have several areas:

    • A depiction of the planet with name and flavor text describing it
    • An image of the colony for meeples to live in
    • List of starting resources, goods, and a PMD
    • Icons of available renewable power resources
    • A limited number of spaces for installed PMDs.
  2. Event cards are helpful or hurtful depending on your luck.

  3. Meeples, all of one color
  4. Resource Tokens

    • Nonrenewable power sources
    • Fossil Fuels, black oil barrel
    • Nuclear Fuels, green radioactive symbol
    • Chemical Fuels, orange flask
    • Renewable power sources
    • Biomass Fuels, brown log pile
    • Hydro, blue meeple tear
    • Solar, yellow sun icon on planetary colony keys
    • Wind, white swirl icon on planetary colony keys
    • Geothermal, red flame icon on planetary colony keys
  5. Goods tokens, tan crate

  6. Power module design (PMD) cards have:

    • A rendering of the module
    • A cost to build
    • An upkeep cost of resources and/or goods
    • A decommissioning cost or bonus


Each player takes a single random planet key and then the listed starting resources, goods & PMD listed on their planetary colony key.

How to Play

The game is composed of multiple stages with multiple rounds. Each stage uses a different set of event and PMD cards. Every round consists of several phases as follows:

1. Events

Players draw and then play an event card.

2. Population & Resource Growth

Every colony population increases by adding meeples and certain renewable resources grow.

3. Research

Players draw three of the appropriate PMDs.

4. Action

Players are free to build or decommission PMDs and trade resources, goods, meeples, and/or PMDs.

5. Score

The round ends and each player’s power generation and needs are tallied to producing goods.

  1. Upkeep costs on each built PMD must be paid in order for it to produce power
  2. The total power from each PMD is distributed to the colony population (through various sound effects)
  3. Goods are produced by each meeple, with a bonus for satisfying the whole colony population.

End of the Game

When the last round ends the player with the most goods wins.


Each player will have a unique situation and benefit from trading to maximize efficiency. Ultimately the nonrenewable resources will run out must be replaced by renewable resources. Renewable power sources are cost prohibitive in the beginning but pay off in the long run.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #8 - National Interest

National Interest

A strategic Euro-Style game for 3-6 players

Players take the role of one of six countries selling oil to the world marketplace (The United States, Brazil, Venezuela, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia), each with unique techs, bonuses, and starting situations.

Players purchase oil rigs in their country or others’ (with their consent, and for a bribe – creating player interaction)

Each oil field has only a certain number of “barrels” of oil that may be mined in total, varying from field-to-field. Wells are useless when mined dry.

Players may have as many oil rigs as they can afford, but again, they dry up. Only one “barrel” of oil is mined per turn per rig.

Each turn, players must meet a national demand for oil (unique to each nation), or they can’t sell to the world market (they still lose oil that can be paid).

There is a certain amount of “World Demand” for oil, determined each turn by a provided chart (word limit prevents me from including it). The game is designed to run out of available domestic oil, forcing players to expand outside their own borders, look to deep-ocean drilling, or research alternative energy sources (explained later) because later turns have higher “World Demand”.

Each turn, there is a given value of “World Demand”, which is split among the players according to how many barrels of oil they’re willing to sell. ---For example, Player One is selling three barrels of oil on turn four. The World Demand for oil on turn 4 is 300 moneys, and the players are selling a total of ten barrels of oil that turn. All players are going to each receive 30 moneys/barrel at the selling phase. ---Now, say that player one decides not to sell his three barrels that turn. The total number of sold barrels that turn is now 7, so each player is now going to receive 42 moneys per barrel (I’m always rounding down, and 300/7 is 42.857. In essence, this means a high supply reduces price). ---This encourages strategic thinking as players decide to turn in oil for money so they can mine more, or to hold off and see whether they can snag a bigger selling phase.

Nations can research technologies that grant extra “barrels” from a mine, alternative energy that reduces national demand (wind, nuclear, biodiesel, solar, etc.), increase productivity of a rig, or use international pressure to steer the market. These could lead to potentially high rewards, since oil will run out and the “World Demand” will be very high at the end of the game.

At the end of each turn, an event card is played that affects the game for the coming turn, such as embargoes on middle eastern oil, hippies prevent Alaskan mining, benefits to those researching alternative energy, bear cavalry in Russia, War in the Middle East (Iran can remove your rig unless you pay an oil), etc.

Ending money or VP determines the winner.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #9 - Mines a wasting


Mine resources and produce clean energy while avoiding pollution.


The objects is to score 100 production points first by offsetting pollution with good choices.


Deck of Power Cards containing worker cards, production cards (elevator, oil well, gas pump), transportation cards (railroad for coal, oil tanker truck for oil, pipeline for gas), action cards (allow player to enhance scoring or sabotage opponent’s play)

  • The worker cards have a mining number 0, 1 or 2.
  • The production cards also have a mining number ½, 1 or 2
  • The transportation cards number 1, 2,3 or 4 on them.
  • Action cards are modifiers that affect how much can be produced or scored (ie Breaker Modernization adds one extra resource to produce each turn, Pollution cards reduce number of points scored by transporting resources,etc)
  • Deck of resource cards contains dirt, coal, oil and natural gas.
  • Set of bid cards 1,2,3,4 for each player
  • Scoreboard with 100 spaces and pawn for each board.
  • Twenty colored markers, three for each player up to five players.


Each player takes gets a scoreboard, pawn starting on the 0, three matching markers and set of bid cards. Resource cards are shuffled and dealt into eighteen piles by alternately dealing 1, 2 and 3 cards onto the piles so that each ends up with a different number of cards. These represent unexplored mines. Action Cards are shuffled and five cards are dealt face down to each player with remaining pack placed face down where all can reach.

Basic turn each player does this:

  1. Draws one card.
  2. May perform up to two actions per turn.

    a. Actions include:

    1. Winning an auction on mine to secure rights
    2. Play 1 action card
    3. Mining 1 or more resource cards from a resource pile based on abilities
    4. Releasing a mine
  3. Scoring energy output

  4. Discards back down to five cards.

General Play is that players begin by bidding on mines to secure them. Once they secure the mine by winning an auction using the bidding cards, the mine is available for development. The player through subsequent actions can add workers to speculate (preview the cards in the mine to know what production equipment are needed to mine the resources), production cards (to actually use the resources) and transportation cards to secure the points to win the game.

Cards are mined based on abilities of equipment and modifiers created by action cards (ie cards can enhance production or may be played by other players to hamper production such as pollution cards). These are also played as actions. A player can also release a mine if they don't have the right equipment to mine it to save time since equipment and production cards are drawn from the action deck.

Scoring is done by adding up points of transported materials subtracting pollution modifiers, etc.

The winner is the one who reaches 100 points of resources.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #10 - From Oil to Wind

From oil to wind


  • Create awareness that fossil fuels are non-renewable resources
  • Inform which activities and devices cost a lot of energy
  • Promote sustainable energy is the future


Western World, and other growing economies.


The game is one A4 which can be printed in magazines and make available on websites as pdf to print and play. People only have to add one dice, a pawn per player and 8 small coins.
App-version is entirely possible.


The game should appeal to many and therefore be as simple as possible. Kids (8+) are special target. Throw the dice, move pawn forward on a single trail, and perform actions on the trail. The first player to finish two rounds wins.

Each player uses fossil fuel or sustainable energy. It is possible to switch during the game. Every player starts using fossil fuel.
All dice results (1-6) are shown in a table for both types of energy. Fossil energy starts with coins on result 1 and 2. Sustainable energy starts with coins on 3 to 6. After rolling the dice player look in the table for their energy type. A coin on their dice result means that there is no energy available, and their turn is over.

Decreasing fossil fuel is done by shifting one coin upwards, or adding a new coin on value 1 (if it is without coin). After the first shift coins, will be on 1 and 3.
Increasing sustainable energy is done by shifting one coin downward; or removing the coin on 1. After the first shift, coins will be on 2, 4, 5 and 6.
There is a maximum of 4 coins per energy type.

Players take turn clockwise. They roll the dice and if their value is available, for their energy type, they move their pawn forward. The pawn can end on four types of squares:

  • Fossil fuel disaster (oil ship sinks). The player decreases fossil fuel energy by one.
  • Fossil fuel option (holiday by plane). If the player uses sustainable energy, nothing happens. If the player uses fossil fuel, he may take the option. He first decreases fossil fuel by one, and then throws again. If the value is available, he may move again. Otherwise his turn is over.
  • Sustainable energy success (government opts for new windmill park). The player increases sustainable energy by one.
  • Sustainable energy option (switch to green energy). Only available for players who use sustainable energy. They may increase sustainable energy by one, and throw again.

Important: if a player wants to switch from fossil fuel to sustainable energy, he can only do so instead of moving forward! This means players cannot switch if they have thrown a number without energy. Players switching too late to sustainable energy might be stuck for several turns.

Players are encouraged to discuss the choices they make. Game is suited for 1 to many players. More players means fossil fuel runs out faster! Instructive.

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #11 - Parallel U - Fossil Fuels

Parallel U - Fossil Fuels

Parallel U is a game system of competing alternate histories. Each player takes control of pivotal nodes in history to guide their version of Earth to a more ideal outcome than the other players. Each game is rich in historical detail that allow weaving how the world is where it is and what might be changed.

In Fossil Fuels players take control of their alternate Earths at 1850 and guide it through to 2050. The winner is determined by victory points through a combination of best carbon load, population, control of key moments, wealth, and other bonuses.

The Play

The game consists of a deck of historically relevant nodes which are historical figures, big events, and political decisions. Each round (decade) players bid on historically available nodes with the winner having the option of putting it into play or in some cases removing it from the multiverse. Nodes not purchased will be available for their default enabling.

Historical figures have default discoveries available to each alternate history with additional or alternative discoveries available to the controller. They also contribute to resources available for purchasing changes. Historical figures are buried when they reach the decade of their death.

Changes are available through technology trees with different dependencies. Some have environmental impacts but generate wealth or population, e.g. coal powered factories enable much wealth but generates bad carbon load.

If a decade goes poorly for a player, they have the option of losing access to a future decade to redo the full decade with them as first player.

Resource include wealth, science, humanity, and productivity.

May the deftest hand's universe prosper.

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Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #12 - Enner-jeez


The object of Enner-jeez is to find the best application of technology and equipment to series of randomly generated "worlds" under specific scientific and public opinion conditions.


World Deck (80 Cards)

Each card represents a terrain type: field, crops, animal farm, forest, desert, ocean, pasture, river, mountain, town, city, volcano, seashore, ice shelf, landfill, etc.

Tech and Equipment (TaE) Deck

One for each player - all identical. TaE Card Types:

  • energy "extraction" or "production" cards: windmills, nuclear power plants, geothermal extraction devices, turbines, solar collectors, oil rigs/derricks, biomass processors, gas wells, mines, etc.
  • energy transport cards: high tension wires, gas pipelines, underground electrical lines, insulated water lines, etc.
  • energy delivery cards: power stations, etc.

TaE Card Attributes:

  1. Energy Production Value (EPV)
  2. Social Acceptance Value (SAV)
  3. Condition modifier (CM): An adjustment based on adjacent TaE and/or World cards. For example, a Biomass Processing Station card played next to a River world card might be assigned an SAV penalty due to fear of waste runoff.
  4. Applicability modifier (AM): An adjustment based on the type of World Card this card is played upon.

Social and Scientific Conditions (SaSC) Deck

Cards in this deck describe some information that carry a scoring impact if a player used certain TaE cards in their solution For example, a High Fear of Nuclear Meltown card could assess a scoring penalty for any player using a nuclear reactor as a power source. These cards also carry a Global Knowledge Sharing (GKS) penalty value.

Game Phases

  1. Setup and World Creation

    1. The world deck is shuffled and 16 cards are drawn and placed face-up in the center of the table in a 4x4 square. This is the "world" for this turn.
    2. The SaSC deck is shuffled. Each player is given one SaSC card which they can look but not yet disclose to other players.
    3. One SaSC card is drawn and placed face-up next to the world.
  2. Planning Phase

    1. Each player looks at the SaSC card they were given and decides whether to show the card now or at the start of the Scoring phase. Any SaSC cards to be shown now are placed face-up next to the world.
    2. All players are given a fixed period of time to plan which TaE cards to play on which world cards.
    3. Players place their solution face-down in front of them.
    4. The planning phase ends when the time expires. No adjustments are allowed after this.
  3. Scoring Phase

    1. Undisclosed SaSC cards are placed face-up next to the world and GKS penalties applied.
    2. Each player "plays" their solution. Score = EPV+SAV+CM+AM+(SaSC impacts) of played TaE cards.
    3. World cards are discarded, SaSC cards are shuffled back into the SaSC deck.
    4. Setup and World Creation Phase for the next turn.
  4. Game End

    1. When the World deck has been expended (5 turns), the highest cumulative score WINS!
richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
Entry #13 - Peak Oil

Peak Oil is an economic resource management game for 4-5 players where the choices that players make permanently impact the availability of resources in later games. Players invest in infrastructure, compete for resources, and attempt to predict an ever-changing supply of natural resources to try to fulfill unpredictable power demand. At the end of the ten rounds, the player with the most money wins, but the choices she made might leave her stuck the next time she plays!

Peak Oil employs a unique drafting mechanic: each round, players have three chances to draft from a single pool of roles, resources, and technology. Roles affect the choices players make later in the round, but selecting them early means giving up other choices. Additionally, legacy mechanics ensure that the players’ choices dramatically change the landscape of future games. Players who provide power via consumable resources must permanently rip up the cards they use. At the end of the game each player signs one of her power plants - she’ll start with it next game.

What’s in the Box?
The resource deck has only 5 types of cards — sun, wind, coal, oil, and nuclear material.

The tech deck is composed of power plants of the same 5 types. Each plant is unique, and has 4 levels of upgrade. During the game, players upgrade plants they own by crossing off the current upgrade level with a marker, permanently changing the card. Early upgrade levels require small amounts of fuel to produce power, and higher levels require more fuel to produce larger amounts of power. High-level plants can result in not being able to provide the minimum required fuel. Each level also displays the number of consumed fuel resources that are destroyed when used.

The five role cards are special actions that the players can draft instead of tech or resources. They are: “Batteries - save your unused wind and sun resources for next round,” (which cannot otherwise be saved) “Surplus - take 3 resources for your next action,” “Efficiency - provide Blue Die fewer power to meet demand this round,” and two copies of “Upgrade - cross off the current level on any of your plants.”

The 3 different dice are used in specific combinations to semi-randomly determine the power demand at the end of each round.

Money is given out for being able to provide power that meets the demand. Players who meet the round’s demand receive one token for each power supplied.

Peak Oil is named for the widely supported theory that civilization has already harvested the majority of the Earth’s oil reserves, and that the year of peak oil production already occurred in 2000. Each year sees fewer barrels of produced oil, due to decreased natural availability. Through its permanently decreasing reserves of consumable fuel cards, Peak Oil conveys the value that consumption of fossil fuels is economically and socially unsustainable; but the solution isn’t an immediate switch: sustainable energy technologies must be developed to shoulder the burden.

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