[CHALLENGE] Open source board game about the circular economy


OSCEdays Chennai will focus on developing a board game that children (and adults) can use to learn about the circular economy. The emphasis will be on making gameplay interesting and educational, using elements familiar to players from their local environments. While the event will deal with challenges unique to India, we hope to end up with an adaptable game that can be customized to incorporate local challenges and opportunities anywhere in the world.


We are group of environment conscious artists, engineers, architects, graphic designers and teachers. We have come together to organize this event as a participatory session with the local community, and have invited citizens and experts to join us. We decided to make this game, as quality learning aids that are fun and informative are hard to come by in Indian schools, especially in ones serving disadvantaged communities. Our attempt is the beginning of a longer process of continuous collaboration, to improve the quality of environmental education available to youngsters, and thereby encourage better stewardship of our planet.

The Challenge

Environmental education in Indian schools is often restricted to lessons in textbooks. These lessons are little more than lists of what is allowed and what isn’t:

“Throw the garbage in the bin”

“Use both sides of your sheet of paper for writing”

“Do not cut trees”

In a country where local environmental challenges vary widely in scale and intensity, we believe introducing children (and adults) to the advantages of a circular economy, using elements familiar to them from their everyday life, will have a lasting impact. We want to show what happens after the garbage is thrown in the bin, or the paper is written and discarded. Bringing to light the systems that support our daily life, and how making them circular systems results in a win-win situation, will encourage players to start making small lifestyle changes that are relevant to their unique local settings.

Adaptability to local environmental conditions is a key focus area for our work. A teacher, whether in a village outside Chennai or in a neighbourhood in New Delhi, should be able to make their own version of the game, by building up from the material we develop and share on the common online platform. Harnessing recyclable and discarded materials to build the actual game, and involving players in continuously hacking the game as it is played, are other important goals we have.


We will begin our daylong session with a short review of board games that the participants are used to. Both traditional and modern board games, familiar to children in India, will be discussed to identify aspects that could make our new game both fun and educational.

Participants will then continue as a large group, or split up into smaller groups (depending on number), to work on specific aspects of the game. We will have an initial prototype ready by the end of the session, and may even get to test it by inviting children from the neighbourhood to play with us.

After the event, the game will be documented and shared online for further development by the global community. Our team at OSCEdays Chennai will also work on testing it in local classrooms and refine it over the coming months.

Resources & Media

We plan to create a game that is based on cooperation, to show players that all of us need to come together to solve local environmental challenges. http://boardgames.about.com/od/cooperativegames/tp/Best-Cooperative-Games.htm

Call for Help

We are looking for inspiration. We are not aware of any Indian board game, which has attempted to teach young learners about caring for the environment. It would be great to get such examples from elsewhere.

Anybody who can help us with the process of designing a board game for school children, is invited to contact us through medaichennai@gmail.com.


I’m really excited to see what comes out of this!
Some resources that may be helpful to you:
Shareable - 6 Awesome Board Games that teach Cooperation


it is very interesting!
I wish you make a good encouraging game!
here is the site on the ecological board game in Russia, unfortunately, the site is in Russian but the organizers speak English. http://ecologic4people.ru/
Maybe you can find some good tips for your idea.

Also here is an interesting site with games in education

most of the games are for using computer but I think there are some good approaches and ideas that can be used in board games.


Hey, awesome. TU Delft has developed this game specifically focused on critical materials: http://www.intheloopgames.com/#!team/a03jw

Another master’s student at TU Delft is developing a game that focuses on communicating the financial benefits of multiple product life cycles (through new business models such as remanufacturing etc) to managers, as opposed to direct-sales (single-use) models.

Update: this post also asks some fundamental questions that could be the basis of a game deisgn:


Another game - a card game - on the topic created at the OSCEdays Event in 2016 in Paris. Here you can find an article about their card game too. Does anyone speak french? Is there a link to the raw data of the card game in the post. If so, we could reach out to the community to find someone to translate it and create an english version.

ARTICLE: http://www.ready-for-the-resource-revolution.com/un-jeu-de-cartes-en-open-source-pour-inciter-au-tri/

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