Games. Climate crisis. What can creatives do about it? [he/him]

Climate Crisis is a cooperative board game about saving humanity from climate catastrophe. If you haven’t already, check out this quick overview of how the game works and learn more about the design choices behind it.

Critical reviewers

We’re looking for people who have experience in climate advocacy, policy, science, engineering, or games (ideally more than one field) to question our assumptions, challenge our biases and help us design a more impactful game.

We welcome in particular the perspectives of people who are based or rooted in the Global South.

Could that be you? Get in touch with me and/or Matt Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and any specific expertise in games or climate science, technology, policy, etc. …

Climate Crisis is a cooperative board game about saving humanity from climate catastrophe. If you haven’t already, check out this quick overview of how the game works.

If playing a game is a series of (interesting) choices, designing a game also involves making choices, about how to model the real world, what to include and what to leave out of the model, how to call things, what weights and relationships to give those things.

Here are some of the design choices at the core of our current game system:


Let’s assume the leaders of the world have already been pressured to take the climate crisis seriously. …

Climate Crisis is a cooperative board game about saving humanity from climate catastrophe.

Each player controls a world power, deploying policies and technologies to both dismantle the engine of global heating and to build resilient societies that protect people from life-threatening crises.

If the global temperature gets too high, or a world power loses too many people due to crises, everyone loses. But if you work together to draw down global emissions to net-zero, you all win!

The core loop is made of five phases:

1. Actions

Strategise together how to make the most of your Opportunity cards, standard actions and special abilities.

For example, you could play an “Offshore Wind” technology card to increase your Clean Energy production, which will then allow you to decommission a bunch of Dirty Energy plants (standard action). Then you could pay a small political cost to pass the “Indigenous Land Rights” policy card to another player, who will enact it to strengthen their Social and Ecological Resilience.

Remember March 2020? What were you doing back then? What were you planning for 2020 before the pandemic changed your plans? How much changed and how quickly?

I was in a pickle: freelance work evaporated from one week to the next, investments were sinking and promising projects weren’t quite taking off.

Pandemic, the game

Around mid-March I had an idea. Let’s write something about the pandemic, and what we can learn about it from one of my favourite games: Pandemic.

In Pandemic players work together to fight the spread of four viruses, moving their special characters around the World to manage outbreaks, while also gathering and exchanging information that could lead to a cure. If outbreaks get out of control, you all lose. But if you find cures for all four viruses, you all win. …

A proposito del privilegio bianco.


“Sai perché penso che le persone bianchə abbiano iniziato a notare la nostra sofferenza?” mi chiese un amico nero all’inizio di giugno.

“Certo, i video delle brutalità della polizia statunitense e delle proteste. Ma anche questo: durante il lockdown, molti di voi hanno iniziato a sentirsi insicurə in situazioni che erano normali solo pochi mesi fa. Camminare per strada non era sicuro. Entrando in un negozio, forse per la prima volta nella vita, vi siete accortə di essere guardatə con sospetto, come se portaste dentro di voi qualcosa di pericoloso. …

Let’s talk about White privilege.


“You know why I think White people started to notice our pain?” a Black friend asked me at the beginning of June.

“Yes, the videos of police brutality and the protests, but also this: during lockdown, many of you started to feel unsafe in what used to be normal just a few months ago. Walking down the street felt unsafe. Going into a shop, perhaps for the first time in your life, you noticed being looked at with suspicion, as if you carried something dangerous inside you. …

Are you curious about the behind-the-scenes of how I make games?

Here’s a story that takes you into the abyss of my mind 🐇🕳


It had been another night of broken sleep, one week since we started self-isolating.

As I was sitting in the toilet, I remembered a video my brother sent me the day before.

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It was a social experiment by Mark Rober, who used Glo Germ powder (invisible to the naked eye, glowing under uv-light) to demonstrate how easily germs and viruses spread between people through touch. …

Game Design

🐘 Is this clickbait?

Is Matteo riding the attention wave of a global health crisis to talk about his games? For a couple of weeks now I’ve been drafting and re-drafting this post. Writing about anything else than the virus seemed like an inappropriate distraction. “Why would anyone care to read my musings on something shallow like games, when there’s a deadly threat spreading rapidly amongst us?” asked a voice inside me.

Yet I still wanted to write, if only as a way to keep my mind occupied while getting used to self-isolation. …

A simple game hack to get journaling when you struggle to decide what to write about in your morning pages

That dreaded moment

Christmas Day. I’m sitting around a long table with a tray of panettone in the middle, sipping on yet another caffè.

“Matteo! Shall we play your game?” shouts mamma from the other end of the table. “Ahmm, yesss…” I say with a smile that tries to cover the fear.

It’s not just that I’m about to show my entire family a thing I made, feeling like a little kid about to present a bunch of grown-ups with his crayon drawing.

This is a game that revolves around people talking about personal memories, which I’m not quite comfortable doing with my family. …

What are you proud of this year?

For me, it’s been bringing to life a personal game called Fading Memories, together with many playful folks who helped shaping it over litres of tea and buckets of raspberries.

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Fading Memories cards, illustrated by Aimee Johanan

Fading Memories is about memory loss and sharing our life stories. It was inspired by the loss of my nonna Rina, who struggled with dementia in her final years.

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