It’s Earth Day, the time each year where we take the time to consider the world we live in and our impact on it. Truth be told, all the cardboard and plastic doesn’t make board games the worlds MOST enviromentally friendly hobby…that doesn’t mean they can’t be environmentally minded. There’s a whole slew of games out there all about nature and the environment perfect for parents, teachers, or anyone who just wants to have a fun time learning about the natural world. But, in order to help narrow things down, we thought we’d put a little list together of some of our favorite games to play on Earth Day!
Starting things off with one of the more conceptually unique ecology games to come out recently. Rather than focusing on one small part of the world, Ecos puts you at a global level as you work to create a brand new environment, collecting and using energy to craft a facsimile of how real-life ecosystems work. It’s an exciting game of competitive tile-placement that also lets you get a good idea of how interconnected ecosystems are and how they’re influenced by their biomes. For a further mix-up to the game, you can check out the New Horizon’s expansion that adds new animals and real-life locations like Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti to the game. You can also get a closer look at the game in my unboxing video here.
Publisher: Blue Orange Games
Another ecosystem building game, Planet lets you take on the role of super beings and compete to create perfect worlds with the ideal conditions for wildlife to flourish. Unlike Ecos, which operates on a 2D plane, Planet lets each player handle their own, three-dimensional twelve-sided planet on which their different ecosystem tiles are placed. The goal is to combine the different tiles with animal cards, as well as your “Natural Habitat” goal, to create the most perfectly populated planet ever.
One of the most visually appealing educational games we’ve seen, Petrichor is a game all about the water use. Each player is a cloud, and the goal of the game is to strategically rain on different fields as well as time the harvest juuuust right. It’s a pretty simple game on its own (there’s only four actions), but there’s a fantastic depth of strategy to be found in that simplicity.
Publisher: North Star Games
Any game in the Evolution series is a great option for environmental education, but Oceans is our favorite thanks to it’s unique engine-builder design and deep web of interconnectivity than past games. Players each get a species to help shepherd through the chaos of evolution, evolving new traits as part of the surface ecosystem in a way that mimics the real life way oceanic life has developed. Then you’ll take your species into The Deep, where the traits and power cards truly get crazy and you get a handle on just how creative and fascinating evolution can really be.
Publisher: Pandasaurus Games
This game makes environmental education fun by letting players control the coolest things to ever live on earth: dinosaurs. It’s a matter of tile drafting and placement as you create optimal foodchains for the dinos that inhabit the prehistoric Earth over which you rule.
Each turn you’ll lay out tiles with animals and, eventually, let dinosaurs loose to eat all the little animals up. The more you feed the dinos, the more eggs they lay and, therefore, the more points you get. But you’ve also got to keep track of how much food there is, since giving too much to the dinos won’t leave enough for recovery. It’s a delicate balance and it puts the realities of the food chain in a form that is fun and easy to understand.
Images via their respective owners
Any we missed? Got recommendations for environmental games that we absolutely must play? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!