Embarking on a creative journey in the early summer, I took on a unique commission from Greenpeace to design a tabletop game with a meaningful purpose. Inspired by the “Spaceship Earth-Climate Emergency Mutual Aid Package,” a set of concept cards by Luhe’s team, the goal was to create an engaging experience that would raise awareness about ecological issues. This endeavor led to the birth of “Spaceship Earth,” a board game designed not just for entertainment but as a tool for fostering environmental consciousness.
Defying Conventional Design: Unlike conventional board games, “Spaceship Earth” wasn’t destined for commercial sale. Instead, its purpose was to be an integral part of events, sparking interactions among participants and generating discussions on ecological challenges. The focus was on creating an immersive atmosphere and an expressive game process, fostering an environment where players could engage with each other and the urgent topic of climate change.
Collaborative Creation: The collaborative creation process involved diverse professionals, including designers, scientists, programmers, and artists. Co-creation tools, like concept cards, were used to encourage partners from various fields to contribute their perspectives on climate change. This initiative led to a rich tapestry of content, including podcasts, documentaries, and discussions, demonstrating the power of collective creativity.
Board Game as a Narrative: “Spaceship Earth” tells a story set against the backdrop of humanity’s last journey into space before Earth’s destruction. Players must collaboratively make decisions to ensure the spaceship’s safe arrival at a new habitable planet. The game introduces challenges reflecting real-world environmental issues, prompting players to address conflicting interests in sectors like economy, comfort, environment, and civilization.
Meaningful Decision-Making: Event cards drive the narrative, presenting players with dilemmas such as advocating unlimited consumption to stimulate the economy while disregarding environmental consequences. The game prompts players to question the real actions our planet needs. Issues like coral bleaching, energy choices, and dietary habits are intricately woven into the gameplay, challenging players to make decisions that balance economic growth, environmental sustainability, and societal well-being.
Art and Design: The art concept for “Spaceship Earth” revolves around the idea that we all live on a circular spaceship called Earth. Two design styles were considered initially, and the final choice, determined by a vote among contributors, leaned towards a romantic futurism capturing the essence of the spaceship journey.
Conclusion: “Spaceship Earth” represents more than just a board game; it is a medium for social impact. The creative journey, from co-creation tools to collaborative design, resulted in a product that goes beyond entertainment, offering a platform for meaningful discussions on climate change and ecological responsibility. As the game sets sail into crowdfunding and events, it becomes a metaphorical voyage, challenging uncertainties and biases, and embracing the spirit of human progress.