Game of Floods image

Imagine it’s the year 2050, and you’re the city planner of an island that’s threatened by sea-level rise and storms. That’s the scenario in “Game of Floods,” a board game in which students and community members confront these real climate change risks.

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Westhoff: “We are particularly excited about bringing it to schools as we feel that it’s critical that the youth of today understand this challenge that they’re faced with.”

That’s Alex Westhoff, with the Marin County Community Development Agency in California, which developed the game.

Players must decide how to protect the island from random floods and ever-rising sea levels. Some players decide to move their roads out of vulnerable areas like wetlands, while others choose to protect their buildings with seawalls. For every choice, there are costs – some financial, some social, and some environmental.

Westhoff: “This was intended to teach people about what the different strategies are, in a way that’s engaging and fun.”

Westhoff says, so far, more than a thousand people have played Game of Floods. And anyone who wants to try it out for themselves can download the board for free, then print it and play.

Reporting credit: Rosie Simon/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Bud Ward

Bud Ward is Editor of Yale Climate Connections. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as Assistant Director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission on Air Quality,...