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Climate Crisis is the next co-op board game from the creator of Pandemic

From outbreaks to emissions.

Pandemic co-op board game gameplay photo
Image credit: Sarah Jarvis

Matt Leacock, creator of the Pandemic series, has designed a board game about environmentalism called Climate Crisis.

In an interview with The New York Times, Leacock revealed that the upcoming game had been in production since March 2020, after he was given the suggestion to create a version of Pandemic based on the issue of climate change back in 2019. Leacock then worked with another designer - Matteo Menapace - on the title, researching the topic of environmentalism and the role it could play in Climate Crisis.

The New York Times also spoke with Elizabeth Hargrave, the creator of naturalist-themed games Wingspan and Mariposas, about the game, with the designer commenting on the potential difficulty of making a tabletop title based on such a relevant and important issue as climate change.

“It’s hard to wrap my head around how to make a game about a real life - very dire - situation fun,” said Hargrave. “If anyone can do it, it’s Matt Leacock.”

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Climate Crisis is a board game for up to four players that presents the challenging scenario of preventing the Earth’s temperature from further increasing, therefore slowing down the harmful effects of climate change. Players become leaders of four different geographical areas - the United States, China, Europe and the Global South - and must work together to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses being emitted.

Throughout the co-op game, which takes place in a set of rounds that indicate a span of four years passing, players will use their cards to implement various policies intended to lower carbon emissions. From the current period until 2050, players will be looking to prevent brown cubes - representing the production of emissions - from being placed on the board by building clean energy structures such as solar power plants or improving efforts to recycle food waste.

The more brown cubes placed, the more the Earth’s temperature increases, causing climate change effects to worsen still. Players are successful if they make it to the final round without the Earth heating up enough to result in irrevocable environmental damage.

Matt Leacock Profile Image
Matt Leacock.

Pandemic is a series of co-op titles that sees players attempting to cure a collection of deadly diseases before the world’s population is overrun by infection. Since the release of the original in 2008, the series has seen a number of spin-off titles, including an entirely separate trilogy of titles beginning with Pandemic Legacy: Season One and ending with last year’s Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 - which Matt found in our review of the game to be have carved “a distinctive place in the series”.

Besides the Climate Crisis and the Pandemic series, Leacock is also known for creating the Forbidden series of family-friendly games - which includes Forbidden Island, Desert and Sky - and Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age.

There is currently no confirmed release date for Climate Crisis and a publisher has not been announced.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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