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Settlers of Catan – Global Warming

Wake, PF and Illingworth, Sam (2018) Settlers of Catan – Global Warming. In: European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018, 08 April 2018 - 13 April 2018, Vienna, Austria. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The Settlers of Catan™, sometimes shortened to Catan, is a multiplayer board game designed by Klaus Teuber and first published in 1995 in Germany, and which has since sold over 20 million copies worldwide. There have since been several expansions for the original game, including Oil Springs, which was developed by the Transforming Cultures Project of the Worldwatch Institute for creating awareness about the effects that the usage of oil has on the environment. We now present a new expansion, in which the settlers of Catan face their greatest threat yet Global Warming. It has become apparent that the resources used to build the roads and settlements on the island are not as limitless as first thought. The destruction of the natural landscape has resulted in emissions of Greenhouse Gases, and if these continue to increase the resultant warming effect will have potentially catastrophic effects. The inhabitants of Catan must now decide whether to tackle Global Warming with sustainable development, or if individual victory should be pursued, no matter what the cost... The research that is presented in this poster discusses the steps that were taken in the development of the Catan: Global Warming expansion, from prototype to final design. This includes an analysis of how the game was developed to promote learning and engender dialogue around global warming whilst providing engaging and meaningful gameplay, i.e. how did we create an expansion that people still wanted to play? The innovative game mechanics that have been introduced will be discussed, along with the educational material that has been developed to help use Catan: Global Warming in a classroom setting. Furthermore, we will present the results of an initial evaluation into how effective the game is in helping to raise awareness and communicate complicated ideas associated with global warming, in particular positive and negative feedback mechanisms.

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