Year: 2011 -2012

Client: Nordic Council for Climate Change


Broken Cities is a competitive city-building game where players try to become the wealthiest land baron in the city. Will you be a polluting profit-chasing slumlord, or a green-minded real estate mogul?

Broken Cities was designed for the Nordic Council for Climate Change to engage students and climate scientists in a debate about adaptation and mitigation as viable real-life options in combatting climate change. We developed the game with content expertise from Janot Mendler de Suarez and Pablo Suarez, climate scientist with the Red Cross Climate Center. 

NordStar, the parent organization that hosts the Nordic Council for Climate Change wanted to present the theory of climate change adaptation and mitigation in a visceral real-life scenario to encourage conversations about the disconnect between theory and the pragmatic realities of living with climate change.

In the game, sets of 4 players role-play as builders developing a new city in Scandinavia. Builders must deal with providing homes to the new residents who keep coming in, while also balancing the impact their construction practices have on the environment. They have a choice between building low-cost housing that is quick and high polluting, to mid-range housing and finally the best option for the environment - green housing. While the participants might want to do the best thing for the environment, the game challenges them to adapt their strategy with the burgeoning load upon the new city while scrambling to maintain their foothold in the emerging economy. Completely ignoring the impact on the environment leads to national level interventions from the government, and punitive damages for all. 

We invite you to try your hand at wining the game with your colleagues, if you are up for the challenge!   


Broken Cities play session at the Nordic Council for Climate Change in 2011

Printable: Game Assets & RULES on the NORD-star website

Let us know how it goes! We would love to hear about your experience.