Serious Games Examples

The Last Straw


The Last Straw! is a fun and exciting teaching tool on the social determinants of health. The game has three objectives:

*to promote discussion about the social determinants of health;

*to help players build empathy with marginalized people and gain an awareness of players’ own social location;

*to encourage learning in a fun and supportive environment.

In keeping with current research on the social determinants of health, socioeconomic status is a primary determinant of health in this game, as are race, gender, sexual orientation and other factors.Feedback consistently demonstrates that players gain a better understanding of the social determinants of health and the interplay between forces at individual and community levels. Both players and facilitators (“Game Masters”) report having a great time playing the game.

We have also developed a training manual and video to help Game Masters get the most out of the game.

ForesightNZ Playing Cards


The ForesightNZ playing cards are an output of the 2016 ForesightNZ workshop. Devised by a diverse group of 36 young New Zealanders in 2016, the ForesightNZ playing cards instil players of any age with the capability to apply futures thinking, to be innovative and to wrestle with the futures of New Zealand.

The pack of 64 is spilt into four categories: Capital Cards (x 4), Event Cards (x 32), Trend Cards (x 25) and Joker Cards (x 3). Capital Cards refer to the four capitals at the heart of the New Zealand Treasury’s Living Standards Framework. Event Cards represent possible events that are categorised into one of four high-impact event types, depending on two factors: how aware society is of the event and the probability of each event occurring. Trend Cards show growing changes or movement in a particular direction over time. The Jokers spur on imagination and enable players to come up with their own events and trends.

Climate Adaptation Challenge


An inventive table top board game helped them explore different climate scenarios and pathways they could take to mitigate or realise potential opportunities from a changing climate on their own farms.

The ‘Climate Adaptation Challenge’ game works a bit like Monopoly. One version of the game was created for dairy farming and the other representing a dry stock farm. Using 3D-printed pieces and specially-designed NIWA play money, players were encouraged to make decisions about their own farming practices, in response to expected increases in extreme rainfall brought on by climate change.

Each player rolled a 12-sided dice to simulate 10 years on the farm. Three sides of the dice represent ‘severe flood’, four ‘high flood’ and five ‘no event’. Players used the ‘pathways approach’ to explore, develop and implement strategies to address climate impacts, without compromising or shutting off other options.

Impact: A Foresight Game


IMPACT: A Foresight Game is a serious board game that teaches you to think critically and imaginatively about emerging technology and the future of society. Designed by the foresight strategists at Idea Couture, IMPACT invites participants to take on professions of the future and navigate change in order to achieve their character’s preferred future state. Through playing the game, participants will: Learn the basics of futures thinking including some of the key terminology Learn about the latest advances in science and technology (neurotech, nanotech, artificial intelligence, IoT, biotech, robotics) Practice thinking about how these emerging technologies could evolve and the various ways they could influence society