From Education to Action: Player Agency in Daybreak

Daybreak game box

Climate change has been part of the global cultural narrative as long ago as the late 1800’s.
Since then, an increasing sense of urgency to find a solution to this existential threat continues to be top-of-mind for billions across the world as more and more information on the crisis has permeated mass media. The latest development last month - the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) – saw nations from all over the world come together in Dubai to strategise and come to an agreement on how we can collectively transition away from the use of carbon-producing fossil fuels.  
Daybreak temperature tracker

The tabletop games industry is no different, with many publishers taking steps to include more eco-friendly manufacturing practices in the production of their games. This can include using FSC certified paper stock, eliminating shrink-wrap or printing locally where possible.  

Forest Shuffle from Lookout Games

Some great recent examples include 2023’s smash hit Forest Shuffle from Lookout Games, Earthborne Rangers from Earthborne Games (who we helped with our eco-friendly manufacturing knowledge) and many more. 
CMYK’s Daybreak from legendary board game designer Matt Leacock (Pandemic, Forbidden Desert) and Matteo Menapace, goes one step further by asking players to engage with the theme/crisis through attempting to cooperatively decarbonize the planet.  
Diverse group play Daybreak board game 

Each player takes on the role of either a single country like China or a group of nations like the EU. Players start with five unique cards in play, unique to their nation. Then, each round they will play cards either in front of an existing card to gain access to new actions, or behind it to improve the front card of that stack. 

Cards represent potential local projects and resources that a player nation can use to help reduce carbon emissions, create green energy and reach Drawdown. With each player only having space for five cards to be ‘active’ at a time, they will often be ‘overwriting’ previous actions with new ones as the games crisis cards reveal new challenges and threats to respond to.  
Daybreak board game cards

The clean, minimalist design of the cards themselves is a big triumph- and is where the game’s educational element comes in. A lot of media around the Climate Change topic focuses on alarming it’s audience without actually offering them any way of taking direct action.  

Daybreak takes a different approach.  
Each card in the game is based on a real life initiative or area of scientific research. By scanning a discrete QR code on any given card, players can visit a webpage containing relevant information and links to research or resources. Importantly, there’s also a list of recommended actions that an individual can take to make the projects a reality.  This huge repository of information is freely available at for everyone, regardless of if they own the game or not.  

Daybreak board game cards

Allowing players a chance to find causes they can support as they educate themselves through the inherently engaging medium of board games allows Daybreak to deliver a powerful message.  

It shows us that while collective work is required of all industries and nations, individuals and local grass-roots movements can also make a difference. Daybreak is a game that has reminded us of why we strive for Eco-friendly and Ethical manufacturing solutions at All About Games Consulting.  

If you are a board game publisher or manufacturer and want to incorporate more eco-friendly manufacturing solutions into your production process, check out our manufacturing service page or get in touch today. 

All About Games Consulting


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