Toxic Cleanup

An ecological game for kids.

A major chemical corporation moved all its operations overseas.  They used to have a factory in your town, but they tore it down.  Since the grounds it was on were so heavily polluted, and they didn’t want to pay to clean it up, they just paved it over.  So now there is an ugly vacant lot covered in pavement.

Your goal is to clean up the site and restore it to its previous natural state.  This will allow many species of animals to move back in.  But in order to afford cleanup, you also need to build recreational facilities to generate income.

The player with the most animals on the board at the end of the game wins.

A game designed to get kids thinking about the complexities of natural ecosystems, the importance of biodiversity, and the tradeoffs required to maintain and restore them. The game is modeled on the process of rehabilitating a polluted site and re-establishing habitat for animal species. The goal is to attract as many animals back to the site as possible with limited resources of space and money.  In order to earn more money for cleanup and building habitat, players must also build recreational facilities for humans, but these reduce space for habitat.  Animals can only occupy specific habitats, but some require other habitats to be nearby, and some also require other species to be present (as a food source).

Designed for 8-12 year olds, in playtesting the game proved engaging and rewarding for kids as young as 6 and as old as 16.