Light or Dark: A Board Game for Sustainable Living

Guiding Children Towards a Greener Future

The problem of energy shortage and environmental pollution has a long history. In 2022, due to the combined effects of multiple factors, the global energy supply and demand was seriously out of balance. While looking for and developing more sustainable alternative energy sources, the concepts of energy saving, emission reduction, and sustainable living should also be instilled in everyone's daily life.

A two-player board game, Light or Dark, designed by Lan Zhou and Xinlu Yang, aims to address the world's energy crisis and educate children about the importance of sustainable living. This unique game guides children to complete tasks in a cooperative way under various constraints through various element settings. By playing Light or Dark, children develop their sense of time, concentration, and comprehensive strategy.

The game revolves around the concept of energy management and environmental protection. Players need to use limited raw energy to plant trees, withstand storms, control the spread of pollution, and complete the task of building new energy stations to win the game. The game challenges children to think critically and plan strategically, fostering skills that are essential for tackling real-world problems.

The game board is made of colored beech, providing a sturdy and visually appealing base. Other components, such as cards and dice, are mainly made of ABS or PMMA. The dimensions of the game board are 330 mm (w) x 235 mm (d) x 53 mm (h), making it compact and portable.

Light or Dark offers an immersive and engaging gameplay experience. Players start by randomly drawing a map card and assembling the game board. The game begins when the hourglass is placed, signaling the start of the game. The hourglass serves as a timer, adding a sense of urgency to the gameplay. Players must make strategic decisions to manage their resources effectively and overcome challenges.

Throughout the game, the hourglass lights up to warn of the spread of pollution, while the energy stations light up to indicate the generation of new energy. Players can obtain random raw energy supplies by rolling dice and can also share new energy generated by new energy stations with their partner. This cooperative aspect of the game encourages teamwork and collaboration.

The development of Light or Dark involved extensive research and playtesting with children aged 7 and above. The game design was refined based on their feedback, ensuring that it strikes the right balance between educational value and entertainment. The game successfully instills a sense of crisis, urgency, mission, and victory, making it both challenging and enjoyable.

Light or Dark was designed and developed in Milan, with the project starting in December 2022 and concluding in February 2023. The designers, Lan Zhou and Xinlu Yang, aimed to create a game that not only entertains but also educates children about the importance of sustainable living and environmental protection.

This innovative board game, Light or Dark, has received recognition for its creative design. It was awarded the Bronze A' Design Award in the Toys, Games, and Hobby Products Design category in 2023. This prestigious award acknowledges designs that incorporate best practices in art, science, design, and technology, contributing to improvements in quality of life.

Light or Dark is more than just a board game; it is a tool for inspiring the next generation to become environmentally conscious and make a positive impact on the world. By engaging children in a fun and educational gameplay experience, Light or Dark paves the way for a greener future.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Lan Zhou and Xinlu Yang
Image Credits: Lan Zhou & Xinlu Yang, Light or Dark, 2023
Project Team Members: Designer: Lan Zhou Designer: Xinlu Yang
Project Name: Light or Dark
Project Client: Lan Zhou and Xinlu Yang

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