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Business, Games, Green Products

Game Rules – The Green Biz

Here are the rules I spit out when Terry challenged me to write an educational game related to green technology entrepreneurship.  In a nutshell, you try to build an industrial complex with Murphy’s Law knocking you in the shins all the way.

This would need to be published as a card game, so it needs artwork etc.  Just the kind of thing that is done successfully on Kickstarter.com.  The hard part is, as always, marketing the game and making it profitable.


The Green Biz (An Educational Card Game)

This card game explores the difficulty in building up a business that delivers a sustainable contribution to society.  Players take the role of entrepreneurs, trying to build up their network, while passing a few screws to their opponents.

Each turn, a player draws a number of cards determined by their R&D staffing, plays a number of “Progress” cards depending on their cash flow, and then discards most of the remainder.  One “Murphy” card can also be played on an opponent.

All “Progress” cards in the deck are matched with a “Murphy” card that negates a specific one of the progress cards.  Only by building up a significant level of power can your number of plays outweigh your ongoing losses, and allow you to march to success.  The game is over when an agreed-upon level of success is achieved, as measured by accumulated “Green” points.

Every player begins with 1 “Entrepreneur” card in play.  Only one “Murphy” card is in the deck that can sideline an Entrepreneur (“Health Problems”), but it is placed at the bottom of the deck, so will not surface until later in the game.  When this last card is drawn from deck, the discards are immediately shuffled to make a new deck, and the Health “Problems” will end up in a random position in the THIRD and subsequent decks to be used again.

The initial cards in the game are described below.  The joy in this game is that more cards can be added to increase the complexity, and the fun!  Remember, each new Progress Card must be matched by a Murphy card – optionally you may have several copies of the Progress Card (ideally 3) and a single matching Murphy card in the deck.

Card Definitions

Special Cards

Entrepreneur (any number) – Represents the player themselves.  Has the creativity to allow you to draw 1 card per turn, and enough personal financial resources (1 Cash Flow) to play 1 progress card per turn (in addition to ONE Murphy card on another player).  This is it – you’re starting with a shoestring.  And the Entrepreneur is too busy to focus on more than one thing at a time – use those cards or lose them.  Zero ability to save cards from turn to turn.

Health Problems (1 card, on bottom of starting deck) – Stroke, Parkinson’s, Auto Accident, whatever, this event sidelines the Entrepreneur for the remainder of the game, and his team must carry on by themselves.  Put this card in the discard, the Entrepreneur card is out of play.

Staff Cards

Each either adds one to the ability to come up with a new idea (draw +1 per turn), manage projects (save +1 card per turn), or bring in investment dollars (+1 Cash Flow = +1 play per turn).  However, staff also costs money to support, so R&D types reduce the cash flow (-1 play per turn).  Each has a “Murphy” card that targets only them.

Research (+1 draw, -1 Cash Flow)

Mad Scientist – Distraction

Lab Tech – Drugs

Analytical Chemist – Lab Accident

Formulator – Product Liability Lawsuit

Market Analyst – Road Trip

Development (+1 save, -1 Cash Flow)

Engineer – Headhunter

Manager – Discrimination Lawsuit

Accountant – Embezzler

Lawyer – Misconduct

Statistician – Computers Hacked!

Finance Cards (+1 Cash Flow)

Non-Profit Organization – Ecological Disaster

Philanthropist – New Cause

Commodity Trader – Bad Stock Trade

Subsidies – Change in Subsidies

Legislative Support – Change in legislation

Rich Relative – Dies without mentioning you in their Will

401K Policy Matures – Stock Market Dives

Friendly Banker – Credit Crisis

Facilities Cards

Each of these has a different effect on cash flow (positive or negative on cards played per turn) and possibly other functions.  Each has a “green” points value that contributes to success and ultimately victory in the game.

Special Note: Normally a “Murphy” card plus the one it takes out are thrown in the discard.   However, if a facility has “improvements” on it, just cover the card with its Murphy and leave it in place.  Additional improvements can be added.  Only discard the base facility if all improvements are gone.

Corporate Buildings

Corporate Lab (+1 Draw, -1 CashFlow) – Poor Direction

Sales Office (+1 CashFlow) – Wrong Sales Incentives

Corporate HQ Building (+1 Save, -1 CashFlow) – Internal Politics

Testing Station (+1 Draw, -1 CashFlow) – Animal Rights Protests

Engineering Center (+1 Save, -1 CashFlow) – Unit Conversion Fiasco

Machine Shop (+1 CashFlow) – Metal Costs Skyrocket

Corporate Retreat (+1 Draw, +1 Save, -1 CashFlow) – Sex Scandal

Raw Materials Sources

Recycling Center (+1 Resource, +1 Green) – Reduced Consumerism

Mine (+3 Resource, -1 Green) – Mine plays out

Well (+2 Resource) – Well runs dry

Port (+4 Resource, -2 Green) – Foreign Affairs Issues

Corn Fields (+1 Resource, +1 Green) – Drought

Soy Bean Fields (+1 Resource, +1 Green) – Pesticide Ban

Stock Yard (+2 Resource) – Disease

Slaughterhouse (+1 Product, +1 Resource, -1 Green) – Vegan Rally

Processing Plants

Distillation (+1 Product per Resource) – Rising Energy Costs

Smelting (+2 Product per Resource, -1 Green) – Local Clean Air Ordinance

Forming (+1 Product per Resource) – OSHA violations

Packaging (+1 Product per Resource) – Anti-Litter Campaign

Nuclear Power Plant (+3 Resource, -1 Green) – Oops! Factor

Coal Power Plant (+4 Resource, -2 Green) – Greenhouse Gases

Gas Power Plant (+2 Resource) – Explosion!

Hydroelectric Dam (+1 Resource, +1 Green) – Floods

Geothermal (+1 Resource, +1 Green) – Earthquake

Wind Turbine (+1 Resource, +1 Green) – Lightning Storm

Outlet Buildings

Repackaging (+1 Product per Resource) – Media Backlash

Storage Building (+1 Save) – Fire

Distribution Warehouse (+1 Save) – Union Strike

Retail Operation (+1 CashFlow per Product) – Robbery

Wholesaler (+1 CashFlow per Product) – Price Undercut

Big Business Customer (+1 CashFlow per Product) – Contract Lost

Waste Treatment Facility (+1 Green per Product) – EPA violations

Logistics Center (+1 CashFlow per Product or Resource) – Rail Car Shortage

Improvements (Play on ANY building)

Upgrade Insulation (+1 Green, +1 CashFlow) – Irritating Off-Gas

Solar Panels (+1 Green, +1 CashFlow) – Corrosion

Roof Garden (+2 Green) – Pests

Grey Water Recycling (+2 Green) – Mad Cow Disease Outbreak

Passive Heating/Cooling (+1 Green, +1 CashFlow) – Freezing Weather

Modern Art (+3 Green, -1 CashFlow) – Panned by Critics

Cantina (+1 Green, +1 CashFlow) – Food Poisoning

Note: It is intended that each Production facility benefit from each resource facility.  Thus 2 resource sites plus 2 plants that convert 1 resource into a product generates not 2 but 4 products per turn.


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