Big oil versus Greenpeace in the battle for marine reserves

Deepsea Desperation print and play game

Publication - 15 December, 2010
Here's our free print & play board game called Deepsea Desperation. It's all about Greenpeace against Big Oil, with one player struggling to establish marine reserves in the very territory the other player wants to exploit. Through a mix of strategic lobbying, oil exploration, direct action and reserve creation, one of you will triumph. But beware: If you choose to be oil and get too many blowouts you'll have a deepwater slaughter on your hands, a mock twitter account handling your PR, pictures of dead animals in the paper, billions in damages and all those things that are so bad for your bottom line. And if a species falls extinct, you both lose.

Now, at Greenpeace we have many skills, but designing board games isn't one of them. That's why we elected to work with the professional satirists and board game designers Terror Bull Games (One distinguisher between amateur satirists and professionals is the use of terrorbull puns in their company names). Maybe it's just us, but after reading that a copy of their satirical game 'War on Terror' was confiscated by the police during the climate camp protests* we thought they might be sufficiently mischievous.

And they were. One of the great things about working at Greenpeace is that you can pick up the phone, call someone, and sometimes get the response 'We love you guys. Of course we'd like to help'. Which is pretty much what happened. After that it was just about coming up with a great game. We thought about renewable power versus dirty power, and wind farms versus oil rigs. An early version of the game had both players representing oil companies, trying to drill for oil without wrecking the environment -the moral of the story was that it wasn't possible - but it was a little depressing.

The final design is great fun, and gives you the opportunity to play either the daring activists, or the evil oil company. And let's be honest, we all like to let our evil side out every now and then.

Deepsea Desperation