After decades of board games about Colonialism and Warfare, we have finally moved into an era of board games focusing on (dare I say teaching?) something that is actually noteworthy and positive: Environmentalism. And nothing says Environmentalism like 80's Thrash Metal. So, hold onto your backwards baseball caps and prepare for plenty of lyrics quoted in this review.
ONE WORLD! - Welcome to it
ONE WORLD! - Don't abuse it
ONE WORLD! - To live out your life
“One World” by Anthrax
One Earth is game focused on what humans have halfheartedly been trying to do for the last few decades: Earn money/prosperity without destroying the planet we all are trying to live on. At the risk of speaking out of turn, I think it is especially noteworthy that this title was conceived and partially funded in the United Arab Emirates, a country that is in the midst of executing plans that will handle the inevitable exhaustion of the Oil their economy was heavily reliant on. Masdar, a renewable energy and sustainable urban development company based in UAE, helped bring the game to market. In addition to sharing scientific expertise, they partially funded the development of the game and are subsidizing the Gamefound launch to keep the price affordable. In fact, Abu Dhabi just launched a nation wide zero plastic policy which, in my opinion, is light years ahead of the United States (Let's sell tap water in plastic bottles!) is doing to help the Earth.
They just want to make another buck
They couldn't care what happens, they wouldn't give a fuck
Their big house way up on a hill
Was paid for in death, it's Chemi-kill!
“Chemi-kill” by Exodus
The standard version of One Earth is...err...basically for players who have never played anything beyond Monopoly and Clue. The Advanced version (which the game rightfully suggests hobby gamers begin with) is where it really thrives. It's definitely best at four player but there are a few bits that are fiddly with the gameplay. On your first few play-throughs, there is a bit of lag since when you “Fund a Technology” or “Play a Resolution” you are instructed to search though the respective deck which can take a bit since you are not familiar with what the cards are and exactly how they work. You can also use Technology boosts on two different cards in the advanced version, which can be confusing if you start with the standard mode and move up to the advanced mode later.
“And they don’t even care if they…
Seal the planet’s fate
Crimes they perpetrate
Wasting precious land
It’s time to take a stand.”
“Greenhouse Effect” by Testament
If you are going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. One Earth does just that. You won't find plastic bags, or any other type of plastic, inside the game. The cards are kept in a environmentally friendly velvet bag (all of those Crown Royal drinker's are breathing a collective sigh of “I'm doing my part” relief). Tokens will be solid wooden discs. The game is actually FSC certified (FSC certification ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits).
“A Hell on Earth, what we create
Dragging life to death with us
All living things destroyed or used
By shortsighted human beings
We do these things, let them be done
Apathy creates despair
The damage done will be too great
The world wounded beyond repair”
“Critical Mass” by Nuclear Assault
One Earth comes with the (seemingly) requisite single player mode versus an Automa. The two-player game also includes a NPC player (played, aptly, by the Military General character) but the game comes to life with four or five people on the table. In the world created by the game, U.N. Sanctions actually work and resolutions don't toil away in red tape forever. Not that the game sugar coats reality: If Global Emissions reach level 30 or stay above level 21 for more than four rounds. (no matter what level of prosperity the players have reached), everyone loses. What good is money when you literally can't live on the planet?
Death of Mother Earth
Never a rebirth
Never will it mend
“Blackened” by Metallica
The balance of prosperity and sustainability isn't just a game, it is something every single person on the planet should be striving for. The game One Earth is good, but the message and execution is unparalleled. The game launches on Gamefound on November 29th 2022. https://gamefound.com/projects/cation-arts/one-earth