Footprint Fun: A game on energy saving
intended for families & schools

How the game was developed

The development of this board game is being supported by the Bournville Village Trust. The game has been tried by junior school children from three local schools, who drew several pictures to be printed on the cards. We would very much like the help from groups or other children and/or teenagers in the Birmingham area (or of families with children from about 8 upward) to help to improve the game, by playing it and making pictures to illustrate the cards. The school children suggested several names for the game. We think that Footprint Fun sounds nice, so that is what it is called.


We have three boards available, so at present up to 18 players can play at the same time
However, we are making two more boards with further sets of cards so we can deal with about thirty players at the same time. Please get in touch by completing the form below.

Click to go to the form:

Object of the game

The object of the game is for the players to reduce their carbon footprint, which means using less energy. The course consists of 44 footprint fields plus eight carbon market fields, representing one year in which players try to reduce their energy use. Players begin with different carbon footprints and different amounts of money for use on the carbon market fields.
The winner of the game is the player:

Allocating characters

Apart from trying for a lucky number (1 or 6), needed to prove on two occasions that the player has not committed a harmful act, two dice are used. Begin by throwing the dice to see who throws lowest. The person with the lowest number throws once more to discover which character he or she will play in the game (see list of characters - Click to meet the characters. The dice are handed to the player on his or her left, as play is clockwise. If a player throws a number that has already been used to allocate one of the eleven possible characters, he or she has to throw again. All characters start with different sums of money that can only be used, when landing on a carbon market field, to pay for something to help them reduce their carbon footprint. Each envelope (or purse) allocated to each charcter, consists of two compartments. 1)the left one for the sum still to be spent and 2) the right one for the money already spent and therefore removed from the game.

Playing the game

The game is played with two dice. The track is made up of 44 green, orange and white footprint fields plus 8 carbon market ones. Carbon footprints are measured in kilogrammes (Kg, as if weighing the carbon dioxide (CO2) on a set of scales - if you could squeeze it to fit a box). Messages on cards instruct players to take away or add a certain number of kilogrammes to their footprint. Instructions in green tell players to take away from their carbon footprint, instructions in red to add to it. Blue and orange numbers tell players to do something else, such as skipping one's turn or clapping one's hands. Each player is provided with a scoreboard to record the kilogrammes to be taken away from the original carbon footprint (or added to!).

The cards

There are four types of cards - at the top of most of the cards, there is a number to indicate how much to take away from their carbon footprint (or add to). Cards are shuffled - sorted by colour - at the start of the game. As the number of green and orange cards is larger than that of the other types, begin by taking 25 green and 25 orange cards from the shuffled stacks for use and put these on the stand intended for the green & orange cards - no peeking at the message side, please. Put the remainder aside for the next time.

Green cards:

- See an example of: green cards

Green cards show players what makes their carbon footprint smaller or adds to it.

Orange cards:

- See some examples of orange cards. These inform players of strange or memorable events on the subject of energy-saving or wasting, that really have taken place. These also tell the player who draws it, how many kilogrammes add or to take away.

Dark red and blue cards:

These are only used when players land on a carbon market. Check below what they are for, by reading about carbon markets.See examples of blue and red cards. See 1) some of examples red cards.

Carbon markets

Carbon markets are places where people can reduce their carbon footprint by paying someone else to use less energy. Here players have to take both a red and a blue card and choose between the two. They can keep the card they have selected, but the other card needs to be put back at the bottom of the stack from where it came.

Red cards

A red card allows players with enough money to pay for something to help people in a poor country, when they are already suffering from the effects of a changing climate, to use less energy and improve their lives at the same time. Players paying for these projects can take (sometimes quite large) amounts away from their footprint. In addition, a red card with a yellow star may be kept for sale at a fixed price to a player with more money, if the person taking the card is unable to spend the required amount. The card can be sold to any player landing (or already standing) on any of the carbon market fields.See an example: of red cards

Blue cards

In most cases less has to be paid for the blue cards, which are mainly about nature conservation or interesting activities. Some of the cards make you persuade other players to save energy by cycling instead of driving, etc. You stick such a card to the edge of a square of your choice. If another player lands on that square, you have won him/her over to save more energy and you may take an amount away from your carbon footprint and the player in question as well (but their saving is les . . . See an example: of blue cards

End of the game

After an agreed time
      or
When all players have passed field 52 - New Year's Eve - scores are checked. The character with the smallest carbon footprint wins the game and can jump to the big footprint in the middle of the board to celebrate. (Perhaps there is a prize) If players want to continue, they can start a second year of energy saving.

Meet the characters

W. Heesterman