Three entrepreneurial students from Seamount College, Kinvara have developed a board game which they are aiming to sell in shops as part of a Transition Year project. The Eco-Nico project highlights the devastating effect of climate change - something that is particularly relevant in south Galway due to the area’s ongoing flooding issues.
The three members of the Eco-Nico enterprise are 16-year-old pupils Eimear Mac Sweeney, Maria Fitzpatrick and Grainne Galvin. They undertook the project as it is a compulsory module in their school, whereby students must form teams and develop a mini company.
Speaking to the Galway Advertiser, Eimear McSweeny outlined how the idea for the board game came about. “Maria, Grainne, and I spent a lot of time brain storming ideas. We knew we wanted to do something that was personal to us. All three of us are from the local area and saw the dreadful effects of climate change first hand due to the devastating floods which occurred after Christmas. We believe no matter what age you are, or where you live, you will be touched by the effects of climate change, be it in a big or small way. We also understand that raising awareness of climate change in children is vital as they are the ones who will have to deal with the repercussions of it in the future.”
After further brainstorming, the girls came up with the idea of a making a board game based on climate change. The aim of the game is to raise awareness of the issue in a fun learning atmosphere. The target market is children in primary school, from first to fifth class, but the game is educational for all the family. The board game has a ‘bad side’ and a ‘good side.’ Players begin on the ‘bad side’ where climate change has had a negative impact, and you finish on the ‘good side’ where people are dealing effectively with the problem.
Entertaining and educational
A loose description of the aim of the game is to get to the end first and with the most points. Each player chooses a figure to play with, for example a bicycle, a human, or a dog. You then travel through the board landing on either yellow or red spaces. If you land on a yellow space you pick up a ‘Question Card’. This card includes a multiple choice question and an answer on the back; if you get the correct answer you gain three points. The questions are educational but have a comical spin. If you land on a red space you pick up an ‘Action Card’. This card can be negative or positive; if you get a positive action card it might say ‘Yipee, you have come across a wind farm, move forward one space’ then on the back of the card it would have some interesting information about windfarms focusing on windfarms in Ireland. If you get a negative action card it will mean you have to move back one space.
The students have self financed the project thus far, each investing the princely sum of €50. Their idea has won the school final and has been entered in the Galway LEO Student Enterprise Final. The trio are now searching for a company interested in environmental issues that may be willing to come on board as a sponsor to assist with financing the manufacture of the game. Eimear McSweeney says the team are investigating feasible options. “Initially we were looking to get our board game made by a board game manufacturer, but they were unable to make the product in a manageable quantity, or within our budget, as the company would only supply a minimum of 2000 orders. Getting our game printed means we can choose what quantity but is expensive so we are still exploring ways to minimise that cost. We are unsure yet as to what will be the exact pricing of our board game but it will be around €12-15. In the future we hope to expand our business by creating an app of some sort to accompany the game.”