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Broken cities

City-building game about the costs of climate change adaptation versus mitigation

If you’d have a piece of land in a city, how would you shape it? Green parks, shopping malls, schools, parkings… Broken Cities (Antidote Games, 2011) is a game that according to its designers, asks “Why don’t people make green decisions?”. In this board game, players can transform a fictitious city while discovering the plenty of things one has to consider when planning a city. Moreover, gamers can experiment the consequences of the decisions that they take. Players have the opportunity to act independently or cooperate with other city-makers to build a city that mitigates climate change.

When to play

This game operates in the intersection of urban planning and environment care. We suggest playing this game as a first step to reflect on the impact of the capitalist mode of urban development to the environment.

Commons-related features

  • Exchange views and informationThe game allows players to exchange ideas, information and world views while playing the game. 
  • Broadcast a messageThe game disseminates a message linked to the commons (for example, the importance of participatory design of the city).
  • Reflect on resources managementThe game lets you experience the challenges of managing a resource.

Best contexts to play

  • Knowledge institution workshop or classThe game can be played in a university class or during a summer course to delve into different aspects of the commons. 
  • Multi-stakeholder co-creation sessionThe game can be played to promote a debate with a wide range of actors (a.o. residents, designers or architects).
  • Community participation activityThe game can be a tool to involve people in communitarian and participation activities.


  • ChallengingThe game demands a considerable effort (e.g. to act under time pressure) to succeed.
  • RealisticThe game play closely mimics or emulates real-world dynamics and contexts.
  • Interactive/communalThe game incites a continuous exchange of information, ideas or experiences between the players. The game play is really ‘done together’. 

How to obtain

The pieces and rules of the game are printable

For more details check the site of Antidote Games