Success of climate change board game leads to second edition

12 August 2005

After only four months, "Keep Cool - Gambling with the Climate" went out of stock - a great success for scientists Klaus Eisenack and Gerhard Petschel-Held who developed the board game at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The second edition of this bilingual German and English game has just been released, slightly revised and with new partners.

"With Keep Cool we established new channels of dialogue between science and the public", says Gerhard Petschel-Held, one of the game's authors, a physicist and head of the "Integrated Systems Analysis" department at PIK. Both authors did not expect such a great interest from the public, which began as a venture for the scientists to deal with their research subject in a playful way. "Feedback has revealed surprising insights and exciting discussions about conflicts of interest in climate politics as highlights of Keep Cool", explains Klaus Eisenack, game author and mathematician at PIK. The success of Keep Cool in initiating learning processes and exchange of ideas proves that it is worthwhile for scientists to open new and extraordinary ways of communication.

Keep Cool has been used at schools, universities and environmental groups, and by families and the general public new to thinking about climate change. Its success has been fostered by game sessions like the "Long Science Night" in Berlin and at gaming conventions. A simulation and gaming version is now part of teaching material available from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU).

Klaus Eisenack and Gerhard Petschel-Held developed Keep Cool at PIK last year, and the game was published by the company "Spieltrieb" in November. In addition to the supporters of the first edition - the UK's Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, the European Climate Forum (ECF) and the Leibniz Association - new partners have joined for the second edition. Two mail order companies for environmentally friendly products will list the game in their catalogue. The second edition of Keep Cool has been improved by listening to feedback from the public and the media.

About the Game

In a game of Keep Cool, three to six players aged twelve and above represent groups of countries such as Europe, OPEC, or the developing countries. For one to two hours they can choose between "black" and "green" growth, but also adapt to inevitable climate impacts like droughts or floods, which increase in severety as global temperature rises. Lobby groups like the oil industry or environmental groups have to be taken into account. The winner is the player who most effectively reconciles climate protection with special interests. If some players are too ruthless, everybody loses.

More information about the game:

Contact PIK:
Klaus Eisenack, email, phone +49/331/288-2625
Dr. Gerhard Petschel-Held, email, phone +49/331/288-2513

Press office PIK:
Anja Wirsing, e-mail, phone +49 331 288-2507

Keep Cool can be ordered from Spieltrieb for 24,95 Euro. It contains one large game board, one "world thermometer", nearly fifty cards, more than one hundred wooden tokens in different colours and more.
Address for orders: Spieltrieb, Pfarrgasse 2, D-65321 Niedermeilingen,, phone +49/611/9889320, email