KOLLE REBBE, Hamburg / GRUNER & JAHR / 2013
Global warming is changing our world. Our children¹s generation will experience the consequences first hand and it's up to them to stop global warming in the long term. However, it is especially our children who know too little about the subject. GEOlino, the children¹s science magazine of Europe's second largest publishing house, Gruner + Jahr, wanted to change this. Not with dull theory, but in a totally child-appropriate way. Gruner + Jahr developed the company's first ever game: "Meltdown", the first board game that melts, illustrates the effects of global warming in a playful way. The aim is to guide miniature polar bears to safety across real ice floes which are slowly melting. The children make the ice floes by freezing water in a mould and an absorbent blue sponge serves as the game board. The miniature Arctic is then ready for use and the rescue mission can begin.
Gruner + Jahr takes its social responsibility very seriously. An unconventional concept was needed to spark the interest as many children as possible in the otherwise boring topic of global warming. Gruner & Jahr launched a broadly structured education offensive: as part of a series of free presentations, GEOlino presented the game to primary schools all over Germany. Hundreds of school children rescued scores of polar bears and learned something about the threat of climate change in a playful way. And without any wagging finger – just one hand to roll the dice. “Meltdown” was naturally also available in the GEOlino online shop. At the same time, design blogs, games magazines and social networks also spread news of the game around the globe. On Twitter a dedicated hashtag was soon established for the game.
Even beyond Germany's schools, the response to Meltdown was huge. Within just a few days, Gruner und Jahr received thousands of enquiries from all over the world. In the GEOlino online shop, the first edition, produced in a double-digit volume, quickly sold out. Even global games manufacturer Ravensburger paid attention and now plans to launch Meltdown in more than 50 countries. Soon, children all over the world will be learning through play something about the effects of global warming.