Feeding 9 Billion: The Card Game

Feeding 9 Billion: The Card Game


Hi! My name is Evan Fraser and I’m the director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph where I’m also a professor of geography. I spend a lot of time thinking about one of the world’s biggest challenges: how to sustainably, equitably, nutritiously feed the world’s growing population. The statistics are actually quite scary. Over the next 50 years the farmers of this world are going to have to produce
as much food as they have over the last ten thousand years combined
at the same time we are going to have to deal with climate change and other major
environmental problems but consider this we actually already produce enough food
for us all to have a full diet but this food is so badly distributed that close
to 2 billion people are either overweight or obese while about 800
million people remain undernourished we also waste about 1/3 of the world’s
food and this brings me to our latest project feeding 9 billion the card game
in this card game players take the role of an imaginary country that has to
produce enough food to feed its population when you get the game you
will have to sort the cards out first pull out the asset cards and put them to
the side next find the yellow event cards then pull out the four round cards
and make sure these are in order with round one at the top shuffle the
resource cards and deal each player ten make sure you have a copy of the rules
handy and that you’ve printed up the score sheet these are all available on
our website the goal of the game is to feed your country by producing the
amount of food listed on the round cards in round one you need 16 food in round
to 18 and so on the rising amount of food you have to produce reflects
population growth in the real world food is produced by making sets of cards for
instance if at the end of the round you have played three serial cards then you
produce six food and this is noted at the bottom of each card for every two
fat and oil cards you have you produce five food etc gameplay works like this
everyone begins by looking at the ten cards they have in their hand and
simultaneously selecting one and playing it face-up everyone takes their
remaining nine cards and passes these cards to the left so that now you have
an entirely new set of cards in your hand
everyone now plays a second card and passes the remaining cards to the left
and this continues until everyone has played ten cards by having the right
sets of cards played in front of you at the end of the round you produce the
food your population needs you will notice that there are three cards that
don’t produce food these are luxury cards extra labour cards and the food
processing plant cards the luxury cards are simple the player with the most
luxuries at the end of the round gains two dollars while the player with the
least loses $1 you can use this money to buy technology or assets I’ll explain
this in a second you play the extra labour cards just like any other card
and if you have one in front of you it acts as if you have imported migrant
labour to work in your food system this means that during a subsequent turn you
can pick the extra labor card up and put it back in your hand and then
simultaneously play to other cards like this the food processing plant is most
useful if you can play it early in the round if you have already played a food
processing plant the next time you play a perishable food item such as a
vegetable a dairy or a fruit card you play that card on top of the food
processing plant the food processing plant helps these perishable items last
longer and at the end of the round a perishable item card that is played onto
a food processing plant counts triple its base score for instance dairy cards
count 3 food but when played on to a food processing plant they produce 9
each food processing plant can only be used once and the food processing plant
has to be played before the perishable card to work at the end of the round if
the players wish they can trade cards to help make sets and produce food or raise
money after trading is finished everyone adds up the total amount of food and
money they have earned and makes note of this on the score card each player
should then determine if they’ve produced enough food for each round so
in round one every player needs 16 food if they fail to produce enough food they
should note this on the score card if players have surplus food or money they
can use these to buy agricultural technology or assets in this game there
are three different kinds of agricultural asset a player can invest
in green blue and red each asset card has a cost for instance this green card
represents investing in what’s called integrated pest management or ecological
ways of trying to combat agricultural pests it costs one food and one dollar
it pays to specialize on one kind of asset and if you have more than one
asset card of a specific color than you unlock the higher-level benefits for
example a player who is purchased two of the green cards would enjoy the second
level of benefit for both cards buying assets works like this at the end of
each round shuffle the asset cards and deal five face up starting with the
player who had produced the most amount of food in the previous round that
player can look at the five cards that have been laid out and buy any they can
afford using their surplus food or money as
cards are purchased replace them with a new card from the asset deck continue in
this way until all players have had a chance to purchase cards these assets
are now part of the player’s country and lasts for the rest of the game lastly
the world isn’t always a nice place so starting at the beginning of the round
to deal one event card face-up these events affect all players as noted on
the card as the game goes on events get worse and
this simulates things like climate change that are expected to worsen over
time for instance a drought in round two has less of an impact than a drought in
round four if you want to make the game trickier turn the event card over now
about halfway through the round after people have played about five cards this
will simulate a sudden or surprise event and then you can see how much harder it
is to play the game that way at the end of playing four rounds total up the
number of scores everyone’s got and figure out who wins more importantly
than figuring out who wins however it’s important to reflect on what you’ve
learned maybe consider the following questions is it easier for people to
obtain food security when they trade cards with each other or is it more
difficult is it harder to play the game when a sudden event surprises people
halfway through or when you can plan for things coming in advance this game
focuses on producing enough food but doesn’t really talk about waste food
distribution or whether the food we’re producing is nutritious maybe you could
do some research and figure out these issues for yourself and come to your own
conclusions about the best strategies for feeding the world’s growing
population all of these questions and further ideas for research are actually
listed on our website and we really encourage you to to go and check these
out but mostly we really hope you have fun
and please let us know how you’ve made out once again my name is evan fraser
and i’m the director of the errol food institute at the university of guelph
and you can follow me on twitter at feeding 9 billion thanks very much