Can you help Waterloo Region build a low carbon economy? 

Energize game board setup
Waterloo Region has committed to significant emission reductions over the next thirty years. How will this transition unfold? What will it look like? Can you help the community navigate the journey?

Energize is a new collaborative board game designed to get you thinking about the local transition to a low-carbon community. If you have an interest in sustainability or climate change, want to explore solutions, and have a group to play with, try it out!

The game is great for:

  • Teachers: playing with your class or student eco-clubs
  • Non-profits: playing with your staff, volunteers, partners, and stakeholders
  • Companies/Employees: playing with your colleagues or a company green team as a team-building activty
  • Households: playing with friends or family
  • Neighbourhoods: Playing with a local neighborhood group


Some quick facts about the game:

  • Ages: The game is designed for Grade 7/8 and older, though younger players with a keen interest may also benefit!
  • Playtime: Typically <60 minutes (5 rounds of play)
  • Players: 4-6 players
  • What you'll need: A table or open space to put the game boards
  • Cost: FREE! Games can be rented from the University of Waterloo at no cost, as long as they are used for non-commercial purposes

The game is a physical kit that includes game boards, cards, tokens, and a rulebook/instructions.


Interested in renting out a game kit? Please send us a bit of information so we can schedule a pickup! If you have any questions, you can also email us at sustainability@uwaterloo.ca.


The project began in 2017 as a collaboratino between the University of Waterloo, Waterloo Global Science Initiative, ClimateActionWR, and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. Early versions focused on a simulation exercise, which was played at youth events, with municipal leaders, with companies, and in classrooms, reaching over 1,500 youth and community members!

In 2018-19, Waterloo global Science Initiative took over most efforts to integrate community input and to improve design, and hired game designer AC Atienza from Waterloo's Games Institute as part of a Mitacs grant. With lots of consultations and play-testing, the new "game" version was rolled out in 2020. When Waterloo Global Science Initiative shut down in late 2020, the University of Waterloo became the steward of the game. 


Two students playing Energize board game
The simulation version - Energize: Sustainable City Challenge - is still available for anyone interested in playing. The simulation has the same objective, to reduce emissions by 2050, but is more technical and does not have game dynamics. It is more open-ended instead of turn-based, and requires a facilitator, but can be an excellent option for anyone with more advanced knowledge of community energy and climate change.

Like the Energize game, the simulation is ideal for teams of between 4-6, for anyone Grade 7/8+, and is free to use. It requires a table as well and takes approximately 90 minutes to play.