CRISPR Ahead™ Board Game – Features
Cooperative. Play includes: solving puzzles featuring CRISPR; producing creations related to CRISPR uses—e.g., short poems, songs, drawings, what-if scenarios; expressing preferences re CRISPR uses currently in the works; thinking up future uses, including related ‘What If…’ scenarios and potential consequences. The game combines strategy of a modern board game with the creative expressiveness and player connectedness of a party game.
AGES: 12 & up • PLAYERS: 1-6 • TIME: 45-60 minutes/round
Players are members of a team trying to carry out missions using CRISPR, the amazing genome editing tool that can change the DNA or RNA of any living thing. Changing a genome can change the genome owner’s looks, health, and functioning. But a team’s efforts to change genomes will confront setbacks, and it has only a limited number of turns to successfully complete its missions. So to Win, a team must complete its missions before its turns run out.
Missions require team members to work in the range of occupations housed in the following structures depicted on the game board.
- CRISPR Science Lab (Teach CRISPR science; develop and upgrade CRISPR tools)
- Cures & Upgrades Mall: Humans & Animals Clinics. (Cure genetic diseases and upgrade non-disease genes)
- Super Seedy Greenhouse & Microbe Fermentation Tanks (Upgrade plants & microbes)
- Pest Control (Control disease-causing insects & microbes)
- Extinction Prevention & Returns Center (Preserve endangered species; resurrect extinct species)
- Communicators STEAMboat; located on the water (Teach in formal and informal settings; communicate news via the arts)
- Grants Dispensary (Evaluate and selectively fund CRISPR-related missions)
- Public Opinion Well; includes Diversity Activists Bucket (Sample, analyze, and influence public opinion)
- Bioethics & Safety Bureau (Consider bioethics issues; develop and enforce safety regulations)
- Software Station: Hackers & Crackers Hideout at secret underground location (Develop software; interfere with legitimate CRISPR uses or use CRISPR to hack genomes (Hackers); foil Hacker attacks (Crackers). Note: the line between Hackers & Crackers is thin!)
Players will choose from Character profiles the one whose traits best fit their real (or wished for) personality. For various missions, Characters best suited to work in specific occupations do so.
Early round(s) take place in the present, later round(s) in the year 2100.
In early play, set in the present, players choose and complete CRISPR missions, requiring participation by specialized workers at various game board locations listed above. Players meet challenges by: accumulating and deploying resources; solving puzzles; and producing creative expressions.
Successful completion of missions in the present time earns players a ride on the Time Ahead Express to the year 2100, where they imagine CRISPR-produced trait changes in any living thing; choose which ones they want, or don’t want, to be implemented; think up and try on ‘What If’ scenarios that address possible consequences of having the chosen trait changes done or not done.
The CRISPR theme is ideally suited for game play in that instructions and consequences on game cards connect logically with player activities, creating a feedback circuit that simulates real life. And the CRISPR game world of 2100 is shaped by player fantasies, many of which are destined to become real world actualities—it is a matter of when, not if. What could be more engaging than that!
Advancing in Play: The means of advancing differs from most modern board games in its emphasis on expressions of players’ own ideas, encompassing both creative imagination and analytic evaluation.
Science Concepts: genetics, DNA, RNA, protein enzymes, genomes, genome editing, genetic traits, psychological traits, trait
changes, designer humans, designer babies, GMOs, gene drives, stem cell therapy, gene therapy, extinct animal resurrection,
endangered animal preservation, genome hacking.
Indispensable Science Supporters: science communicators, informed opinion expressers, STEM/STEAM educators.
Game is in development, so some features specified above may change.