Hints, tips and advice / An interactive coach
Like all board games, Mission Gaia comes with some rules that must be followed.
In this case, the program acts as an interactive coach throughout the game.
Players’ intuition is very important, and they will have fun and take pride in learning the game strategy themselves.
Whenever they run into difficulty, however, the program suggests different alternatives that will help them continue.
As the game evolves, the program gives players hints on how to improve their performance—for example, by playing more than one solution at a time.
This user-friendly interface with the program lets players concentrate on the game and on enjoying it as they learn.
Beyond the screen
The Mission Gaia game “board” is an LCD screen laid flat.
There is no keyboard or mouse or touch screen.
Players place the required number of tokens on the appropriate section of the game screen—on one of the chosen solutions or on the navigator, which allows them to change zones or continents. Once they have placed their tokens, the players confirm their choice by pressing a button near the screen.
Each player has one token. The team can play only four tokens at a time, i.e. one per player. This makes it essential for team members to co-operate at all times in order to advance.
The moderator, or gamemaster
There are two ways to play: in “public” or “group” mode.
In “public” mode, visitors enter the playing area whenever they like and play at their own pace.
In “group” mode, the game tables and circular screen are synchronized and the moderator becomes the gamemaster, starting the action and launching each new mission. This gives the moderator time to talk to the young players and explain the main principles of sustainable development. It is also a chance to challenge the players to outperform the other teams and perhaps even beat the best lifetime score.
When the game reaches the Forum stage, the moderator initiates the voting process for each round of voting. He or she encourages the young players to vote and to quickly reach a consensus. If a majority approves one solution on the first round, the teams receive a 20-year bonus on their time scales!