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Subject: Most environmentally-friendly format for a game? rss

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James Hutchings
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In terms of components, printing, packaging etc?
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Rocks, sticks and shells in a woven bag.

Heck, it worked for things like mancala.
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Tom anonymous
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can of worms = open :)

to answer this question truly you would need to do alot of number crunching.
Assuming that we are ignoring the environmental costs of transportation of raw materials and final products then instinctively I would have these things to say about different materials:

Oil based plastics - inherently unsustainable as oil will run out. But I *think* this comes from a different part of crude oil to petrol/diesel and so it could be considered a by-product of petrol/diesel anyway. I don't know anything at all about the production process of oil -> plastic, so I've no comments about pollution created there.
Plastic can be recycled and I assume made from recycled plastic, but I don't know whether game componenents can or are made from them.

Plant based plastics - sustainable, but these represent a choice between food and plastic. We certainly could not substitute all our plastic needs with plant based plastics, and in the end, food is more important. So although it is a good choice for a small amount of plastic replacement, this is a bad idea on a general level

Wood - sustainable, if forested correctly. There are issues regarding mono-culture and a lack of bio-diversity with farmed trees, though I wouldn't claim to have the knowledge to explore this area properly. At the end of it's life can be burnt to create energy in bio-mass power plants

Cardboard - sustainable, recylable. Can be made from recycled paper/cardboard which is good, though there are issues regarding recycling and how much energy is saved vs new paper, especially when recyling materials are shipped all over the world. New cardboard can be produced from farmed tree or hemp fields but there are alot of chemicals used to turn tree wood into paper (not so much for hemp). At the end of it's life it can be recycled or burnt for energy

Metals - inherently unsustainable, but available in quantities so large it doesn't matter so much. I would guess that alot of energy is used in the process of mining, smelting and then re-smelting and shaping for components, but you'd have to get alot of detailed information to be able to compare this to the energy used in making carboard/wood/plastic.
Can be recycled and made from recycled metal

My instincts say no to plastic, due to sustainablity issues. I would guess that metal is pretty energy intensive to produce and shape, and would plump for a wood and cardboard mix.

But to really know you'd have to get the numbers and crunch them hard. Then take into account the fact that if you are getting wood it might come from say sweden, to the uk, to china, back to the uk, whilst metal might be mined, shaped and finished in the uk.. this transport difference could make the difference in terms of total energy usage / carbon output.. then with carbon output you need to know the electrical sources that power things along the way..
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Tom anonymous
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oh yeah, forgot about printing - well I'd imagine there is someone on here who knows alot about inks and printing.. I certainly don't, except that there are inks based of different things - water, chemicals, oils maybe (paint sure, print ink?).. some of these have been banned in the eu at least as the chemicals they were based on were bad, probably carcinogenic but I can't remember.
It may even be that the process of colouring plastics is so much better than the process of dying/painting wood or inking cardboard that plastic is the most environmentally friendly option.

In the end, the most environmentally friendly option is re-use... make all your games from components found in charity shops, skips, bins and other waste materials.. it'd make an interesting business model and design challenge, that's for sure :)
 
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Paul DeStefano
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renegade garou wrote:
oh yeah, forgot about printing


Actually, in printing you can get soy based inks and recycled materials and end up pretty friendly.

Keep in mind an awful truth - being environmentally friendly is also usually more expensive.
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Bert Nerdsen
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Mark Crane
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Waving Hands

(sorry, couldn't resist)
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Bert Nerdsen
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craniac wrote:
(sorry, couldn't resist)

me, too
 
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Mark Crane
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Silliness aside, making a game kit that could be reused for different games, like Piecepack or Treehouse, would dramatically lower the amount of carbon produced per game.
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Donald Cleary
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renegade garou wrote:

Plant based plastics - sustainable, but these represent a choice between food and plastic. We certainly could not substitute all our plastic needs with plant based plastics, and in the end, food is more important. So although it is a good choice for a small amount of plastic replacement, this is a bad idea on a general level


Rooftop gardening could offset this enough to fuel the hobby. The problem is processing it, but at least you wouldn't have to ink any surfaces. Everything would have a shape and stands themselves can be stamped.
 
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Tom anonymous
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craniac wrote:
Silliness aside, making a game kit that could be reused for different games, like Piecepack or Treehouse, would dramatically lower the amount of carbon produced per game.


or like cheapass games, don't include generic components.
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Jason Fritz
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Electronic. Make your game available over the web.

No physical pieces and no additional purchases/travel needed. No increase in the waste stream and you don't even need to drive to the store (or have it delivered).

To nip this issue in the bud:
1) Yes, computers are plastic and metal piles of hazardous crap.
B) However, no one will go out and buy an additional PC just to play a web-based board game.
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Donald Cleary
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renegade garou wrote:
craniac wrote:
Silliness aside, making a game kit that could be reused for different games, like Piecepack or Treehouse, would dramatically lower the amount of carbon produced per game.


or like cheapass games, don't include generic components.


A separate box could be sold with different colored cubes and/or discs. Many games top out around 6 players and 30-40 pieces for each. Games would be mostly component free and each player that owns games would have one box of components. You could have one or two big suppliers of parts and each game company would do everything they could to make sure they stayed in business.

Let's look at one of the bigger issues to any solution: shipping. Producing in China means you end up flying or shipping components all over. How about each country that makes games also makes their components. No more heavy fuel oil spills and no more contrails.
 
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Joe Niezelski
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BigD145 wrote:
and no more contrails.


How are trails of condensation a concern?
 
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Mark Crane
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http://www.carnicom.com/contrails.htm
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Will
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I think one important consideration to have is the game design. If the game is going to use a thousand components that will require a huge box, you can guess no matter how much you try to save sooner or later transport, packaging, and basic components will make a 5000 production boxes be quite unenvironmentally friendly.

But if the game is well planned, small, uses few components usually you don't have to worry much. Today's companies produce a lot of big junk to gain attention in the toy stores and mainly because one way or the other the buyers are kids and like shinny stuff.

So the best way to move into this field is the easiest way: create a good environmentally friendly design and box it in a small box. There you have the solution. Transport will be less expensive, packaging will use less paper, printing inks will be used less and if the game is well designed everybody will buy it.

Of course, there will be a lot of people that might say: "I want the best my money can pay", but they have no idea what the hell they are talking about as best is not equal to big or unenvironmentally friendly. A good game is always a great solution. And a small good game give portability which is always welcomed.
 
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T. Nomad
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Geosphere wrote:
renegade garou wrote:
oh yeah, forgot about printing


Actually, in printing you can get soy based inks and recycled materials and end up pretty friendly.

Keep in mind an awful truth - being environmentally friendly is also usually more expensive.

Only when using old models of expense. Dalyian, true-cost economics recognises that all the old models have neglected to factor in the origin deficits (to the environment from which materials were extracted) and end costs (of disposal, recycling).
 
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James Hutchings
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What about those flat-bottomed glass beads that you can buy everywhere (and which often get used for counters)?
 
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