Matteo Menapace
over 1 year ago

Project Update: 🤔 How does it feel to beat Daybreak?

Happy weekend Daybreak friends!

Today our guest Amit reflects on his experience playing Daybreak a few times over the last year. How does it feel to lose? And how does it feel to win?

It was only on my fourth try playing Daybreak that we won this punishing game.

How did we do it? We collectively decided on a couple of strategies out of the gates and doubled down on them throughout the game.

Bez (left) and Amit (right) discussing how to ramp up clean energy production in China.

Of course, we were taking on some risks where if the right card hadn’t turned up at the right time, it could’ve meant us losing the entire game.

But we had luck on our side and a stellar mid-game turn that turned the tables in our favour against our dirty energy production!

We managed to stick largely to the plan we set out at the beginning of the game, with all of us developing very specific roles that worked in sympathy (more or less) with the strategy we decided early on.

And there was such sweetness in the victory. We saved the f*cking world! We got to carbon neutral and managed to mitigate (or avoid) any serious disasters.

Lyn, Amy and Bez celebrate the win.

There was an overwhelming feeling of shock, elation and relief, with big fist pumps in the air and high-fives all around.

It was only after we’d finished patting ourselves on the back for saving the world and said our goodbyes that the victory started to feel more appropriately bittersweet.

Because Daybreak is just a game. And you can win and lose in a game, and no one gets hurt either way. No matter how many communities were put into crisis, win or lose, we can reset the board, turn back time, and it’s all ok again.

But this game is about a very complicated problem we’re all facing, and this particular play-through really stressed the importance of global consensus and collaboration.

I started to reflect on previous attempts.

They were also a ton of fun but we never won. Probably because all of us played with individual approaches. Each of us trying to develop really good strategies that weren’t in harmony with each other. The thinking was fair — if we individually do the best we can to reduce our carbon emissions, we’ll chip away enough to win. But add some bad luck, some unfortunately timed disasters and… we sunk, never managing to save the world.

It made me wonder if that’s where we really are with climate action. Everyone just trying to do their bit without any real long-term strategy to rally behind? It makes a lot of sense to me. We can’t really skip through time to see how effective any of our individual strategies are. We’re moving forward through time with as much hope as we can carry.

As an individual I’ve been put off by the sheer volume of noise that is out there on climate change (even between friends), but I’ve always tried to be environmentally conscious in private ways, trying to make better decisions around the way I live, eat, commute, deal with waste, shop, etc.

Since playing Daybreak multiple times as it was being designed, this has been coming more to the front of my mind. And whilst I’ve been wondering more and more if I’m doing enough, the game encouraged me to be more active and investigate through the noise and find out more.

I don’t claim to be entirely green, well-read, or politically aware, but I am way more engaged than I’ve ever been , and that is because of playing Daybreak!

It’s not just about the game, which whether you win or lose, it’s a definite ride, it’s about the curiosity it left me with. Or perhaps the curiosity it reminded me of.

We’ve all been little children who wanted to save the planet.

I remember when I was 6 or 7, our end of year play was to do with global warming and all the actions we could take to protect the Earth. It was our choice as a class to do a play about this.

One could take a very cynical view and say that was just what we were learning about that week or month, and children can get emotional about cake (who doesn’t?) but I remember the strong feelings I had towards the disruption of ecosystems and animal extinction. I remember feeling sad for the planet.

I see it in my younger family members now as they go through school — there’s often a project to do with recycling, saving water, food sustainability, alternative energy sources, and when we talk about it I can see that they care.

We all cared, quite deeply at one point, about our little blue ball.

Over time we end up caring about so many things and life is such that we can’t help but get occupied with the immediate rather than the far away future. Those strong feelings I had as a child, I suppose they never really went away. They just got covered by all the other things.

In a pleasantly odd way, Daybreak reminded me just how much I actually do care.

And through playing the game I found some old thoughts and feelings that I’ve missed. This, and so many other things that playing Daybreak has left me with.




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