The serious game was developed by Irabor Thomas-Julian, Nicolas Antoine-Moussiaux, and Simon Rüegg as part of Thomas-Julian's Ph.D. program at the University of Liège, in collaboration with OCTOpUS'S.

Want a box? Email us at tjirabor@uliege.be and tell us why you want Tipping Point. Because our games are 3D printed with plastic, we aim for minimal production to develop minds and limit waste. 

Game description

Tipping Point is a multiplayer board game that immerses players in the role of decision-makers on a small island. Their task is to strategically build houses and earn points while being mindful of the waste generated by each house. The catch is that if the island becomes overcrowded or overwhelmed by waste within six rounds, all players lose.

Tipping Point is versatile and can be used to explore a variety of real-world challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and urbanization. It is a valuable tool for developing systems thinking skills and promoting collaboration.

Game objective: 

The goal of the game is for each player to collect as many points as they can in 6 rounds. However, if the game board gets filled up before those 6 rounds are over, everyone playing loses.

Game Elements 

Game Board: The game board is composed of a matrix of 36 hexagons with a hole in the center. It represents a hexagonally shaped island space with trees, resembling a forest.  

House Tokens: There are two types of house tokens in the game: smaller houses (H1) and larger houses (H2). These tokens allow players to accumulate points through construction on the board. 

Resource Tokens: Resource tokens come in two types: R1 and R3. They are primarily used in the construction of house tokens on the board. 

Waste Tokens: Waste tokens represent the byproducts of construction. The number of waste tokens generated depends on the type of house token placed by the players. Placing an H1 token produces one waste token, while placing an H2 token produces two waste tokens. 

Turns token: The token, represented as number 1, shows whose turn it is. The person holding this token starts a round, then passes it to the next player after the round finishes. This way, each player gets a chance to start a round and finish one.

Here, from the top left going round the board, we see the Turns token, the sack containing the Resource tokens (R1 and R3), the House tokens (H2 and H1), and the waste tokens. Is this how your game looks too? Great! Lets start playing! 

Game preparation

Before you start playing, each player gets 2 random resource tokens. Resource tokens come in 1's and 3's.

The game happens in years, and each year has 4 phases. 

These phases happen one after the other:

Action Phase: Players can do one of three things during this phase. 

Small House tokens (H1) cost 1 Resource token (R1) to build.  

Here, the player places an H1 anywhere they choose and adds an R1 next to it to build.

Large house tokens (H2) cost 2 resources to build. (Resources come in only 1 and 3)

Here, the player places an H2 next to the H1 and adds an R3 next to it to build. since the H2 uses only 2 resources, there's still 1 free resource left to be used on the board by any other player. 

2. Eco-friendly renovation: Players can pay a resource token from their hand to make H2 tokens more eco-friendly by transforming them into smaller houses (H1). The transformation involves stacking H1 on top of H2. This makes them less waste polluting in subsequent rounds and provides free resources on the board that were initially mobilized by the large house token.  

Here, the player pays 1R by placing it back in the sack, and converts the H2 to H1 by stacking an H1 on top of the H2.

3 Remove waste: Players can pay a resource token from their hand (at least 3 resources) to remove waste tokens manually. 

Here, the player pays an R3 and takes one waste off manually from the board. Having more than one R3 means you can also remove multiple waste tokens at the same time. 

After the action phase, the other 3 phases must be carried out in order by all players. 

Profit phase: There are several ways players gain points in the game: 

a. They earn points by constructing house tokens (H1: 1 point, H2: 2 points) 

b. They earn 1 point per renovation done. 

c. They earn 1 point per waste token removed. 

Also, Players must generate resources to keep playing the game. The only way to generate resources is determined by the number of houses that players are in contact with when they construct their house token on the board. No resources, no playing. 

Here, the player constructed next to two house tokens (both a small one and large one) and receives 2 random resource tokens due to this decision. The type of house token doesn't matter, just the number they touch. 

Biodegrade Phase: This is the ability of the board’s green space to nullify the effect of the waste tokens. 2 green empty spaces can biodegrade 1 waste token. It involves the board itself contributing to waste token removal based on free green spaces. 

Players count and divide the total empty green spaces by 2 to remove the equivalent number of waste tokens. 

Here, the player counts 2 empty spaces and removes 1 waste token. Normally, all players count all the empty green spaces, divide the number by 2, and remove the appropriate waste tokens from the board. 

Waste Phase: Despite waste removal in the previous phase, all constructed houses generate waste tokens every round, which must be placed back on the board.

H1 produces 1 waste token, and H2 produces 2 waste tokens. 

Here, we see that there are 2 house tokens. The larger house generates 2 waste tokens while the smaller one produces 1 waste token, totaling 3 waste tokens on the board.

Analyzing Tipping point

2. To correct this, a greater challenge is presented as it encourages participants to reconsider their definition of success, recognizing that the game is essentially about survival. by shifting their drive from winning points to collectively surviving, players integrate the land space into their reflection. 

By constructing fewer houses in each round and minimizing waste through house renovations or manual removal, participants can effectively conserve valuable land and win the game. 


This project creates educational games exploring how people balance cooperation and competition in social settings. It helps understand how personal preferences affect teamwork, communication, and decision-making, impacting both social relationships and environmental outcomes. Through these games, we aim to empower teams to make informed choices for a more sustainable future.

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