Gamification in Clean Tech: GBO Hawaii

Scott Cooney |


A new board game from aims to make clean tech, and sustainability in general, fun.  GBO Hawaii (ages 13+, 2-4 players, 45 minutes, to 1.5 hours) is a game of strategy, impact investing, and skilful manoeuvring of public policy. The idea is that players are impact investors, and invest their money across the island state of Hawaii to help create clean energy, alternative transportation, local food, and waste reduction businesses.


The aim? To get the best triple bottom line return on investment:

  • people (you get points for creating green collar jobs),
  • planet (you get points for offsetting dirty energy, waste, and imports of processed, GMO food), and
  • profit (you earn dividends on your green business investments)


Here’s the 1-minute video explaining the game in more detail.


Players in GBO Hawaii are impact investors, and can invest in clean energy, alternative transportation, and sustainable food businesses.


It’s kind of like Monopoly from the investment angle, but instead of driving everyone else into the poor house, the game brings out a spirit of competition… sometimes your investments benefit other players and vice versa. If you invest in a green building retail store, for instance, and then someone else starts a green construction company, your store will benefit from having the construction company as a commercial customer (you’d draw extra Resource Cards).


So… Monopoly: drive everyone to bankruptcy, build at all costs, spend time in white collar prison without losing any of your assets and then bribe your way out. Anyone else believe this game helped contribute to the global economic crisis?!?

GBO Hawaii: everyone invests and has a chance to make money and do good, but one player just does better than others and wins the game.


Here’s the Resource Card representing the Clean Tech Engineer Entrepreneur, with which you start clean tech businesses. (There are other entrepreneur types for each of the other sustainable industries).


For teachers looking for a way to integrate sustainability into the classroom, GBO Hawaii is a great way to engage students to think about economics, public policy, and the impacts of business. Each business card has educational material on the back.


In addition, there are free, downloadable lesson plans, slide deck PDFs, and other teacher resource materials on the GBO Hawaii home page. The game is also adaptable. It is easily modified to become a card game that is simpler and quicker, or can be played as a board game with 2-4 players.

The game is available on Amazon.



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