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Zero waste: a way of life, a solution, a card game?

Meet Gabriela Constantinescu from Playlearn, Game Designer of SWAPS: Zero Waste Games

Achieving zero waste requires thoughtful strategy, collaboration, and discussion, but it should also be fun! That's why we unsurprisingly turned zero waste into a game called SWAPS!

We had the honor to talk to Gabriela, and she decided to combine her two hobbies: game development and zero-waste life to create SWAPS! This new card game teaches players how to achieve zero waste through healthy competition. If you think achieving zero waste is both challenging and too ambitious, then this creative alternative proves to be both fun and educational.

Our interview with Gabriela explains how SWAPS works and her motivation for creating the game in the first place...

After sharing a common living space with 20 people, I decided to achieve zero waste three years ago. For me, this is an opportunity to witness our daily impact on the environment on a slightly larger scale than before. I started doing a lot of research and suddenly transitioned to a more sustainable lifestyle. Many of my friends have told me that they also want to make changes, but they don’t know where to start and lack the time or spiritual space for research.

In my career, I am a game designer. When I started my zero waste journey, I began to feel that there was a conflict between my work and my daily life, because all board games were wrapped in plastic, laminated with plastic, and many other plastics. part. So I started thinking-what if we create a plastic-free game to teach players how to live a low-impact, zero-waste lifestyle?

In short, SWAPS is a draft game, which means that every player gets the same number of cards. Then the player chooses a card to keep and passes the rest to their left. This continues until all the cards are taken away. Basically, at the end of each round, there will be a set of 10 SWAPS in front of each player. There are 8 types of cards in the game, such as "bathroom", "kitchen" or "go", and their scores vary. For example, "To Go" will get points immediately, but if you have enough patience to accumulate them, there are some categories that will get higher points at the end of the round. Every player can know the scoring method of each category at any time during the game, and choose the cards to play accordingly.

SWAPS is suitable for those who want to start changing the sustainability of their lifestyles, but don't have the time to research and plan content. SWAPS comes with a zero-waste lifestyle guide, which provides them with the structure and content they need to start such a journey. It is also suitable for those who are more advanced in their sustainable lifestyle journey and want to share their best practices with friends and family in a more fun and relaxing environment.

We are currently looking for international distributors or zero-waste shop owners who want to pre-order the game and support its first production. The best part is that SWAPS will be printed on 100% recycled cardboard, using environmentally friendly, non-toxic ink, and wrapped in a reusable bag. We hope to succeed in this endeavor and launch this game as soon as possible, while also carefully planning all the components of the game to make it as sustainable as possible. This is definitely our biggest challenge!

You can learn more about Gabriela’s work and SWAPS: Zero Waste Game here.

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