Sustainable Games: Arimaa, New Forest and Elephant Poo

Following up some of my thoughts from yesterday... If you're like me, you love the look and feel of playing with real wooden or stone pieces. Nothing beats the moving a carved stone bishop across a board. A piece with substantial heft.

Unfortunately, there is only so much good stone to go around and current lumber practices aren't doing much to keep deforestation in check. So, New Forest teamed up with a woodworking cooperative called "Agua y Monte" to create these gorgeous hand-crafted wooden Arimaa sets.

Arimaa is a chess-like game designed to be easily played by humans and hard to play for computers. I love such an anthropocentric game being made by real human artisans out of natural materials. (Considering the game is patented, I wonder what involvement Omar Syed has in this arrangement.)

New Forest will auction off sets and a portion of the proceeds go towards New Forest's reforestation efforts. Here's what New Forest says about their mission: "At New Forest Earth, our goal is to help people in Latin America make a living from their forests without destroying them. As part of that mission, we help people get more value out of a smaller amount of wood, so that they can cut fewer trees down and still send their kids to school."

On the other side of the world, artisans are using their locally sustainable, abundant materials to create board games. In their case, that material is elephant dung. Or "poo" as the announcer says. (Video automatically starts at the board game stuff.)

» Elephant Dung Paper
» Arimaa
» Via: Purple Pawn
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.