The Beecarbonize logo is overtop a selection of cards from the game.

Beecarbonize Review

Game: Beecarbonize
Genre: Card Game, Environmentalism, Simulation
System: Steam (Windows or iOS) (also available on mobile)
Developer|Publisher: Charles Games
Controller Support: None
Price: UK £4.29 | US $4.99 | EU € 4.99
Release Date: August 1st, 2023

Review code provided with many thanks to Charles Games.

Beecarbonize is a short game about how to reverse climate change. This simulation has players balancing how to thrive in a world where power is needed, but it needs to be precariously balanced with the needs of the world around us.

The game board of Beecarbonize.
100-year floods sound real bad.

The Gameplay of Beecarbonize

Beecarbonize is built to look a lot like a board game; it reminds me a lot of Pandemic in a way with the layout and how the board seems to attack you every turn. You must find ways to power the world and feed everyone, but make sure you also take care of the environment and problems as they crop up.

A card is going to starve all the humans and end the game.
I was just trying to cut down on production to save the bees!

Problems include things like a movement that doesn’t believe in climate change, people going hungry, loss of clean drinking water, and even things like global weather events. It’s a lot like real life, to be completely honest.

The winning screen from Beecarbonize.
Omg, that was so hard.

You earn cards by spending resources split into three categories: People, Science, and Energy. To succeed, you will need to balance each of these to ensure that you have enough of a power grid to ensure people are healthy enough to do the science needed to clean up the environment.

If any of the categories slows down too much, it will affect your ability to keep the world in balance while still lowering overall emissions.

A visual of a late-game setup of cards.
This is a game-ender, and I don’t have the resources to do anything about it.

The Pros of Beecarbonize

Wow. This game. Beecarbonize really works to drive home how complex and interconnected our infrastructures are. When I first started playing, I focused a lot of energy and manpower on conservation. But it slowed industry down to where people and animals were dying from a lack of food and water. So I tried to balance those two things, only to lose out on people or science. It really forces you to approach the problem with thought and balance for what you are building.

The game board of Beecarbonize.
It’s early game, and my emissions are already through the roof.

This is a fabulous educational tool. There are a lot of people out there who don’t realize how difficult change is inside an interconnected network of people, environment, animals, and science. Each thing has to work in concert to bring real change, and this game simulates that very well.

While it can be frustrating and seemingly impossible, there are solutions. There is a way to reverse what we’ve done, but it’s not going to be perfect or easy. And this is a fantastic tool for making people think deeply about the issues we have made for ourselves.

The game board of Beecarbonize.
Gotta spend those currencies to save the corals.

Is Beecarbonize a Good Game?

The premise of Beecarbonize is very simple, clean, and thought-provoking. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles in this game, but you can feel the amount of time and effort that went into every aspect of it. The sound design, clarity, and polish in each aspect of this game’s design are very well done. It’s really beautiful from a game design perspective; and it’s proof that games don’t have to be complex with state-of-the-art graphics and high budgets to be thoughtful and effective.

A tipping point in Beecarbonize.
Okay, this is still solvable, though, right?

I cannot even begin to explain how infuriating, challenging, and thoughtful Beecarbonize is. And all of it in a very, very good way. I would suggest everyone play it; it’s an inexpensive little game with much love and intent poured into every aspect, and I can’t hype this game up enough.

Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up
Two thumbs up

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