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Shocks to the System: Fast forward to 2028

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Welcome to the year 2028. The past five years have been disruptive and volatile, yet we have seen many examples of optimism and hope. As climate funders and global citizens, we put into place a lot of plans and programs in 2023, and are now seeing many of them come to fruition.

Did we make decisions from a place of fear and uncertainty? Or did we seek to transform global systems for the better? How resilient were we in the face of a rapidly changing external landscape? Come find out the multiple pathways we might find ourselves on in 2028.

We invite you to step into the future and play a fast-paced immersive game entitled “Shocks to the System: Fast Forward to 2028”. This game, developed by ClimateWorks and Forum for the Future, will test your ability to make decisions around critical issues such as transition minerals, food prices, and other macro trends, as they pertain to climate funding. We will explore specific issues within different mindsets to test our resilience and see if we can build the future we want.

Ready to play?

About the game

Shocks to the System: Fast Forward to 2028 is a 30 – 40 min cooperative game for 2-5 people about time travelers making decisions that will determine the trajectory of the future.

While the original version is written with a focus on shocks related to food prices and minerals critical to the energy transition, there are some wild cards.

Players draw prompt cards and discuss potential paths of action. They weigh the tradeoffs and come to a decision as to which of the listed choices to select. Every decision shocks the system by sparking a response from stakeholder groups including business, government, the environment, and citizens. Decisions also come with different degrees of risk.

For each prompt card, players discuss and select one of the listed choices. Every decision shocks the system, engaging stakeholders and changing the trajectory of the future. Savvy players may start to recognize patterns in how different choices correlate with impacts, and steer the timeline towards a preferred outcome.

After 10 recorded shocks to the system, the dominant trajectory of the timeline is revealed. Players review their choices, their impacts, and the mindsets that influenced them – and then decide together if this is the trajectory they want their world to follow. They then play through additional cards in the hopes that they can make the decisions needed to achieve transformation.

  • “Never a perfect choice;
    Always a disaster happening”

    - Playtest participant
  • “There is always “trade off”.”

    - Playtest participant
  • “You cannot always be on “transform” and many times the response may appear transformative but actually is not”

    - Playtest participant
  • “A lot of fun – and good to think about the tradeoffs, deciding with speed, amongst a group about what we truly face in reality?”

    - Playtest participant

The Challenge

As we find ourselves in the midst of the “decade of disruption” many global systems are becoming more vulnerable and volatile. Key systems such as food and energy, as well as key stakeholders such as businesses, organizations, and communities, will need to be more resilient and better equipped to understand and act in the face of a rapidly changing external landscape. There is a need for the climate funding community to develop and deliver climate investment plans with a wider view of the future.

To meet this need, ClimateWorks and Forum for the Future partnered to develop future trajectories – potential pathways to the future based on mindsets and signals of change in the world. These trajectories help us understand risks and opportunities out to 2028 with an aim to enable better decision making. The trajectories also deep dive into two critical issues – global food prices and transition minerals, as both are areas likely to cause large scale impact.

Our Process

To source information for this game, we did desk research on minerals and food prices and were guided by a number of expert interviews with experts working on these topics. We also scanned for signals of change, seeds of the future embedded in the present, and anticipated multiple possible outcomes based on which seed might grow fastest.

As part of our process, we explored the multiple futures lay ahead of the discontinuity we are experiencing due to macro trends within society. It was critical to understand the macro trends underpinning shifts and we began to map these to our Trajectories. We developed the four trajectories in 2020 as the world emerged from the radical change brought by COVID-19 with each of them underpinned by a different mindset or set of values – and with both positive and negative aspects. The trajectories acted as a guide to understanding what may happen next and how macro trends might impact different possible futures.


Our updated trajectories explored the macro trends underpinning shocks across the globe and gave way to potential pathways for food prices and transition minerals based on mindsets and signals of change in the world. We used the trajectories and research to explore the implications for the climate funding community. In order to explore them in a high interactive and creative way, the game enabled us to explore responses to the two critical issues within different mindsets.Each shock, as well as the decisions associated with the shock is backed up by a piece of data, nothing is completely speculative.

To help players think about the decision at hand, and to make a decision quickly, we took out the names of countries, companies, and individuals. We wanted people to feel playful and to hone in on the core of what the shocks were about rather than get bogged down in the details. We also wanted the game to make sense in a year or two!

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Produced by

This game was a joint project between Forum for the Future, an international sustainability nonprofit, and ClimateWorks, a philanthropic platform innovating and accelerating climate solutions that scale.

Game Design: Alisha Bhagat and Stephanie Stavropoulous

Visual Design and Game Editing: John Stavropoulous

Playtesters: Michael Stynes, Michael Simon Johnson, Grace Mervin, Mark Egerman, Chelsea Frosini

Project Team: Surabi Menon, Elin Matsumae, Casey Cronin, Siddhi Ashar, Christina Daniels-Freeman, and Sally Uren

If you have questions about the game, please contact Alisha Bhagat, Futures Lead, Forum for the Future at

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