Reef Stakes®

Type of Game: 
Tabletop game (e.g., board game, card game, printouts)
Target Audience: 
University and graduate students
Elementary and secondary school students
General public

Reef Stakes® is an educational role-playing game on the marine environment. The game is designed to mimic real-life stakeholder relationships, introduce some of Malaysia’s most iconic marine species, and highlight threats to coral reefs. The game format encourages interaction between players. Players debate, argue, and even sabotage before collectively deciding the future of the reef. Playing the game makes information on the marine environment accessible - a layperson will be exposed to marine issues while an expert will enjoy the hands-on content.

To begin, each player chooses one of six roles (conservationist, developer, natural resource manager, tourism operator, politician, and fisherman) at random. Each role is assigned three specific missions to achieve in the game, all of which correspond to real-life priorities. For example, all three of the conservationist's missions are related to nature while the tourism operator is interested in both nature and development. The building up of the game revolves around a "rock" card where players build in either the nature track or the development track (level 1 to level 4). To win the game, players have to play all three specific mission cards (level 5) on the board. However, since some missions overlap, players have to communicate, work together, or even sabotage each other to (literally) play their cards right.

The game is targeted to the general public ages 12 and up. And a minimum age is specified because of the science involved, some younger players under the age of 12 have been able to understand and play the game well.

Since the launch in late 2018, two editions have been produced: the limited edition pilot deck and the 2019 Living Coral Edition.

Read a Skimmer interview with game developers.

Contact: reefstakes [at]











Photo credits: Images of the Reef Stakes game and Reef Stakes in use are courtesy of the Reef Stakes development team.