Famine! The game everyone is talking about.

In my experience, board games are a great way to engage pupils at many age levels, but I particularly enjoy using them at A level. Today we played Famine!, a board game of my own construction that hopefully elucidates a few key features of the topic ( one which can be a little dull and obviously very sad), allows for some high level thinking, ensures a strong case study knowledge and is jolly good fun.

I have included the powerpoint with all the game elements on, the board needs to be enlarged to A3 or even bigger but everything else is ready to go. The aim is to survive, each trip around the board is one year and the most years of surviving ‘wins’. The ‘win’ is the contentious aspect, as there are no real winners, timeframe or ends to the game. This is to hopefully coax out of the pupils that there is no clear end to periodic famine and all the responses and strategies put in place are merely managing it. Little things, like having more negative cards than positive, giving the characters back stories and linking the use of materials to the malnutrition aspect add to the complexity of the simple game.

The data collection sheet acts as the pupils’ case study sheet and enables all pupils to discuss the aspects of  a case study, evaluating evidence and encouraging team work. Today was a really good example with all pupils getting a really good set of information about famine and having a really strong group discussion on the causes of famine as the plenary.


Hope someone will find it a base to make something else from!

Famine the game




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