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From the instruction manual for Catan: Oil Springs, a scenario-expansion kit for the board game The Settlers of Catan. Developed by the Worldwatch Institute and the game’s manufacturers, the scenario was introduced in October 2011 at a gaming convention in Essen, Germany. A “hex” is a hexagonal territory of the game board.

During your turn, you can convert one oil into two non-oil resources of your choosing. Alternatively, you may choose to forgo the usage of oil, sacrificing some growth for increased environmental security and the prestige of being a sustainability leader. The first player to have sequestered three oils gains the “Champion of the Environment” token.

For every five oils used, an environmental disaster results. Roll the two six-sided dice to determine where disaster strikes. If a seven is rolled, a natural disaster triggered by climate change floods the coasts. Settlements bordering a sea are removed from the board, and cities are reduced to settlements. Roads are not affected. A metropolis (because of its seawalls and other advanced design) is also not affected. If any other number is rolled, industrial pollution has struck. If the affected hex does not contain an oil spring, remove the production-number token from the hex. That hex no longer produces resources.

If the fifth number token is removed from one of the hexes, flooding has overwhelmed Catan and all inhabitants are forced to abandon the island, thus ending the game. While no player truly wins, the player who currently holds the Champion of the Environment token is recognized by the international community for his/her efforts to mitigate climate change and is granted the most attractive land on a neighboring island to resettle.

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January 2013

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