Here is a list of the most common questions we get about GBO Hawai’i. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us so that we can add your question to this page…info [at] greenbusinessowner.com
Beautiful and blessed with tremendous natural resources, Hawai’i could be a poster child for a sustainable, self-sufficient economy. With consistent trade winds, plentiful sunshine, geothermal activity, and a tropical climate, the state has the opportunity to create its own energy and grow its own food year round. Despite these resources, the island state of Hawai’i is the most unsustainable state in the U.S. Hawai’i burns oil products (diesel fuel) for about 90% of its electricity, resulting in the highest electricity rates in the country. The state imports about 90% of its food from thousands of miles away, most of it processed, unhealthy, and/or genetically modified (GMO). With little to no landfill space, Hawai’i burns most of its trash, including plastics and styrofoam, which release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere that, ultimately, we are all breathing.
Hawai’i makes a terrific case study for sustainable economic development. First, as a set of islands, the state is isolated from external factors, so that policies and business development can more cleanly be studied and established. Second, the state is currently facing a sustainability crisis, as noted above. Third, the state is proactively addressing these concerns head on, with the most aggressive renewable portfolio standard in the country, aiming to get 70% of its electricity from clean renewable sources by 2050, so the policies in the game are real to life and the game makes a great education piece for anyone looking to study the transition from a dirty economy to a clean one.
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What are some strategy tips for game play?
There are a lot of strategies for the game, and in general, no particular strategy, industry, or individual business should be so strong that players are forced to go in one direction in every game. We deliberately made the game so that sustainable food has benefits and drawbacks, green building has benefits and drawbacks, clean tech has….you get the idea. The idea is that most investment portfolio managers will tell you to diversify, and this game is no different. You have potentially higher reward when you put all your eggs in one basket, but also higher risk. So, if you have seen a particular upcoming policy, you might angle toward a particular industry, but you may also find unexpected twists that still curtail the growth of that industry.
There are perhaps a handful of general lessons that, after you’ve played the game a couple of times, will become apparent regardless. If you’re playing a game with just one other player, in general, investing in more smaller businesses will help you get ahead. A 4 player game has a somewhat different dynamic, and that strategy is not quite as strong in the bigger game. Bigger businesses with higher costs and rewards make a lot more sense when you havea Green Entrepreneur Retiring card, so that you can get more bang for the buck and potentially a huge payoff. Regarding eco-credits, several players we play with tend to let one eco-credit type go entirely in favor of trying to win at the other two. Thus, someone may not invest in a single business with oil barrel offsets, and may just try to corner the market on “FOOD” imports and dumptrucks of waste.
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But some businesses are better investments than others, right?
That’s a solid maybe. Game by game, that’ll largely depend on the policies in place and what other players are investing in. Generally, most business investments in the game have a pretty similar return on investment, plus or minus a risk premium. But some businesses, to reflect reality, are better than others in one area (dividends or eco-credits), if only slightly. It’s up to you to spot the differences and create a winning investment portfolio!
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Several cards say something along the lines of “for each round this card is in play…” Does that include the first round that card comes into play?
Yes, the policy goes into play immediately so players start receiving benefits or taking the penalty for it on the same turn it goes into play.
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In what order do turns go?
You’ll find a step-by-step description of how turns go in the instructions for the game, but in general, you collect your dividends on any business you have in play from previous rounds first. Then you roll and move. If you are the first to reach a Policy & Events space, stop there and play the P&E card at that space. After you play that card, take the action labeled on the P&E space. Otherwise, just take the action of whatever space you land on. Then, in any order, you can play Chance Cards, buy permit applications, start businesses, trade cards with other players, and roll to see if your permit applications from previous turns get approved. To finish your turn, just draw a Resource card and declare, “I’m pau!” (Pau is a Hawaiian word that means to be finished with something).
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The first person that gets to a Policies & Events space on the board stops there and conducts the policy card. But if someone else lands on that space afterwards, what do they do?
Policies & Event spaces are only played once each per game. Anyone who lands on those spots after those actions are already done just takes the action listed on the space itself but is not affected by the Policy Card. In other words, treat it just like landing on another spot.
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On the Two Green Collar Workers Card, can we use it just for one Green Collar Worker and then draw a Single Green Collar Worker out of the Resource Deck, kind of like getting change?
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There’s a Policies & Events Card about the Hawai’i department of labor hiring GreenBusinessOwner.com to do workshops. Isn’t that blatant self-promotion?
Well, yes, but it’s also true. Scott Cooney, the developer of GBO Hawai’i and our Principal and founder, is the author of Build a Green Small Business (McGraw-Hill), and Site Director at GreenBusinessOwner.com. We help municipalities incubate a local tax base by teaching workshops to would-be green entrepreneurs and have been doing it for years, including San Francisco, Ukiah, Santa Fe, Salt Lake City, and others, and now, thanks to the Hawai’i Department of Labor, four Hawaiian counties. If you know someone in economic development in your area, have them reach out to us to see if we can do a workshop near you and help spread social entrepreneurship worldwide. Because games are fun, but the real goal here is to help accelerate the transition to a green economy!
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Made in China?
Yes, the game is manufactured in China. Creating and producing the game came with quite a few environmental cost/benefit decisions. See the “What are the green attributes of this game?” below for more information on the overall sustainable attributes of the game. The biggest environmental drawback of the game’s manufacture is that we printed in China and had the games shipped, and we acknowledge that. There are a couple of reasons that we chose the company in Nevada as the game’s producer, knowing full well that they print in China. First, we wanted to make this game zero waste, meaning no plastic pieces, all components recyclable and/or compostable. The company we worked with was able to meet those needs easily, and the game consultant we hired was adamant that companies in China have more up-to-date machinery and can handle higher post-consumer recycled paper. Our understanding is that this is changing and that companies are starting to invest in local production again in the U.S., simply because the price of fuel and shipping keeps going up, which will eventually mean production in the U.S. is a lot closer price-wise to that of manufacturing in China. Until then, however, printing with post-consumer recycled paper and doing custom jobs like this game which we aimed to get as close to zero waste as possible, are more feasible in China. The amount of customization needed to do the game as a zero waste game in the United States seemed near impossible. The company we used does nothing but manufacture board games and therefore they were able to roll with our requests for eliminating plastic pieces. Second, we wanted the game to be accessible to all. With the very small first run on this game that we did, prices for US manufacturing would have required us to make the retail price about $10-$15 more than it is now. When we do a second, hopefully much larger print run of the game, we will be able to print in the U.S., using economies of scale to bring the costs in line. Third, we are offsetting our carbon emissions from the manufacturing and shipping of the games. We realize fully that this is a marginal substitute, but for the time being on our startup’s very limited budget, this was our attempt to at least make up for some of the damage done by printing overseas. As indicated, in our next run, we fully intend to have a completely zero waste game produced here in the United States, using as much post-consumer recycled content as we can.
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So what are the green/sustainable attributes of this game?
We were aiming to create the first ever zero waste board game. We fell short, but not by much, and hope that our next print will achieve that and a whole lot more. First things first–we eliminated plastic and other petrochemical ingredients at every turn. The only part of the game that we couldn’t do this with is the shrink wrap that the game comes in. Even our dice are not made of plastic. Some of this cost us a bit more, but we felt very strongly that we wanted to avoid petrochemical inputs as much as possible. Many people don’t know that plastic is derived from oil. It also never biodegrades and is the source of much worldwide pollution, so we wanted to avoid supporting that plastic world. Secondly, we offset the emissions of our print and shipping from the manufacturing plant to our warehouse by planting hardwood trees here in Hawai’i through Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods. Third, all the finishes in the game are the most environmentally-friendly on the market. You may notice that the board itself lacks the “luster” that many board games have–that’s because that luster is a petrochemical finish and we didn’t want to use it. We instead chose a more subtle (less smelly and more eco-friendly) matte finish, much like the board games of our youth had. We think the old Monopoly boards with a little wear and tear have a lot more character and show signs of use and love, and that the new finishes make the game more sterile anyway, so that was an easy choice. The main challenge we still face with the game is in sourcing.
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Are you planning to make the game into a video game or app?
Yes. We’re working on an iPad app right now. Others will follow. If you’re interested, you can follow us on social media by clicking the Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn buttons at the top of this page…we’ll definitely be posting updates on new game stuff regularly.
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