Running a GBO Hawaii tournament can help you engage students in a class, raise money for your non-profit group, or just have fun with friends. 

Players compete against each other within one game, but end up with a score based on their performance in the game that can also allow one large comparison across all games, so that if everyone plays once, you can crown a champion of the whole tournament in under 2 hours! Or…take your time and let players play more than once if they want.

The first thing we’ll say is that we would love to help you with this. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Contact info is at the bottom of every page on our site. You should get the general idea from the below, so check it out and get in touch if you’d like!

Here’s how to run a tournament (if you’re doing this in class, you can skip right to #7):

    1. Find a venue. Critical first step! Many times cafes or other businesses will allow you to use their space so long as they don’t already have plans for it, and under the premise that people will likely be buying drinks and being exposed to how cool a business the venue is. The main consideration on venue is the size of tables they have. Our board game is 20″ square, so tables smaller than 30″ on each side simply don’t fit the game, peoples’ cards, and their beers or coffees. You might try calling a local board game store in your area and just see what they recommend. Odds are, there are other board game tournaments out there in your area already using a venue that is so used to the concept that it’s a well-oiled machine.
    2. Solicit some green prizes. This is actually really easy! Just call a couple of local green businesses and ask if they’d like to chip in a gift card or something for your upcoming sustainability board game tournament event. For the exposure to the kinds of people who will be playing, this is great advertising for these businesses, so you’ll likely not have any challenge here.
    3. Decide how you’d like to raise funds (or not). Some non-profits are charging people to enter the tournament, a nominal fee, like $10 or $20. Depending on the prizes available, and presuming people support your cause, this is a fairly easy sell. Alternatively, you may choose to do the tournament free and just solicit financial sponsors. If you get one sponsor who wants exposure and to be affiliated with your awesome organization and with an awesome event like a sustainability board game, you’re golden. Depending on how many people you’ll promote the event to and how many will show, you might charge $250 or even $500 for the event sponsor. One last way to make money, of course, is to sell board games. We’ll give you a really nice share of the price.
    4. Promote! Once you’ve worked out the logistics of venue, date/time, and funding, you’re ready to promote. Check out first and foremost. In Meetup, you can search for groups that are gamers and groups that are sustainability-oriented, or outdoorsy. Send a message to the organizer and ask if they’d be willing to help you by simply copying and pasting your email to them into an email to their group. We’ve been running Meetup groups for about 5 years now and believe us, we’re always looking for cool events we can just promote and piggyback on so that we don’t have to do all the planning ourselves. So you’re likely to find a lot of folks willing to invite their lists. If you want to use a pre-made email, we can send you a template! No problem…just pop us a line ( and we’ll send it to you so you can use it for these emails and for the Facebook event….
    5. Create a Facebook event for the game tournament and invite your friends.
    6. Make sure to send out GBO Hawaii strategy tips…just in case people are the competitive type! 🙂  We definitely advise that you or someone else get familiar with the game to help explain it to people…like most games, the first time you play, it can be a bit confusing. Just check out the “how to play” section here.
    7. Then let the fun really begin! Running the tournament basically means you’ll want to just help people understand how to play and then be available to answer questions (and to watch and enjoy peoples’ strategies…will they become solar barons or corner the market on alternative transportation?  🙂
    8. As games end, tally scores. You can do it quick and dirty on pieces of paper, or you can use an Excel Spreadsheet…up to you! Rank players based on their performance in 5 categories:

At the end of the game, add up all the dumptrucks, oil barrels, “FOOD” cans, green jobs, and money that each person has.

The first four are easy–just add the icons on the business cards they’ve invested in. For “FOOD”, oil and dumptrucks, simply add the number of those icons inside the red circles.  If the person has this business in front of them, then, you’d give them 3 barrels of oil.

For jobs, you add all the icons of entrepreneurs and green collar workers on the businesses they’ve got. In this case, this person would get credit for creating 4 jobs.

For money, add the figures on the left side of the card (Investment), plus their cash on hand at the end of the game to give them a total net worth.



Sum these totals up like so:

These are just the totals that the person did during the game. The guy playing with the Humpback whale piece offset two dumptrucks, five barrels of oil, and seven cans of “FOOD”, while creating 12 green jobs and earning about $40K more than he had at the start of the game. In essence, this is their “triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) return on investment”! Yes, they’re making money (profit), but they’re also replacing dirty energy with clean, processed/imported/GMO “FOOD” with real, local food, and decreasing waste (planet), all the while creating good jobs and a healthier Hawaii (people).

Now…rank each performance metric, like so (GR stands for Game Rank):

Across the first row, the monk seal had the most dumptrucks, so he got the first place rank in this game for waste management. In the second row, the humpback whale offset the most barrels of oil, so he took first place in this game for clean energy development. You get the idea…now, add up all these ranks. The lowest total rank wins the game. In this case, the monk seal wins this game with a total rank of 8, whereas the player using the humpback whale icon finishes second in this game with a total rank of 10.

Got it? Awesome. So now you have individual game winners. Next, let’s figure out who wins the whole tournament (TR means Tournament Rank):

So once you have everyone’s totals in the first column (black numbers), you can compare them across all games in the tournament. So of the 16 people who played in this totally hypothetical tournament, the monk seal offset the most dumptrucks, with four total. The humpback whale offset two, finishing fifth in this category among the 16 players. So do the same process of ranking each player’s performance in the five categories, and rank them of all the people in the tournament. Add up the ranks in the right hand column (in red), and get a total at the bottom. Again…lowest total wins! (…depending on how many players you have, you might want to have a calculator!).

The great part about doing this game tournament style is that there is a lot of unpredictability. In this case, the humpback whale actually beat the monk seal in the tournament, even if he lost head-to-head. How is that possible? Because overall, the humpback whale did really well in all categories, whereas the monk seal did well in several categories, and poorly in a couple, giving him really low ranks among the 16 players in oil and “FOOD”, and causing his overall rank to be lower than the humpback’s. So players should not fret too much about what the other players in the game are doing, but instead go for the best and most well-rounded portfolio of investments!

Cool, huh?  😛


Winners of individual games and of the whole shindig can take home prizes you’ve had donated from local green companies. We’ve had great success with getting prizes donated…a month’s share of organic produce from a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) business, gift certificates for burritos and locally-owned restaurants, LED light bulbs, vegetarian cooking consultations…the sky is the limit!


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