Voltivity is an exciting new card game where players take turns to create volcanic eruptions in a competitive environment and hopefully learn something on the way! The name comes from the genius combination of "Volcanic Activity". Voltivity is turn-based, with players collecting different cards to make different eruptions - termed "volcano recipes" - which involve mixing different magmas, crystals, gas, and also water. For example, want to make a strombolian eruption? Collect some gas and basaltic magma cards. Players can also trade in-between turns adding a bit of communication and a competitive streak to the game.
Why did I make the game? I have always enjoyed designing different activities for my modules to depart from the lecture format. In a third year module "Applied Volcanology" I already run virtual reality sessions, have a volcano challenge based assessment (see here), and include a science communication piece. One of the aspects of modules towards the end of the degree I have always wanted to bolster is the refresher of content covered earlier in the course (Week 1 content). Any way to make these parts a bit more fun is a win for me. Hence the idea behind this card game, as a way of refreshing the topic and important terms that will come up a lot during module content, getting the students to think about science communication, but also having a bit of fun in a module. I also get the students to play Volcano Top Trumps with science communication hats on as quick warm up. Comparing and contrasting the two games (Voltivity and Volcano Top Trumps) then provides a lot of potential for discussion.
The main aim of Voltivity is to create as many volcanic eruptions as possible, the person with the most points at the end of the game, wins! There is a limit to the number of styles of volcanic activity which can happen per game and the types of magma needed to create these eruptions. This is an attempt to get the students to think about the take home points from the game. For example, the number of volcanic activity styles available for eruption is modelled on real-world volcanic activity frequency. There are lots of lava flows and strombolian eruptions available for people to produce. Likewise there are far more Basalt cards available than Rhyolite. If you want to produce an Ultra-Plinian eruption then there is only one of these available in the game, but it is worth a whole 10 points. This brings a bit of fun strategy to the game. The rarer or more dangerous the eruption - the more points you get - but the more difficult it is to "erupt".
Another element to the game are the bonus cards, I won't list them all here, but include cards such as the exsolution bonus, which counts as two gases, and the false alarm bonus, which forces an opponent to remove a volcano of their choosing from an opponent - perhaps that rare Ultra-Plinian event. My favourite part is the "Dante's Peaking" rule, if you can't create a feasible eruption based on the cards you have, then the whole pile of cards goes.
So that's a quick look at Voltivity! A big thanks to Tehnuka Ilanko and Thomas Wilkes who helped with an early prototype of the game. Voltivity can be seen in action below.