Living in Harmony

Jessica Phillips spent seven weeks camping on Nelson Island on the Antarctic Peninsula while studying penguins as part of her PhD in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey. She had minimal internet access so she began designing a board game about our experiences there to provide the team with some entertainment. She started by sketching the tents they were staying in, then decided to create a penguin and a seal character. As weather essentially dictated their lives, she created six weather conditions that changed frequently. She also created event cards that encapsulated the challenges the team faced – getting trapped in the tents for 36 hours because of a storm, and her most desperate hopes as her supply of chocolate dwindled – getting a chocolate drop-off from Rothera (the biggest British base on Antarctica).

Each character had its own objective, and the one who achieved it first won the game. The penguins needed to travel to sea and catch enough krill to feed their chick, the seal needed to eat penguins and bite the researcher, and the researcher wanted to get foraging data back from the penguin and seal and make a trip to the rather isolated toilet. Think you would win at this game? Come and have a try! By Jessica Phillips from the University of Oxford.