NEXUS Climate Games

Science Education Solutions and the Institute for STEM Education have created two challenging, fun-to-play, card games in which game play allows the exploration an important challenge faced by our society, the interdependence of energy demand, water availability, and climate change; this we call the Nexus of Energy, Water, and Climate.

Thirst for Power



You are the governor of a region and must provide  energy for your citizens to thrive. The challenge is that all forms of  energy generation (power) use up water resources and have an environmental impact. Every region has limited water and an environmental impact limit based on their energy needs. New technologies and changes in government policies create a mix of game changing turns as you try to maximize your energy with the minimum use of water and environmental impact!

Can your strategy achieve your region’s clean power (energy) goals or will your region succumb wasted water and a high environmental impact?

Thirst for Power is a real-life strategy game where the player has to plan and customize their region using cost-benefit analysis, resource management, new technologies, and policy-making. You win by being the first governor to balance your regions’ thirst for energy with its limited water supply, and without exceeding your pollution limit. This highly addictive and educational game was developed with funding from the National Science Foundation.

Here’s is what educators and game enthusiasts have said about Thirst for Power:

Thirst for Power … delivers on all counts. The Goals are practical and not over-inflated, and the Actions contain a diverse and accurate representation of available resources and how they are managed. But what really sells this activity is that it provides a healthy dose of friendly competition for students to get engaged with and makes them think about complex interrelationships among climate, water, and energy.”

– Mike Jensen, Science Gallery and Planetarium Programs Supervisor, Manitoba Museum

“If you’re looking for a game to simulate sustainable development, widen your understanding of resource limitations, and inspire you to tackle the biggest challenges of our time, [Thirst for Power] is for you.”

– Adam Powers, Operations Analyst, Clean Choice Energy


Challenge and Persuade



In the Challenge and Persuade game, players develop arguments, challenge others’ ideas, and try to persuade a judge that they have the best factual argument. The playing cards provide easy-to-read facts for any level player to construct an argument around one of the nexus topics. Challenge and Persuade is a fun and social card game that challenges players to think about the choices we have in balancing our need for water and energy with the challenge of minimizing climate change.

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Resources for Learning

The Nexus Concept: An Overview

Focus on the Nexus: A  selection of articles that specifically illustrate the Nexus concept.

In the Classroom: Illustrations of how instructors might use the games and the Resource Library in the classroom.

Nexus Resource Library: Extensive collection of accessible articles related to the Nexus concept.

Common Core Standards and NGSS Alignment