Review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2014

Fate of the World: Tipping Point

Complex global-influence game in which players’ choices rule the world

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Science
  • Social Studies
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
10-12
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Pros: Mission variety, copious data, and an attractive interface engage students and teach global concepts.

Cons: Can feel overwhelming if there's not enough guidance or feedback.

Bottom Line: Complex multi-issue game succeeds in teaching world politics and global development while building perspective and decision-making skills.

Teachers can use Fate of the World as a part of a larger lesson on global studies. It would have the most usefulness if preceeded by broad lessons on world regions, trends, historical choices, and political climate. They can also use it as a platform for a variety of reasoning and long-term strategy exercises.

Extending play into current events would also be an excellent bridge into research and sustainable design projects. Students could take the issue the game engages with and prepare research briefs about the current state of political and scientific developments. Students could then use that information to propose solutions to the problems from either local or global perspectives.

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Fate of the World: Tipping Point is a complex, turn-based strategy game in which players take care of the needs of a growing world population. Players can influence an area with their actions, but it isn't a direct cause-effect action. Everything is interrelated and extremely complicated. Players accept one of nine missions with challenging and dire goals like world peace, population survival, using renewable resources, and keeping Africa sustainable and functional. Each mission has certain win-or-lose conditions. Completing missions requires flexible thinking and the ability to form a strategy around constantly shifting variables. Students have to find a balance among civil unrest, ecological impact, and the safety and satisfaction of the world's citizens. They also must manage resources; money; emissions; supply and demand of oil, coal, and electricity; political intrigue; and more. 

A turn consists of using money to recruit people to whom students assign tasks written on different categories of cards. There are six types of cards, and unlocking the first of each type lets players access other cards in that area. Tasks influence what will happen in that region next. Players then progress the game by five years and reassess the situation, determining the next most viable course of action to meet their goal.

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Students succeed if they can understand and consider the political, economical, societal, technological, and ecological situations in each region and make wise decisions about dealing with them. Many strategies can be used, including trial and error or prioritizing different elements (such as making citizens happier or increasing sustainability). Students learn how to integrate a lot of information into their strategy, but they're kept on their toes: Each mission requires a different strategic approach. 

The depth and breadth of content is where Fate of the World shines. Covering everything from coal shortages to martial law and consumerism, students will juggle so many factors that dozens of actions in many combinations can move the game along. Each combination of factors is unique to the region, so students have to evaluate each factor and region individually. It's similar to playing multiple games at once, each of which affects the others, while finding a balance among them. Because content is based on actual science, students can evaluate the cause and direct effects of events, which they can apply to other subjects in the future.

 

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

It's bold and colorful with a well-executed interface, interesting mechanics, and a variety of challenges offering new learning opportunities at every step. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Students influence the direction of the world, making decisions that force them to think culturally, politically, and environmentally. Their choices have lasting ramifications, which helps them become better decision-makers.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

A tutorial shows players the basics but doesn't doesn't go into much depth. Data abounds, but students must analyze it to extract meaning and consequence. An easy mode is available for new players or those struggling.


Common Sense Reviewer
Jenny Bristol Homeschooling parent

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