Craft By Zen

Save The Coral Reef

A Science Hack Day SF 2015 hack.

Unfinished Website | Github Page


Coral reefs are regarded as rainforests of the sea. They are a delicate ecosystem that must be preserved as they bring wonder and excitement. They are also habitat to species that make up our interconnected food chain.

This cooperative board game is to help kids understand what impacts coral reefs and they can do about it.

This much is certain: We have the power to damage the sea, but no sure way to heal the harm.
— Dr. Sylvia Earle, “Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans”

Game Details



Players will play cooperatively to construct a healthy coral reef in order to combat natural or human-created events. At the start of each round, an event will occur and each player can play an action to counteract the effects of the event. The objective of the game is to have more color coral than white coral on your game board.


There is one central gaming board, a cluster of white coral and colorful coral, and a deck of event and action cards. The gaming board represents the coral reef ecosystem. The white coral represents dead coral. The colorful coral represents living coral. The event cards represents random events that may harm or help the coral ecosystem. The action cards represents player behaviors that may harm or help the coral ecosystem.


Start with one blank board. Shuffle the event cards and color cards and place them faced down in their respective decks.

Draw three action cards for each player.

The person who was drawn to last plays first. The game will continue counter clockwise.

Basic Game Structure

Start the timer at 5 minutes. At the beginning of each round, reveal an event will occur and each player will have to play one action from their hand. At the end of each round, each player draws an action card to replenish their hand of three actions.

Specific Game Structure

At the start of the round, reveal an event. Read the event to the group and follow the instructions on the card. For example, if the card says to add one white coral, place one white coral on the game board.

After the event card has been played, each player will play an action starting with the player that was dealt last. That player will read the card to the group and follow the instructions on the card. For example, if the card says to add one color coral, place one color coral.

If the card gives two options, the player must always pick the first option unless the player can not do that action. For example, if there are no white coral on the game board, and the card gives the first option to remove a white coral, the player must choose the second option, for example add one color coral.

Ending the Game

The game ends when the timer runs out. Tally the number of white and color coral. Take the number of color coral and subtract that from the white coral. If the number is positive, your team wins. If it is negative, your team loses.

In the event there are no coral on the board, your team loses.


Last Updated: