Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Fight the Power! Games, Thermostats, and the Energy Patriarchy

Horn, Michael; Davis, Pryce; Banerjee, Amartya; Stevens, Reed


Michael Horn

Assistant Professor in Learning Sciences

Amartya Banerjee

Reed Stevens


Confronting issues of global climate change will require creative approaches to energy consumption across a range of human activities. This design case looks at the evolution of a physical/digital hybrid board game that we created to encourage families to reflect on household energy consumption and environmental sustainability. Design in this context was particularly challenging due to the nature of household heating and cooling systems, which tend to be opaque and difficult to understand. Our challenge was to employ game mechanics to help build up interest, awareness, and understanding of heating and cooling systems, while at the same time providing an enjoyable and engaging activity. Through many rounds of playtesting and interviews, we converged on the design presented here. We start with a conceptual framework describing modern energy practices, after which we describe the game design and reflect on its strengths and weaknesses.


Horn, M., Davis, P., Banerjee, A., & Stevens, R. (2020). Fight the Power! Games, Thermostats, and the Energy Patriarchy. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 11(2), 118-129.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 8, 2020
Online Publication Date May 21, 2020
Publication Date May 18, 2020
Deposit Date May 25, 2020
Publicly Available Date May 27, 2020
Journal International Journal of Designs for Learning
Print ISSN 2159-449X
Electronic ISSN 2159-449X
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 2
Pages 118-129
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations