Game mechanics based on real-world statistics

ECOPOLIS was designed to emulate what happens when countries move along the path to development. The game mechanics was derived from a statistical analysis of real-world indicators for 140 countries.

This e-book contains everything you need to know about this analysis, including data sources, methodology, and hypotheses that try to make sense of the correlations that feed the game.


Game-based learning for sustainable development

Our Workshops and Modules use ECOPOLIS as a central tool to facilitate learning.

Human development patterns are rapidly consuming the planet’s natural resources. Why is this happening? What can we do about it?

By relying on real-world statistics, the gameplay allows players to better visualize the not-so-obvious connections between environmental, social and economic factors (while playing!).

ECOPOLIS for your organization

Our participatory Workshops:

  • Create a fertile environment for knowledge sharing, debate and insights
  • Promote an ideal of development based on ecological, social, and environmental sustainability
  • Help strengthen the work environment, fostering leadership skills and teamwork
Number of participants Duration Languages
6-18 2 hours English / Spanish

Certificate of completion endorsed by the International Center for Sustainable Development (CIDES) at the City of Knowledge.

Sustainability in depth

This 16-hour module explores the complexities of sustainable development through multiple ECOPOLIS sessions under different game modalities (all based on real-world scenarios). We also rely on supplementary materials, such as documentary videos, literary references, and a few other serious games.

The course syllabus covers concepts such as: biocapacity and ecological footprint, human development index, climate change, global population growth, global consumption patterns, social inequality, natural metabolism vs. urban metabolism, re-thinking the triple bottom line (nature, society, economy), natural resources, renewable resources, and ecosystem services.

Number of participants Duration Languages
6-18 16 hours English / Spanish

Certificate of completion endorsed by the International Center for Sustainable Development (CIDES) at the City of Knowledge.

Why game-based learning?

It is undeniable that human development patterns are depleting our planet’s natural resources. Yet, many people still have difficulties when trying to understand why and how this is happening.

The vast majority of tools for Sustainable Development education involve a passive audience (books, videos, lectures), and thus face an uphill battle to arouse the public’s interest.

Game-based learning initiatives emerge as an alternative to fix this situation, promoting active learning, strategic thinking and problem solving skills. Their results have been proven worldwide, and the offer is growing rapidly, on its way to becoming the future of education.

Habitat Games

HABITAT Games is a game design studio based in Panama City, Panama. Its mission is to promote ecological thinking and sustainable development through game-based learning.The creation of HABITAT Games has been made possible by a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), channeled through the Panamanian government’s National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation (SENACYT).

Andrés Tarté

Andrés Tarté an Industrial Engineer (USMA 2001), with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and Graduate studies in Sustainability (Michigan Technological University, 2009); he is a Fulbright Scholar, designer of ECOPOLIS, and founder of HABITAT Games.

His Masters Research thesis: Identifying Indicators of Sustainable Development Using the Global Sustainability Quadrant Approach, is available for download here.

Our History

Andrés Tarté began to explore issues related to sustainable development from an early age, inspired by his father, hero and mentor, Rodrigo.

Rodrigo Tarte P. (1936-2011) was a prominent Panamanian scientist, and sustainability advocate. Through his many roles as a researcher, educator, consultant, and head of NGOs and international organizations, he grew increasingly concerned about the way human development patterns are depleting the planet’s natural resources.

He was a champion for integrated knowledge management approaches for sustainable development, but was particularly frustrated by the ineffectiveness of conventional methods to communicate such vital knowledge. He knew that a different approach was needed to mainstream sustainability awareness –perhaps one that was game-based–, and inspired Andrés to come up with possible game mechanics.

A few good ideas came up, but they could not escape the usual “trivia question” mechanic. What they needed was a strategy game, one that had multidisciplinary decision-making at its core, and reflected what happens in the real world. So the idea was put on hold, left to flourish in the back of the mind…

Then one day, while Andrés was attending one of those lectures that invite daydreaming, the premise for what eventually became ECOPOLIS came to him in a flash. Rodrigo loved it from the start and remained actively involved in its development until his untimely departure. His passing brought much dismay into Andres’ life, but he never lost the determination to see his father’s vision fulfilled.

Since then, many prototypes have been designed, tested, and modified –with priceless feedback and support from numerous parties–, to arrive at the board game we have today.


Game Design: Andrés Tarté

Art Design: Stephanie Sanz

Graphic Design / Video Animation: Luis F. Sosa

3D Design: Jonathan Guerra

Photos: Alvaro Ching Photography

Website: Yunke, Inc.


P.O. Box 0832-02314, Panama
+(507) 6615-9028