I'm searching for an old game, at least 25 years old, in which you play an industry nation and most of the time you loose against the game. At the heart of the game was a "prisoner dilemma". It think it was an international game, but maybe it was published only in Germany.

What I can remember about the game:

  • Each player led a nation. Each nation had 10 (?) fields.
  • In each round the players could choose to build a heavy polluting factory, a green factory and/or cleaning up pollution. Each factory was put on one field.
  • Your income was dependent on the number of factories you owned.
  • The player with the best industry won the game if (a big IF) Earth was still livable at the end of the game. If Earth wasn't livable anymore, the game won.
  • All factory pollution (of all nations) increased an overall counter of pollution. If the pollution counter moved above a threshold, X percent of Earth became uninhabitable. The nation fields were reduced by overall pollution. For example, if the overall pollution reached some threshold only 70% of Earth was still livable. Thus, all nations can only use 7 of 10 fields.
  • Unusable fields were marked with a pollution token.
  • Not all pollution was determined by overall pollution. A nation could be much more polluted than the overall pollution by bad luck and/or player actions.
  • The best strategy was to build many heavy polluting factories because they were much cheaper than the greener factories. If you built only green factories your income was too low to win the game. However, if all players built many heavy polluting industries this led to a barely habitable world early in the game. Eventually the game won, i.e. Earth was completely polluted.

I think the package was blue with a drawing of the Earth, but I'm not sure about this at all.

  • 1
    This sounds like a public goods game rather than a prisoner's dilemma
    – Zags
    Jul 26, 2021 at 18:58
  • There doesn't seem to be anything really at all close to your description in the Climate Change theme on BGG, but just posting the link in case something there triggers your memory. Jul 27, 2021 at 17:43
  • @Zags: Fair point. I agree, it's a public goods game. Jul 28, 2021 at 18:15

2 Answers 2


It took me some hours googling, but finally I've got lucky! The name of the game is Vertigo.

I found it here. It was published 1990.

This is the cover of the game.

enter image description here

  • Oh, for flip's sake. This is in the Climate Change theme on BGG, I just failed to click on the "See All (27)" button and so only looked at the first six! Jul 28, 2021 at 20:31

It could be CO2. I haven't played this so I don't know if it ticks all the boxes on your list. However it is a semi-coop game which means everyone is competing but if everyone does whatever will profit them most individually the game will end prematurely with everyone losing. It has an environmental theme.

Here's the Boardgamegeek entry which gives an overview of the game play. https://boardgamegeek.com/image/1350204/co and here's a picture of the cover, which is kind of round and a little blue so might be what you were thinking of.

box art

  • 1
    CO₂ was released in 2012. While the original poster may have got their dates a bit wrong, it seems unlikely they would be out by 12+ years. Jul 27, 2021 at 17:35

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