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LET NEW-GEN TALK ABOUT ENERGY SUSTAINABILITY. Three Winning Teams Share Their Experience of Joining a Board Game Design Contest in the “Energy on Board by BANPU B-Sports Thailand”

LET NEW-GEN TALK ABOUT ENERGY SUSTAINABILITY. Three Winning Teams Share Their Experience of Joining a Board Game Design Contest in the “Energy on Board by BANPU B-Sports Thailand”

Teenagers and games are made for each other. When it comes to playing games, you probably think of getting together with friends, whether online or face-to-face, and having some fun and laugh, relaxing time, or simply curing loneliness. On the other hand, some people may have questions like… what are the benefits of playing game anyway? Would it be better to spend time reading books or doing something more beneficial than this instead? …

If you ask “Sun – Vanawat Maneechote”, a sophomore student from the Industrial Design Program, School of Architecture and Design, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), and one of NongPedTheCat’s team members who has received the first prize winner from the Energy on Board by BANPU B-Sports Thailand program in the year 2020, he would say otherwise. He told us that “I grew up loving and playing games. Game is my life. And when a game lover like me got to know “board game”, it was like opening up a new world. The board game’s unique charm, the touch of its materials, and the communication and interaction between players make me feel that just playing is not enough. So, I ask myself… what if I want to create an awesome board game, can I do it?”

That was the reason why Sun has teamed up with three other friends – “Chef – Noppadol Shaoquan” and “Ohm – Wittawin Archanupurb” which are his university friends at KMUTT, and “Tangkwa – Patharaporn Jivanagosolwon, another friend who is an Interactive and Multimedia Design student from the College of Social Communication Innovation Interaction at Srinakharinwirot University. They called themselves “NongPedTheCat” and applied for a board game design contest under the Energy on Board by BANPU B-Sports Thailand program organized by Banpu Public Company Limited.

Energy on Board judges led by Mr. Rattapon Sukhunthee, Head of Corporate Communications of Banpu Public Company Limited (center), Mr. Wattanachai Treedecha (2nd left), board game designer and producer of “Board Game Night”

Speaking of Banpu’s intention to organize a board game design contest this time, Mr. Rattapon Sukhunthee, Head of Corporate Communications of Banpu Public Company Limited, said, “Banpu has seen the popularity of board game among young generation. In addition to the fact that it creates fun and great interactions between players, board game design also helps develop creativity and design thinking processes, not to mention the communications experience players would receive. Moreover, Banpu is widely recognized as a leading energy company committed to transforming into an environmentally friendly energy business. We also want to strengthen the knowledge and understanding of energy sustainability for young generation. We think that if we bring board game as a tool, it makes talking about sustainable energy which many people may find it difficult easier to understand, and more interesting too. As such, Banpu has collaborated with Mr. Wattanachai Treedecha, board game designer and producer of “Board Game Night” or “BGN”, a board game cast online program attracting the biggest audience in Thailand, to organize this activity to allow students to showcase their talents, creativity, and unlock potentials through the process of designing and developing board games.”

What is interesting about this board game design contest is each contestant’s thinking process of creating a board game with an “energy sustainability” theme. Usually, when talking about energy sustainability, it consists of three components – affordability, reliability, and eco-friendliness. All of which is a propose of Banpu’s business operations.

Members from NongPedTheCat, the winning team of Energy on Board by BANPU B-Sports Thailand

NongPedTheCat began by indulging themselves in the information they could gather on Banpu’s website to look up details like what kind of energy business Banpu does. The next step is balancing all these complicated pieces of information with board game design and making it fun yet knowledgeable. Eventually, they came up with a board game, “Recharge”, designed in the form of Pool Building game where players take on a private electricity producer’s role in a gigantic animal city. If you are wondering… yes! The team has a “Zootopia” movie as their inspiration too!

Recharge board game – players will need to allocate resources and make development plans to generate electricity in reliable, sustainable, and environmental-friendly ways to meet the rapidly growing demand as businesses and industries are growing.

In “Recharge”, players need to allocate resources and plan their development to generate electricity in reliable, sustainable, and environmental-friendly ways to meet a rapidly increasing demand from the growing business and industry. If the player chooses to use only clean energy, the city may not develop as quickly as others. But if a large number of conventional energy generation is chosen and no technology reduces carbon dioxide emissions, even if they can make the city develop rapidly, players would receive pollution tokens as a plus, ultimately cutting their score at the end of the game. This game takes the fun of outsmarting others while balancing energy management to become the winner in the end.

What’s interesting about NongPedTheCat’s working process is how all members decided that “Ohm” should be the team’s researcher. He is not a board game fanatic like Sun but keens on researching, translating of the contest requirements, and sharing them with friends. He started by picking up the key points about energy sustainability to design the game’s plot. Besides, attending workshops to learn more about energy with experts from government agencies and Banpu employees who came to share knowledge and gave advice was genuinely inspiring to grasp new ideas for the board game design, Ohm added.

Thanks to the precise roles and constant idea-sharing, combined with creativity and commitment, Recharge became a game that presented a good balance of energy sustainability knowledge and finally won the judges’ hearts at the end of the competition.

What about the other teams? How did they choose to design their energy sustainability board game, and what they experienced joining this competition?

CO-BLOC team who won the first runner-up award from Energy on Board by BANPU B-Sports Thailand

CO-BLOC, another team of students from the Product Design department of the Faculty of Decorative Arts, Silpakorn University, that received the first runner-up award in this contest, chose to create a strategy board game with the same name “CO-BLOC.” The game was built on the fundamental of their dissertation project in a sustainable design course. They need to design a smart city that focuses on sustainable building management. However, after joining the Energy on Board program, the team shifted their focus to the ideal smart city design. In the new board game they have created, players must manage energy demands, resources, and carbon footprint in order to work together to build a sustainable smart city.

CO-BLOC – a game inspired by smart city and clean energy. Players need to work together to create an ideal sustainable smart city through limited resource allocation and balanced energy management.

“Ayce – Satita Saengsawat” and her teammates consisting of “Ball – Nolthawat Jattawee”, “French – Athikaphan Chaowakul” and ” Mee – Danita Deeprasittikul”, recalled “It’s perfect that we started on building smart city board game. When we passed the qualification round to become one of the 10 finalists, we had an opportunity to see the real smart city, or smart campus system at Rugby School Thailand in Chonburi. We have seen clearly that we can add knowledge of clean energy planning and management, and technology application for developing smarter city into our board game.” Everyone has brought their best capability to this competition. And that explained how the materials, items, and structures of the CO-BLOC game were unique, unlike traditional paper card games.

Hyphen team who was awarded the second runner-up at Energy on Board by BANPU B-Sports Thailand

The second runner-up team, “Hyphen”, was a team-up between “Tan – Cholthicha Darakantron” and “Di – Bamrungsak Sawisi”, two students from the Faculty of Education, Mahasarakham University. They present the board game called “Energy Startups” that simulated the situation when Thailand faces an increasing environmental crisis. Therefore, the government allows investors to own concessions in various provinces to establish renewable power plants. The game’s concept is “Boost your energy up for all,” where players will have to assume an energy investor’s role and bring happiness back to people living in the concession area by eco-friendly energy allocation that is suitable to the needs of each province.

Energy Startups – the game simulates the situation when Thailand faces an escalating environmental crisis. Who will be the favored energy investor that brings smiles to people with renewable energy and leads everyone to energy sustainability?

Tan and Di mentioned that participating in the Energy on Board project allowed them to develop themselves to gain more knowledge about the energy they had never known before. “I think this program will help inspire everyone to become more and more interested in energy. Energy is all around in everyday life and drives our activities from a small household scale to social, economic, and national development. Moreover, by increasing our knowledge of energy through joining the competition, we learn that sustainable energy requires everyone’s cooperation. If we can properly balance the use of conventional energy together with renewable one, the future of energy sustainability is not very far away.”

The Energy on Board by BANPU B-Sports Thailand project allows university students to do what they love in a new context and challenging topics outside the classroom. Follow us to see what would happen next this year! For more information and updates on the project, please visit BANPU B-Sports Thailand Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/BanpuBSportsThailand.

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About Energy on Board by BANPU B-Sports Thailand
Banpu Public Company Limited has organized BANPU B-Sports Thailand for the third consecutive year, aiming to support board game, a creative learning tool, to be more widely known especially among young generations because board games help develop soft skills that are essential for life and work. In 2020, the company was committed to enhancing the knowledge and understanding of “energy sustainability” for young generation and public. Therefore, the “Energy on Board” project has been organized to allow university students to compete in a board game design contest with the energy sustainability theme.

About Banpu
Banpu Public Company Limited is an international versatile energy provider with 3 core groups of businesses: energy resources, energy generation and energy technology in 10 countries — Thailand, Indonesia, China, Australia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Singapore, Japan, the United States of America and Vietnam.

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