The Metagame

Forums, fan groups, Let’s Plays, E-Sports commentary, UGC, and/or modding communities can add depth and meaning to the experience.


Civilization’s decision to include industrial impacts to the environment in-game has created organic opportunities for their fan communities to have conversations about environmentalism – tying their need for strategy to real-world issues and outcomes.


  • The metagame can help players acquire new patterns of behavior and action if psychological safety, trust, and social cohesion are established. Players are more likely to adopt behaviors from players and characters they identify with.
  • Social support is critical for all types of learning. Research indicates groups take on their own learning cultures when supported by a community of peers (Greeno & Engestrom 2014; Lave, 1991). 


  • Define a clear purpose for the community, and its intended outcomes that will add value for the players.
  • Be mindful that long-term behavior change takes time, and requires sustained engagement with a supportive community who can learn and grow together. To support this, consider:
    • Allowing the community to drive inquiry. 
    • Providing opportunities for reflection without judgment.
    • Connecting players to opportunities that allow them to directly act on their intentions. Partner with advocacy organizations known for real-world activities relevant to those goals. This can increase the legitimacy of your game and decrease the pressure to create and sustain these activities independently.

From the Environmental Game Design Playbook
– by IGDA Climate SIG