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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggie-created board game teaches players about ecosystems

Photo by Provided

VIXIV players learn to overcome environmental obstacles, including pollution, disasters and overpopulation.

Players race to build the strongest ecosystem with ever-changing elements including viral outbreaks, pollution and overpopulation in a new board game designed by Aggies.
While driving back from a wildlife education presentation, Dillon Jones, Class of 2018, and Corey Batson, Class of 2016, decided they wanted to create an enjoyable way for kids to learn about the environment. The pair combined the fun and strategy of a board game with educational components about ecology to create VIXIV: The Game of Survival. In VIXIV, players are tasked with creating the perfect ecosystem while trying to thwart their opponent’s ecosystem. The founders are working to raise $25,000 by Feb. 8 so they can sell the game online and in brick-and-mortar stores.
In VIXIV, there are seven boards that each represent different ecosystems for players to choose from. Cards depicting types of events such as “wildfire” are disasters that might be used to damage the ecosystems and make the game fall into disarray. The goal is to gather the most points throughout the game by mastering species interaction and survival.
Batson said that while the game is meant to be fun and competitive, the educational aspect was heavily emphasized when the game was being created.
“As we developed it, we all worked together to create a game that can actually teach you while you play,” Batson said. “It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be very upfront or on the nose about what it teaches you, but by simply playing and learning how to play in a natural way, you’ll actually learn how animals interact with each other, how they interact with the ecosystem and how the ecosystem can affect them.”
Communications director for VIXIV and Class of 2019, Andrea Lloyd, said the game can help people understand scientific concepts in an innovative way, and they can use that knowledge in their everyday lives.
“Science is only becoming more involved with our world, whether it be climate change or the foods that we eat,” Lloyd said. “I really love how this game can teach concepts to people and then they can see how that works in their own life, whether it’s understanding how legislation works or understanding how a food network puts food on the dinner table.”
While VIXIV’s educational aspect is beneficial, Jones said the game is also enjoyable for people who aren’t necessarily looking to learn about ecology.
“We try to make the game where fun is the primary goal, but education is a secondary part of it,” said Jones. “That being said, if you have no interest in animals and wildlife, you will still play this board game and absolutely have fun with it.”
To learn more about VIXIV, visit

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