From engineering bacteria that degrade plastics to microbes that produce antibiotics, fuel and vegan milk, synthetic biology is revolutionizing the world as we know it. Soon, this discipline will enable applications that would have sounded like sci-fi a decade ago, in sectors as diverse as energy sourcing, health or agriculture. However, behind these applications, there are concepts that are not easily understood by everyone.  At Rafts 4 Biotech, we wanted to solve this by bringing synthetic biology a little closer to all of us, our young audience in particular, with our latest idea – games!

It may sound unorthodox, but games have remarkable advantages in conveying complex concepts to an audience. Game players are continuously engaged and therefore, they are more likely to learn faster from mistakes, collaboration and task completion. So, by turning scientific information into games, we aim to facilitate a better understanding of otherwise difficult topics to the non-technical audience. This strategy called gamification i.e., the use of game design elements in non-game contexts, has increased in popularity in recent years.

For example, when the European Science Foundation along with the Austrian Science Fund wanted to teach how synthetic biology is used to create novel antibiotics for killing drug-resistant bacteria, they created the game Synmod. By playing this game, players could learn about some dangerous drug-resistant bugs, the science behind their development and ways to tackle them through antibiotics, among many other scientific concepts.

Here at Rafts4Biotech, we wanted to explore this idea, and that’s how Rafts! was born. By playing our card game, you´ll learn about the production of new drugs and many other applications of synthetic biology by designing bacteria that carry out these tasks. What’s more, all the applications and bacteria that appear in the game exist in real life! The gameplay involves choosing the proper genes, acquiring resources such as time, money and food, and competing with sabotage-minded opponents to be the first in achieving the goal!

So put yourself in the shoes of a synthetic biologist by going to our landing page and downloading the game in PDF format – for free! The game can also be delivered to you or someone else on your behalf through our print-on-demand service – you’ll only be charged for manufacturing and shipping. Learning about synbio has never been so easy and fun – what are you waiting for?