New web presence

Thank you for visiting

As of December 2019, this site has moved. For information on Michael Timm's original Great Lakes board game, please visit the Mussel Madness page at!

Over a hundred games are in the world thanks to great community support. If you would like to play, check out one of two games from the Cudahy Family Library (free for valid Milwaukee County library card holders) or contact Michael at the site above to learn more.

The Story

When Michael Alan Timm was working as a local journalist in Milwaukee he was amazed to discover a story of ecological disaster happening right in his own backyard: Lake Michigan.


Mussels hitchhiking aboard ocean ships had infiltrated the Great Lakes, proliferated, and dramatically re-routed the flow of energy through aquatic food webs. It was a story with far-reaching implications. But because the drama played out underwater, to many people it seemed invisible.


Michael is a writer passionate about engaging and connecting diverse audiences. With a master's degree in freshwater science, his mission is to bridge the gap between science and the public.


He sensed the opportunity to bridge this gap. Michael created a game that uses the story of the mussel invasion to engage kids--and adults--about the Great Lakes.


Mussel Madness, his original board game, makes the mussel invasion tangible. Players choose to cooperate or compete as they discover connections between environment and economy in the race to save their Great Lakes.


But the game does more than engage players about the value of the Great Lakes. Mussel Madness motivates the next generation toward strategic cooperation, holistic thinking, and love of our planet.


Most of allit's fun!

want to play?

Mussel Madness is an original board game by Michael Alan Timm that challenges players to save the Great Lakes.

A successful Kickstarter campaign brought 100 limited-edition copies of this game into the world in 2016.

A list of Milwaukee-area schools with copies of Mussel Madness will appear at this site later in 2017.

If your organization or school would like to schedule a Mussel Madness play session, presentation, or other event, please contact me to inquire for rates/availability at least two weeks in advance of your target dates.


I can bring games for as few as three or as many as 30 players. Each game is for 2-5 players, generally ages 10 and up. A typical game lasts about an hour.

Please note that you are able to view the eight-minute companion film, Life in Our Lake, from this website for free.

Contact me

Attn: Mussel Madness play session

platypus [dot] found [at] yahoo [dot] com

Companion Curriculum

Mussel Madness is a fun game that stands alone.


I like to call it a fun game that educates rather than an educational game. I find that it lives up to this billing. 

However, educators and homeschoolers will also find the game a powerful tool to motivate learning. To provide guidance and resources along these lines, I have created a companion curriculum. The main purpose of this 32-page document is to guide teachers to integrate gameplay into their lesson plans.


The curriculum has content and activities for both grades 4-5 and grades 6-8, although it may also be applicable for high-school students.


The curriculum is modular and also links to additional resources that educators may find meaningful even if they do not own a copy of Mussel Madness. The modules with wider relevance are themed around Watersheds, Invasives, Stormwater, and Costs & Benefits.

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Terms & Conditions

The curriculum is available here for download without cost; however, I ask you to send me your contact information through the form below if you choose to download it. Please include your name and email, the name of any organization you intend to share it with/in, the target demographics you serve, and any other institutional affiliation that helps me track the wider impact of Mussel Madness.

Once you have let me know who you are, what you're up to, and whom you serve, you are free to reproduce or print the curriculum document internally as you see fit.


You do not have permission to share the curriculum document more widely, to send it outside your household/organization, to host or post it anywhere, or to represent it as your own.

You do have permission to link to this page and refer others to download the document here according to the terms above. 

Your downloading the document from this page affirms that you agree to the terms above. If you do not agree, do not download the document.

Other Great Curricular Resources

Port Exploreum Watershed Curriculum

The Port Exploreum in Port Washington, Wis. commissioned a marvelous free curriculum package called the Lake Michigan Learning Lab. Created by educational consultant Dave Libert, the LMLL serves educators of the middle- and high-school grades who will find overlaps with the Mussel Madness curriculum’s Watershed and Stormwater modules. The LMLL goes far beyond what is offered here, however, with detailed lesson plans and exercises touching on other water science activities for younger and older learners. The LMLL also builds a curricular scaffold around the Port Exploreum’s Virtual Watershed interactive touch table, which group student tours can experience during field trips. The Virtual Watershed exposes students to some of the trade-offs between economic and environmental choices and consequences also experienced in Mussel Madness. In the Virtual Watershed, students design different land uses for agricultural, suburban, urban, and industrial areas and discover how the land uses they select impact water quality in their watershed. This exhibit launched in late 2016. Despite its name, the curriculum is viable even if your school is not in a watershed that drains to Lake Michigan.

Green Schools Consortium of Milwaukee

The Green Schools Consortium of Milwaukee is a network of K-12 educators sharing best practices to integrate green infrastructure and water/energy sustainability projects into curriculum. An annual conference occurs in June. Resources are available through GSCM processes to jump-start school green infrastructure projects and help organize internal school “green teams” who operate and maintain built projects over time.

*The author is or has been involved with both referenced entities.