Fun for the Whole Family
Mussel Madness is the perfect game for family game nights. It takes about an hour for 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up. Kids who love games can play among themselves. Adults will also enjoy learning about the Great Lakes and competing or cooperating with their kids.
Some games tend more toward strategy, others more toward trivia, while in still others the Great Lakes teeter on the brink of survival! Sometimes the Mussels just won't stop multiplying! Sometimes you just can't seem to get rid of Al G! Sometimes players earn a lot of Fish Bucks and have to decide if it's worth it to spend them on a Research Fund. Throw in Cost & Benefit cards that shake things up, and each game is truly unique.
Mussel Madness is the perfect gift for a family who loves games and the natural world. It's also a great choice for families who love the Great Lakes, whether through sailing, fishing, swimming, hiking, camping, or living nearby. The game can also introduce or deepen that love for those who may not yet fully appreciate how we are connected through our shared Great Lakes. But even players who don't live near the lakes have found the gameplay engaging.
Mussel Madness joins the ranks of "cooperative" games where players compete against a common antagonist: here, the invading mussels. But it is structured to empower players to choose whether to compete or cooperate. Every player faces the collective consequences of each individual. If any one Lake loses, no one can win...
Perfect for Educators
Mussel Madness is also the perfect game for environmental, science, and social studies educators looking to add value inside or beyond the classroom.
Where are the Great Lakes in your child's curriculum? Where are your students learning about the aquatic food web? Where are you teaching the interconnections between the environment and the economy? What about invasive species? Stormwater management? Green infrastructure? Water policy? Thinking regionally? Mussel Madness provides an opportunity to introduce and explore these topics—even in the middle grades.
The game is well positioned to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration between science, math, language arts, and social studies teachers. Because it incorporates basic financial literacy, basic math (counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying), and basic reading (trivia cards about the Great Lakes), the game is also a useful tool for individualized education to boost the math or reading skills and confidence of young learners. Older players will find value in deciding how to balance Cost & Benefit cards that provide economic trade-offs and opportunity costs. Mussel Madness provides layers of valuable lesson opportunities for students to experience as they age up through fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh grades. Repeated games remain fun. Paired with the Life in Our Lake film, Mussel Madness is a great portal to Great Lakes ecological literacy and further exploration. See the home page for the companion curriculum.
“…Mussel Madness has the capacity to engage students at multiple levels of learning and across all content areas. By playing the game, one can apply math, reading, geography and science skills while learning more about the interconnectedness not only of the ecosystem within our Great Lakes, but also our connection to it..."
—Sean Kiebzak, Arts @ Large
“I thought the game is fantastic. It is fun, engaging, and educational. My students loved it and wish they had more time.”
—Holly Gertz, St. Alphonsus
Michael Timm designed the game and the game board.
The beautiful artwork of Mussel Madness was created by the talented Andrea Guzzetta.