Year Zero Economics - Using Edu-Larping to Explore Economic Systems in the Ninth Grade


  • Ken Koziej
  • Mikael Hellström



games, classroom, economics, gamification


The curriculum of the province of Alberta, Canada, stipulates that grade nine students learn about economics, comparing the United States and Canada (Alberta Education 2007). Supervisor Ken Koziej assigned Mikael Hellström to teach this unit to three grade nine classes during his practicum. Hellström had pioneered the use of edu-larps, game-based learning, and gamification as a sessional instructor at the Universities of Alberta and Calgary (Hellström 2016; 2017) and chose those methods to deliver the unit. The game design for the tabletop role-playing game Mutant: Year Zero (The Free League 2015) incorporates mechanics for play on three levels: character, for world exploration; resource extraction and world exploration; and base building. The latter two levels effectively create an in-game economy. Collaborating with his supervisor, Hellström adapted them for classroom use. The goal was to create a unit fulfilling Mochocki’s (2014) criteria for edu-larp, in other words, that it is a) mono-disciplinary and targets a single school subject; b) knowledge-oriented and communicates textbook subject matter to students; and c) teacher-friendly, by not demanding time-consuming preparations. This paper describes the unit, the process of converting elements of Mutant: Year Zero for teaching, how students played the unit, and the post-game evaluation. While the unit did not fulfill all of Mochocki’s criteria, student engagement was high, consistent with previous findings on game-based learning (Prensky 2005; Gee 2007; Hattie 2009).




How to Cite

Koziej, K., & Hellström, M. (2018). Year Zero Economics - Using Edu-Larping to Explore Economic Systems in the Ninth Grade. International Journal of Role-Playing, (8), 5–9.