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Acid Rain in Europe, 1979-1989 

by David E. Henderson and Susan K. Henderson

Your pollution is killing my fish. STOP!

Acid Rain in Europe, 1979-1989 covers the negotiation of the Long Range Transport Pollution treaty. This was the first ever international pollution control treaty and remains at the forefront of addressing European pollution. This game can be used in a variety of ways and to examine either sulfur dioxide pollution, nitrogen oxide pollution, or both. This game includes summaries of a number of relevant technical articles to support student arguments. Students must deal with the limitations of national resources as they decide how much of their limited money to spend.

This game is part of Environmental Science and International Politics, which features two Reacting games in one volume, immersing students in the complex process of negotiating international treaties to control environmental pollution. The issues are similar in all the modules; environmental justice, national sovereignty, and the inherent uncertainty of the costs and benefits of pollution control. Students also must understand the basic science of each problem and possible solutions.



Economics and Economic History; History of Medicine and Health; History of Science and Technology; International Relations; Political Science and Government; STEM; Western Civ/History; World History

20th Century; Modern History

In a Few Words
Stop Pollution


Themes and Issues  

Environmental justice; national sovereignty; rich vs. poor countries; interconnectedness of life in the ecosystem

Player Interactions 
Factional, Competitive, Collaborative, Coalition-Building

Sample Class Titles
FY Seminar; Non-majors Science; Analytical Chemistry

Published Level 5 game (what's that mean?)

Notable Roles

UN Representative Janez Stanovnik, Peter Alexander Rupert Carington (Great Britain), Ignaz Kiechle (West Germany)

Money, Rolling Dice, Differentiated Voting, Formal Podium Rule, Flags of Nations

Chaos and Demand on Instructor 
This game is mildly chaotic and moderately demanding on the instructor. The major chaotic element is the reorganization of factions with each change in time between 1979, 1984, and 1987.

Primary Source Highlights
Three journal articles, Chester (1981), Nilssen (1980), and Rosenqvist (1978), summarized in GB with full articles available for distribution if desired.

Using the Game

Class Size and Scalability 
This game is recommended for classes with 11-40 students. The game has evolved to address the needs of instructors in both small and larger classes. As a result, there are a large number of roles, but the game can be played only with the minimum number described in the Instructor's Manual.

Class Time  
For this game, 2 to 4 setup sessions and 2 to 6 game sessions are recommended.

There are three short games nested in the full game, with separate role sheets and Instructor's Manuals for each: 1979-1984, 1984 only, or 1987 only.

Possible Reacting Game Pairings
This game can be used on its own, or with other games. These pairings are meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive or prescriptive. Acid Rain in Europe may pair well with:

You can adjust the assignments based on the desired learning outcomes of your class. This game can include traditional paper/research/thesis-driven writing, science writing, and journalism. All roles are required to give formal speeches.


Confirmed instructors who are not yet members can access basic instructor materials. Reacting Consortium members can access all downloadable materials (including expanded and updated materials) below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading any materials.


Students need a Gamebook, which includes directions, resources, and historical content. The Environmental Science and International Politics Gamebook is published by Reacting Consortium Press. 

PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-4696-4029-7

EBOOK ISBN: 978-1-4696-4030-3
Available wherever books are sold.

Role Sheets and Add'l Materials

Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, role-specific resources or assignments, and their character's secret victory objectives. 

.zip file of .pdf, .doc, .docx, .pptx, and .xlsx files.

Instructor's Manual

The Instructor's Manual includes guidance for assigning roles, presenting historical context, assignments, activities and discussion topics, and more.  

VERSION 6.0b. .docx file.


David E. Henderson

David E. Henderson is Professor Emeritus at Trinity College (Connecticut). He is the author of several Reacting game modules on science, public policy, and religion.

Susan K. Henderson

Susan K. Henderson is Professor Emeritus at Quinnipiac University. She is the author of several Reacting game modules on science and public policy.

Reacting and Related Titles


David Henderson

"Acid Rain has been used in [high school]. We ran a summer workshop on climate change for [high school] sophomores that went really well."


Members can contact game authors directly

We invite instructors join our Facebook Faculty Lounge, where you'll find a wonderful community eager to help and answer questions. We also encourage you to submit your question for the forthcoming FAQ, and to check out our upcoming events


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