How does it work?

The Brain Architecture Game is a tabletop game experience that builds understanding of the powerful role of experiences on early brain development – what promotes it, what derails it, with what consequences for society.


The game helps people appreciate the impact of early childhood experiences on outcomes across the lifespan.

How does it work?

Your goal is to build a brain that is as tall as possible, which represents functionality, and as sturdy as possible, which represents the ability to withstand stresses.

Groups of four to six players work together, drawing Life Experience cards to gain materials for brain building.

Positive experiences earn a pipe cleaner and a straw for support.

Negative experiences? Pipe cleaner, but no straw.

After the initial period of early childhood brain development, weights must be hung from the structure of the brain when life hands out stressors.

Will the foundation withstand these weights, or will it collapse?

Afterward, groups use the notes in their Life Journals to discuss the experiences that strengthened, or weakened, the architecture of their developing brains.