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PhoneCycle Download

What is PhoneCycle?

The Trivial Pursuit-style board game can be played by six to eight people. Teams of one or two are responsible for the four different parts of the lifecycle of a phone – extraction, production, consumption and disposal. The players use one or two dice to go around the board, picking up cards along the way about the issues raised and reading them out to each other. The cards include casestudies, such as women miners who are exposed to dust, or artisanal (sometimes called ‘illegal’) cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo that risk their lives due to a lack of safety measures, while in Malaysia, workers sleep eight to a room in a hostel at an electronics company.

Using a map in the middle of the board, players identify different parts of the world where the processes involved in making a phone take place.

The game is more aimed at discussion rather than competition, but for the competitive types out there, those first around the board, or those with the most ‘green reward cards’, where players choose whether to make a more ‘ethical’ choice or not, can be the winners.

PhoneCycle game board

The lifecycle of a phone:


The process of removing minerals and fossil fuels from the ground to be used in a phone, such as cobalt and gold. Mining for minerals affects communities predominately in the Global South.


Making a phone using the different parts, in assembly lines in factories, such as in China and Malaysia. Workers rights are often scarce or non-existent.


Buying and using a phone. This is where the most positive aspects of the lifecycle are felt, as phones can save lives and connect people around the world.


The commercial and cultural encouragement to upgrade phones adds to the frequency of disposal. Parts are rarely recycled.