Activist postcards

Over the last month I’ve been thinking a lot about games on postcards. I’d like to put more activist themes in games, and I’d like them to be games on postcards. Here are three I’ve been working on.

  1. Nuclear Climb Down.

This could potentially be a game about five countries (the five with publicly declared weapons under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, although not the only ones in the world to have nuclear weapons) getting rid of their warheads.

It’s still very much in development, and I haven’t really worked out how it would play. It’s a solo game. There would probably be a counter on each country, starting in the yellow or orange box. The player would roll four dice and any pair which match the level a counter is in could be used to take that country one down space. One “safe” was reached, the counter would stay there. The player could also use a die to influence public opinion – and without that influence, public opinion would climb, pushing the counters (except those on “safe”) higher on their scale. If any counters went higher that the top, it’s game over. There’s quite a lot which isn’t finished about this game.

2. Bee Friendly Windows

This is a game played with coins. It’s suitable for two players. Each player starts with three coins to flip, and a counter on the track at the top (starting at the far left). They flip their three coins. Head is Raindrop, Tail is Sun. They can place the coins on flowers which match what they have – so a player with two heads and a tail can place on either the purple thistles or the red poppy. The little hexagons on those spaces show the number of spaces on the top track that flower earns the player. The space with two ivy-covered circles at the bottom is a way to get another coin, up to a total of seven. Players also get another coin when they pass the hives on the top track. It’s simply the first player to the last hive.

The theme is a gentle one around the sorts of plants which bees need to survive. It doesn’t quite translate, because the sun and rain are things the plants need, but the player tracker is focused on the bees… Perhaps it’s that the players are the bee keepers and are planting the flowers for the bees? However, it’s pretty.

3. Statues to Statute

This is an idea which came about after the protests in March. Sarah Everard, a woman from London, was killed walking home. A current police officer is accused of her murder. At about the same time, the government proposed tightening the law around protest, focusing disproportionately on possible damage or graffiti to statues.

I created this game in a fit of (quite understandable and fully justified) anger. It needs palyers to find a counter per player and two six-sided dice (or a dice app). The dice are not the player’s movements, but represent where the police are looking. Each player moves a space in whatever direction they wish. The two dice are then rolled and the numbers added together – that’s the area the police are looking at. Any players in that area on a green grass blob need to return to the start, but any players in the area on a grey plinth can pretend to be a statue. Once a player reaches the book at the top they get to suggest a legislative change. The next person to the top needs to add a new legislative change and remember the previous suggestion, and so on until someone forgets what legislative changes had been suggested. I’m not sure this is a particularly good game as it stands, but it certainly got me thinking.

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