Non Violence and Protest

This is one of the themes in the Small Game Big Theme game jam, which is running from 21 May until 21 June 2021. Find out about the other themes here or read more about the jam as a whole.

Can you create a small game around the theme of Non Violence and Protest?

The theme: Non Violence and Protest

Could there be a game exploring the growth of a protest movement? Activists need to make many choices about how they protest and in what way. Different movements use different methods and may be more or less effective. A game could focus on the process of activism and protest rather than the particular cause. 

Explore the paradigm of violence and non-violence in the two videos below. Johann Galtung’s theory of violence includes direct, structural and cultural violence, demonstrating how societies create violence. Erica Chenoweth’s research shows that non-violent movements are twice as effective at making lasting change than violent ones. (Scroll down for videos.)

READ Beyond some ‘big names’ e.g. Gandhi, the common discourse is of violence being necessary and effective.

Could a game open up understanding of the effectiveness of non-violence? Some questions:

  • How do citizens make the decision that they need to take action to make change in society?
  • What lengths will they go to make change happen?
  • How do protest movements grow?
  • In protest movements, some individuals choose to break the law to achieve social change. Is this effective?
  • How are individuals supported by the rest of their community?
  • To what extent should the law protect or restrict our right to protest?
  • What methods can prevent or support effective protest?

If you’re interested in this theme, there is also an event on Saturday 22 May. Think Together Sheffield are running a community philosophy enquiry session on this theme – free and online. All welcome to join in with discussions on the theme.

What sort of game should you create?

The game should be small. It should be small enough that it can be posted through the mail as a letter, not as a parcel. That could mean:

  • A social deduction game with no physical components
  • A postcard or a greetings card
  • A deck of (around) 20 or fewer cards
  • A printable roll and write

It’s OK to ask the players to add some components if they are things which you’d reasonably expect to find in most houses. That could mean:

  • A calculator
  • Six sided dice (there are also dice rolling apps online)
  • Coins to flip
  • Pen and paper
  • A packet of sweets/candy (such as jellybeans)

How to get involved

If you’d like to create a game, please just jump in! You don’t need any sort of credentials to get started!

Take photos of what you’re creating and share them on Twitter using the hashtag #smallgamebigtheme. If you remember to copy in @dissentgames then we will retweet. Please do share on all sorts of other social media too.

If you’d like to chat about what you’re creating then please head over to our discord server. There are some empty channels waiting to be claimed with games in progress.

On 21 June we’ll draw the game jam to a close. (Obviously that doesn’t mean you need to stop designing!) We’ll ask the people who submitted the themes for some feedback on what people have made. A few people have volunteered to speak about the games made on blogs, podcasts, or streams, so there may be opportunities to talk about what you’ve created.

Come and join in!

One comment

  1. […] Non Violence and Protest. How does a protest movement grow? How does a protest movement challenge systematic violence without becoming violent itself? Your game will showcase how lasting change is created and maintained, helping the world to become a less violent place. […]


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