Gerrymander like your favorite politician
Prior to making this game, our teams were lost in terms of what we want to portray. One of my group mate suggested gentrification. I never had a game on gentrification, so I decided to think of one. During my conceptual thinking, there were other concepts such as gerrymandering that can be placed as an action card. Tying these two concepts together would be great, I thought.
However, after playing Spirit Island, I think the concept of gentrification can be rather complicated if we would want to portray parallels between the real life and the game. Hence, to simplify that bit, I decide to think of gerrymandering to focus on. I thought of pulling concept from Codename, and coincidentally from Patchwork.
The concept of gerrymandering is getting more normalized in a democratic world. However, even though it is unfortunately common, people still do not clearly know what gerrymandering is. Hence, I think creating this game would be extremely impactful by making people gerrymander just like their politicians. The ecosystem is replicated closely with the American politics (Kudos to David and Goutham). We split the game into two phases (Kudos again to Amelia). The first phase enables players with political capital cards or the purchase of districts that they can use as their unfair advantages in the game. The second phase forces players to place their districts that they acquired from phase 1.
Making and play testing this game constantly (over 3 pairs in P3 and 4 in P4) has made me realized that people who might not get gerrymandering at first, has finally acquired the knowledge and is aware of this phenomenon. In that sense, the educational part of the game is checked. There were some questions that were constantly popping up, such as the interchangeable verbs “convert”, “influence” and “blank”. In that case, the usage of reference cards has tremendously enhance the game.
When play testing happened, I was watching all of these game play. Most of the time, the players immediately got the strategy really quickly. They start making cut throat actions to their personal advantages, similar to the politicians. That also made me reflect about my own political affiliations and their actions. So then the question is, if the population is constantly moving, how do we not gerrymander then? What are the alternatives in the political world? I don’t have the answer, but it is something worth thinking about philosophically. And of course, there is a strong comparison between this game and my home country (Singapore), being notorious with their mostly single party parliament.
I think Faction has a lot of potential bringing awareness to different age groups. The titles of the political capital cards might be intimidating, but the impact in this political capital cards are parallel. My plan is to further develop this a little bigger, a little sellable for the market, so we become aware about the game plan of our politicians.