Group members: Marielle Burt, Isabelle Lee, Alyssa Li, Ada Zhou
Since the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned earlier this year, access to abortion care has become severely limited and illegal in many states, and abortion clinics face new, complex barriers to providing vital care. Clinic Master is a game designed to educate players about those barriers and the importance of fighting for the right to bodily autonomy.
Our learning outcomes are:
- Increased empathy for abortion clinic workers and people seeking abortions
- Understanding core differences in abortion access across three types of states (illegal, unprotected, and protected)
- Understanding and practicing different ways to advocate for and support individuals seeking abortions
Our ultimate goal is that players will be more likely to take action in support of abortion care.
In Clinic Master, players each run an abortion clinic in a state with different abortion protections and rights (called Protected, Unprotected, and Illegal). The game is for 3-5 players, high school age and up, who want to experience challenge, fellowship, and narrative.
There are two decks of cards that players will draw from – People and Resource cards.
- Protected players draw 3 Resource cards
- Unprotected players draw 1 Resource card
- Illegal players draw 1 Resource card
Players take turns in clockwise order. On your turn:
1. Advance time
- Move each patient on your board forward by 1 step, indicating that 2 weeks will have progressed into their pregnancy
2. Draw cards
- Draw 2 People cards – you will receive either patients to treat or protestors that need to be dispelled
- Draw 2 Resource cards – these cards will detail any of the following actions you can perform:
- Administer an abortion pill
- Book an appointment for the patient
- Perform a more complex abortion procedure
- Transfer a patient to another clinic (across state lines)
- Dispel a protester
- Apply for a grant – after 2 rounds have passed after you perform this action, you will be able to successfully perform abortions for 2 patients of your choice
- Illegal states draw 1 more Resource card to mimic getting more attention and grants
3. Perform actions
- Protected states play 2 Actions
- Unprotected states play 1 Action
- Illegal states play 1 Action
- You can have a maximum of 5 protesters at your clinic. Once you hit this maximum, you cannot treat your patients until you dispel at least one of them.
- The boards pertaining to Protected, Unprotected, and Illegal states detail different actions that are allowed and necessary to treat each patient successfully at different stages into their pregnancy. You can only treat a patient once all of their needs have been met, and this will count as playing 1 Action.
- For example, to successfully treat a patient in a Protected state in their 14th week of pregnancy, the board states that you need an appointment card and a procedure card. Play both of these cards, which will count as 1 Action, and take the patient off the board to indicate that they have been successfully treated.
Playtest Observations and Proposed Changes
- Players immediately asked about trading cards with each other and tended towards collaborative style playing, wanted it to be ‘Us VS Machine’, saw each player as clinic superheroes
- Leaning in on the players vs system by incorporating end game as helping all the abortion seekers, creating “Breaking News Event” where entire game state changes towards different futures (ie. more limited abortion access or more open abortion access) based on random chance and collective player gameplay
- Encouraging collaboration with game mechanics for resource pooling and upgrading policy (ie. player boards can go from Illegal to Unprotected to Protected, also can go the other way around)
- Incorporate some long-term investment mechanics
- Game observer felt they had to explain how the reasoning behind the mechanics of the game, aka how they tied to current abortion access landscape — a lot of the learning comes from this
- Making a booklet/playing guide that will have this information?
- Adding these ties onto the content design of the game boards and cards
- Ratio of cards – particularly aftercare and booking an appointment seemed off
- Have more appointment cards than aftercare
- Players had a hard time remembering everything they needed/could do in their turn (ie. grants that require waiting two turns to come to fruition, moving patients ahead on the pregnancy week timeline)
- Creating a player guide
- Adding a physical grant tracker onto the board
- Players felt dispel protestor cards with speaking points for supporting abortion were really helpful but having the cards in their hand for multiple turns made the speaking points more stale
- Have the speaking points on the back of the protestor cards so they only see it when they choose to dispel protestor