Games that Promote Sharing


Im taking a board game design class at Ithaca Generator these days. I’m using the opportunity to explore concepts from my sustainability research, stuff that I normally read and write about.

The prototype here is for a cooperative game called “Grow.” The setting for the game is a Community Supported Farm. In the game there are six players – three farmers and three members (though in reality the ratio is more like 1 farmer to 75 members). The objective of the game is to harness the trust built into this network to exchange value. The meta objective is to inspire players to do this in real life.

The main game mechanic is bartering. Therefore there are “needs” cards and there are “value” cards. The win condition is that every player feels they have more value than they had when they started the game. Value can be in knowledge as well, like, “While playing this game I thought of a new way to approach problems.”

And that’s the next layer of complexity I want to build into the game – that players see that more than one value card can resolve any given needs card. For example, let’s say Player A has a needs card that says “Car” and Player B has a value card that says “Underused Car” while Player C has value card that says “Regular Commute.” The players can help player A articulate a desired outcome. If Player A has a regular commute too, then they might not need a car at all because they can ride-share with Player C. But if Player A has an irregular commute, then maybe they would do better to borrow Player B’s underused vehicle.

I’ll be testing this prototype this Friday and Sunday and expect to learn lot. Stay tuned and send me ideas if you got ’em!

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