Thoughts of today:
My new multi-player physical game, Polity, is taking shape. The details and gameplay will soon be hashed out, if things go according to plan, and I’ll continue to receive feedback on its dynamics from actual players.
The first bit of testing was instructive. The game centers on the United States Senate, with each of the 5-6 (or more) players taking on the role of a fictional senator and then having to make choices as they imagine that person would–not their own, but this person’s political beliefs and electoral consequences if they displease the folks back home. They also have to navigate the various groups involved, like the traditional media and lobbying groups with vast influence.
Each player must balance considerations of majority or minority status in the Senate, party allegiance, funds raised for the next race, and other relevant factors that any senator would have to deal with in office. The principal issues are winning reelection, securing more funds, and remaining in the good graces of those with power to remove them from office, whether it’s voters back home, lobbyists with cash on hand, or party leaders forging consensus.
I imagine my game to be useful in practicing negotiation and strategy, not to mention teaching players about the Senate or rewarding those who paid attention in school.
The more dysfunctional our various branches of government in D.C. become, the more useful it will be for people to understand how the Senate actually works when contentious issues comes up–a Supreme Court nomination, a trade deal, a contested election, a major hack of some important organization and leaking of data– as well as how influence is bought and paid for in our capital city.
Progress continues, and I’m expecting to soon have a shareable board and game cards (that I’m proud of) that others can see and play with for further testing.
Enough for today.