Board Games

I designed these two board games in my capacity as a member of a committee of teachers and students at The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA. We were responsible for organizing a special day each year when the entire school focused on a theme related to human rights. As these days were typically quite long and filled with various workshops and presentations, we felt the need to break up the schedule with a more unconventional and hands-on approach to the material: thus, the board games.

The primary purpose of the games was to promote empathy in the students by simulating potential experiences of real people navigating radically different situations in radically different contexts. By assuming temporary roles and identities in the competitive context of a game, the students (mostly from relatively affluent backgrounds) more readily understood the precarious nature of lives lived in complex systems not especially conducive to their success.

These games proved to be very popular with the students and were successful at stimulating deeper discussions on the various topics. Although I was responsible for developing the look* and structure of these games, a lot of the thematic content was contributed by my fellow teachers and students. As well, many thanks must be given to The Shipley School itself for supporting this venture in the first place and for its financial contribution to the considerable costs of printing these games.

*One notable exception was the series of spot illustrations that are distributed throughout the Wheels of Justice game; a student, Chris Gage, painted these.


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COPYRIGHT © 2010, STEVEN BARIS