I have decided to incorporate the topic for my DIGC335 Cybercultures project as a theme in the board game I am creating for this subject. My aim is to demonstrate the reality of science communication and how is is not so black as white, or fact and fiction. Factors such as political or financial gain encourage major power players in society to convey half-truths or ‘cherry pick’ data which suits their agenda.
Now the importance of science isn’t always the number one most fun conversation that everyone is scratching to talk about, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to utilize the devlopment of a board game to present the issues the science community has in presenting innovation to the public.
I have decided to use a similar game structure to the Fantasy Flight game Mission: Red Planet. Red Planet is an area control and role selection game where mining companies are racing to control and mine the resources on Mars. The video below gives a detailed rundown of objectives and game play.
I chose this framework for my own board game as it can be manipulated to resemble the political dance that is science communication, and actually puts the players in the shoes of major players and corporations. I thought this would be an effective way to show a different perspective that is interactive to the audience. A detailed review of red planet can be found here.
Objective: To become the most influential figure on the planet.
Time: 45 mins
A new planet with relatively primitive inhabitants has been discovered by your people, a technologically advanced civilization and a major power player in the galaxy. At first there was little interest in this new planet as it seemed to hold little potential. The government divided the new planet into 9 regions, began to educate the inhabitants and learned to communicate with them. It was soon realized that the inhabitants were hiding a valuable energy resource, however it’s whereabouts still unknown. With this revelation interest was sparked and the race to find this resource began. Only the player with the most influence over the inhabitants can gain their trust and have control over the resource.
The game has two boards, one showing broadcasting stations, the other showing the new planet. Players drop tokens into the broadcasting stations, their signal being broadcast to its preset region the second the station is full. Once your signal arrives in a region on the planet you’ll find out how valuable it is by turning a token face-up. At the end of turns 5, 8 and 10, whoever has the most tokens in that region has the most influence and gets as many points as the region’s worth.
Image: The Nine regions on the new planet, with example values.
Each player has a tactical team of specialists numbered 1-9 at their employ, and each with a specific skill set. These specialists are your moves, and each round a count down from 9 is started and whatever number the specialist you picked this round, determines when you get to make your move. However once you used a specialist you cannot use them again.
Image: Specialist card example – No.4 Secret Agent
Take no. 4, The Secret Agent. He loads two tokens into two separate broadcasting stations, then forces any one station to broadcast early. Or no. 5, The Saboteur, who loads one token into a station, then blows up a station which is not yet full.
Event cards can change rules of a particular region secretly, either supporting or detracting influence. Mission cards will gain players extra points if the objective is completed.
Manufacture & Distribution: To develop my board game I will use the game design guide provided by Panda Game Manufacture which goes into detail the finer points and specs of design such as dimensions and programs to use. To actually manufacture through this company there is a minimum of 1500 units and $1500 USD spend. Although this game can be played recreationally, It could also be used as a learning resource in schools, meaning it could potentially be government funded and distributed. The art-style I have chosen is inspired by artist Nikita Binda who is a fantasy artist from the Netherlands. By incorporating a fantasy component to the game design it will be more inciting to the target audience and a more subtle learning component.
Through the design and production of this board game I hope to create a resource that indirectly demonstrates the reality of communicating science.