For a democracy to function properly, two things are essential: Firstly, the voting population must to some extent be able to identify with the entire population, meaning to be able to look beyond their own belly, and rather to use common sense. Secondly, at all times it must be the clearly stated intent of all candidates to protect the interests of all minorities.
Sadly, neither of these prerequisites were met in the US election. An excellent way to practice them is by playing games. It teaches you that you have to play by the rules, and that decisions based on rational thinking are usually better than those based on your guts.
Below is a slight modification of a game I made up for school age children a while ago, allowing us to experience some aspects of daily medieval life. Let’s prepare for the future.
- The game board shows a track like in monopoly, ruled by lords and disgraced lords.
- A deck of some 50 small cards showing loaves of bread. There should be cards showing 1 and 5 loaves. Make you own.
- Standard die. If you want the game to be more realistic, get a loaded die.
- Play figures for each player, all white. You know who you are.
All players choose a play figure and put it onto Harvest. They each roll the die twice to determine the harvest: The total number of eyes is the number of bread each player receives. The player with the fewest breads begins. From then on, the game proceeds clockwise.
The player rolls the die and moves her figure clockwise as many fields forward as the die shows. Depending on the field, the player takes the associated action.
If the player lands on a property field, she can decide to seek employment or to steal something.
After this decision is made, she rolls the die.
The reward depends on the number of eyes the die shows:
- you obtain work and are paid with one bread.
- you obtain work and are paid with two breads.
- you are allowed to work without payment.
- you stay for the night and pay one bread.
- you are robbed and lose two bread.
- you are suspected of stealing. Move directly to ordeal. At your next turn you will be tried.
The success depends on the number of eyes the die shows:
- you steal 1 bread and escape unrecognized.
- you steal 2 bread and escape unrecognized.
- you steal 3 bread and escape unrecognized.
- you are sent to jail and stay there for one turn.
- you are sent to jail and stay there for two turns.
- you are sent to jail and stay there for three turns.
If you land on jail, and the jail is empty, nothing else happens. If there are one or more prisoners in jail,
you free one of the prisoners of your choice but have to take her punishment instead. For instance, if a prisoner has to skip two rounds and you free her, she is moved to the white visitor spot in the prison while you are placed in the gray prison cell with number 2 in it. After you skipped two turns, you will continue.
When you are in jail already, each turn you move one step to the left to remind you of the number of turns still to skip.
If you land on Ordeal, you are accused of stealing. To find out whether your are guilty, you roll a die. Your punishment depends on the outcome of the die:
- Guilty: pay 1 bread
- Guilty: go immediately to Pilgrimage. Do not collect bread at Harvest.
- Guilty: go immediately to Crusade.
- Guilty: go immediately to Shaming.
- Not guilty. You may continue on your next turn.
- You accuse another player of your choice of witchcraft and go free on your next turn. The other player is put in jail and misses three turns.
If you land on or pass shaming, you may give any of the other players on Shaming one bread out of mercy. This player will then go free on her next turn.
If you have been sent to shaming, you have to wait there until a player passes you and gives you one bread. You then keep the bread and are allowed to continue on your next turn.
Other Action Fields
These come with explanations:
- Church: Pay one bread for penance
- Broken Leg: Wait one round
- Crusade: Wait two rounds
- Dowry: Pay two bread for daughter
- Pilgrimage: Wait one round
- Treasure: You find gold worth five bread
- Robbed: Pay one bread
- Tuition: Pay one bread
- Harvest: If a player lands on or passes Harvest, she rolls a die and obtains the corresponding number of bread.
Out of Bread?
If a player is out of bread but has to pay, she goes to Shaming. There she waits until another player passes her and gives her one bread.
End of Game
The game ends either after six rounds or when all players are stuck in Shaming.
In the first case, the player with the most bread wins. In the second case, all players lose.