Our popular culture group project was to create a board game that tackled food insecurity. It was originally thought up during our brainstorming exercise between Jessica, Susan, and I. I learned a lot about food insecurity in my FRINQ last year, which was why it came to me during the exercise. We all thought it was an interesting and unique topic to tackle, so we decided to use it for the actual group project. The reason we chose to make a board game was so that we could incorporate specific scenarios into the game. The scenarios were designed to help the players understand what it is like to live in a food-insecure and low-income home.
Creating the rules and the structure of the game was challenging, because we were aiming to make it both fun and informational (so that it could be a learning process). Originally, we were going to have each character start with different health points, because it seemed more realistic. However, we also realized that it wasn’t fair towards all of the players, so we decided to have everyone begin with 100 health points.
Making this board game changed the way I looked at board games in general. Whenever I played board games as a child (okay, I still do), my main goal was always to win, but I didn’t realize that many of my favorite board games were also subtly tackling social issues. Monopoly, for example, is a classic board game that can easily become a lesson in wealth inequality. Even when people grow up, they continue to play board games because it brings back memories of their childhood. And while playing these games again, they realize the deeper meaning behind it. The structure of our board game was a combination of the board games we loved as kids too, so I hope everyone enjoyed it.
I had a wonderful time working with my group. Everyone got along, and we were always excited throughout the process of making the game. Susan was the most prepared member of the group. On the first official work day, she had already written an outline. We were able to easily divide up the work because of how organized she was. Saud was in charge of writing the scenario cards onto a chart, but writing each one was a lengthy process because there were three components to it: 1) the scenario, 2) determining how many health points to add or subtract, and 3) adding a fact or tip at the bottom of the card relating to food insecurity. Because there were 30 cards total, each of the other members helped by writing 5 cards each. Susan designed and created the physical copies of the scenario cards from Saud’s chart; Kaitlin created the rule page; Jessica was in charge of creating the physical board game, and I wrote/designed the character cards for the game. It was a little difficult on my part, because Susan had Photoshop on her laptop and I did not. Because many of the PSU computers had Photoshop installed in them, I was able to design all of the character cards on campus.
Overall, this project was a lot of fun. My group and I learned a lot about food insecurity while making the scenario cards, so we hope you got something out of playing our game as well!