Commonspoly is a free licensed board game that was created to reflect on the possibilities and limits of the commons as a critical discourse towards relevant changes in society, but to do it playfully. This game is an ideal device to introduce commons theories to groups in a pedagogical and enjoyable way. But it’s also great for boring, rainy afternoons!
And another thing, Commonspoly is an attempt to repair a misunderstanding that has lasted for more than a century. Back in 1904 Elizabeth Magie patented The Landlord’s Game: a board game to warn about, and hopefully prevent, the dangerous effects of monopolism. Years later she sold the patent to Parker Brothers, who turned the game into the Monopoly we know today: a game that celebrates huge economic accumulation and the bankruptcy of anyone but you.
Commonspoly turns the basic features of the traditional game upside down in an effort to imagine a possible world based on cooperation instead of competition. But is it possible to play a board game where the players have to find ways to work together, not beat each other? Well, the cycles between financial crises are shortening, global unemployment rates are skyrocketing, ice caps are melting, and we all have that hard-to-explain, creepy feeling… In this game, it’s a race against time and every player’s help is more than welcome! It’s not all bad news – we have some powerful, community-based tools to use in this struggle against the apocalypse. Let’s get down to business: we have urban, environmental, health and knowledge-based common goods to preserve!
Since Commonspoly community has relased the required resources - in digitally portable and consumable form - to public, openly - it has enabled us to construct/produce it ourselves locally and economically eradicating the mandation to purchase it from some authorized agents or from the community itself costing time and money. We are happy that the game is now erected by ourselves with participation and cooperation in a peer 2 peer way.
For a long time, we have been searching for games, emulating cooperation which would fit our fun and intellectual part which would solve the pedagogical need of the commune. It is necessary that such an instrument seriously would enable look society, environment, planet, economy from alternative point of view. Avoiding competitive modes in existing games like Carrom, Chess where the primary goal is not cooperating but about maximizing inidividualistic influence in the game - psychologically justifying the players reasons to defeat the fellow player even when the peer has no experience nor any understanding the dynamics of game or the cunningness behind the individual's ego. We felt that the rules and regulations that amplify such a spirit will not be ever enough for the players - as each feel a urge to manipulate the rules somehow to maximize their influence over other players. That moment we think is when the game - involved agents, its environment, its rules has lost their integrity.
Cooprade Prasanna has found this game fortunately in the right time for the community. Furthermore, localization for the game has been suggested - which is a good idea for engaging any group. We will make sure that we got to play this game atleast once in a week along with other exciting games like scotland yard :). We are very much satisfied for the game has been democratized by freeing the intellectual resources and its design. If possible, we may produce this very professionally or as virtually in future earning a channel of revenue for the cooperative itself.