Civilization is a method of living and an attitude of equal respect for all people.

Corazón Aquino


 This is a board game in which players vote for the kind of city they wish to live in and the amenities they wish to enjoy. The issues addressed include:
• Social solidarity
• The implications of paying taxes
• The value of local democracy

Related rights

• The right to social security
• The right to own property
• The right to an adequate standard of living


• To understand the importance of social welfare to community life
• To develop communication and teamwork skills
• To promote values of solidarity and responsibility to the community


• 1 copy of the board game
• A3 size card or paper (optional but preferable)
• 1 dice
• Paper clips of two colours (e.g. red and blue). Equal numbers of each colour. Enough clips for one per player.
• Scissors
• Removable sticky gum or "Blu-tac"
• 4 sets of the replacement cards
• 2 envelopes
• Money (6 000 Ems per player)
• 2 copies of the City Banker's task sheet
• 1  copy of the Game Banker's task sheet
• Paper and pens
• Timer
• Projector to display the rules (optional)


• Read the instructions to familiarise yourself with the board, the replacement cards and the rules.
• Take two of the sheets of replacement cards and cut them out. So the sets don't get muddled up, put each set in a different envelope clearly marked A or B! (The remaining 2 copies of the sheets will be used for reference at the city council meetings)
• Glue the photocopy of the board onto the card or stiff paper to make it strong and durable.
• Choose three people to take the special roles of bankers. Each city needs a banker and you need one Game Banker. Give the two City Bankers a copy each of the City Banker's task sheet and give the Game Banker their task sheet. Get the bankers to make labels so that they can be identified easily during the game.
• Divide the rest of the group equally into two groups. Give one group red paperclips and the other group blue ones.
• Tell each player to make their own counter by writing their name on a small piece of paper and clipping it in a paperclip of their designated colour.
• Print the money! Copy and cut it up to make the bank notes. You will need 6000 Ems for each player/citizen.

Key Date
  • 1 OctoberWorld Habitat Day


1. Explain that this activity is a board game and show them the board. Trace out the path representing city A, and then the path representing city B. Note where the two paths cross and the squares where people collect their salary, pay their taxes and get a "chance to change", meaning a chance to move into and to play in the other city.
2. Explain how to play (see the handout below). Make sure everyone understands the rules. Decide when the game is going to end.
3. Get the bankers to make themselves simple identification labels so the players know to whom to pay their taxes!
4. Play the game! When finished, move on to the debriefing and evaluation.

Debriefing and evaluationGoto top

Start by reviewing how the game itself went and then go on to discuss what people learnt.
1. Did the participants enjoy the game? What did they like and what did they dislike about it?
2. In the beginning, did people think it unfair that some players had to pay more taxes than the others? Did they still feel this way after playing for a while?
3. How did the City Council meetings go? How were decisions made? Democratically?
4. How did people who disagreed with the city council decisions feel about it?
5. Who moved from one city to the other? Why did they do it?
6. Did anyone at a council meeting give money out of their own pocket to contribute to the social well-being of the community? Why did they do it?
7. At the beginning of the game the social conditions in cities A and B were the same. How did they end up? Were there any differences? What were they?
8. Which city would you prefer to live in? Why?
9. Is it worth paying higher taxes in order to have a better community life for all? Or would you prefer to keep all your salary and buy things you need and want?
10. What was the situation with respect to the two cities at the end of the game? Were they in "Equaltown" with its public-spirited inhabitants who are prepared to pay for social amenities, or in "Egotown" where the inhabitants have an individualistic ethic and do not want to pay taxes for social amenities?
11. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being extreme Egotown and 10 being an extreme Equaltown), how would you rate your own society?
12. Look at each square of the board in turn. Which human rights are being violated?
13. Are there any communities or groups in your country whose right to a standard of living adequate for their health and well-being (Article 25 of the UDHR) is being violated? Which and why?

Tips for facilitatorsGoto top

The game is fairly easy for anyone familiar with playing board games, but take care to explain the rules of the game and how to play. It may help the players if you write the rules on a flip chart or use an aoverhead transparency or hand out copies of the rules of the game.
The game works best with a maximum of 10 people playing as citizens, and there should be an equal number of citizens in each city at the start of the game. If you have say 16 participants, you could get the bankers to work in pairs. If you work with a larger group it is best to run two games. In this case, don't forget to multiply all the materials by two, and be sure to have a co-facilitator to be responsible for the second game!

A good piece of advice: before you try the game with your group, play it with friends and neighbours! You will then feel more secure about giving the instructions and getting it to run smoothly.


The people responsible for collecting the taxes and managing the cities' funds have been called "bankers". In reality a banker does not perform these functions. The term is used because it is the word used in many popular board games, for instance, Monopoly. If you feel that the term "banker" is not the most appropriate, choose another instead, for instance, "finance administrator".

Suggestions for follow-upGoto top

In the activity "Path to Equality-land" you can further explore the factors that help and hinder the development of a more equitable society. "Our futures" is another activity that helps people explore issues around the forces that make change happen and encourages young people to believe that they can build the future they would like to see.

Ideas for actionGoto top

Get a copy of the local development plan for where you live and discuss it within the group. Investigate issues that concern you, for instance, what the future needs of young people in your area will be, and see how these are met in the plan. Alternatively you may be concerned about access for disabled people or safety on the streets and plans to encourage safe cycling. Give your feedback to the authorities by participating in public meetings or get others in the locality involved by creating a blog, writing to a newspaper or organising a public meeting or awareness-raising event.

The group may like to find out more about ‘participatory budgeting' and be inspired by initiatives taken by communities the world over. They could also find out more about Transition Towns and get together with others to start a local initiative to make sustainable adaptations to climate change and the need to reduce CO2 emissions.

Further informationGoto top

‘Participatory budgeting' is a process of democratic participation that directly involves local people in making decisions on the spending priorities for a public budget, for example for local environmental projects, community facilities, road safety measures or local crime initiatives. Put "participatory budgeting" into your search engine to find useful links.

Transition Towns, is a network of people all over the world who are asking: How can our community respond to the challenges, and opportunities, of peak oil and climate change? They work at community level to find ways of reducing energy usage as well as increasing self-reliance. Initiatives so far have included creating community gardens to grow food; business waste exchange, which seeks to match the waste of one industry with another industry that uses this waste; repairing old items rather than throwing them away; developing local exchange trading systems (LETS -

European Code of Social Security

The Council of Europe's European Code of Social Security came into force in 1968. As of March 2010 it had been ratified by 21 member states. It provides a wide range of social protection, including guarantees of:
• Medical care, which includes general practitioner care, specialist care and emergency care
• Unemployment benefit
• Old-age benefit
• Disability benefit.

HandoutsGoto top

PDFDownload as PDF

Number of Players
Between 7 and 13. Three people take the roles of bankers. At the start of the game there should be an equal number of players in each city.

Objective of the game
The winner is the player who has the most money at the end of the game.

How to play
1. Ask three people to take the roles of bankers: one banker for city A, one for city B and one Game Banker.
2. Half of the players have red counters and half have blue counters.
3. At the start, players are divided into two equal groups. Each group has equal numbers of “red” and “blue” players. One group will travel round the path in city A, the other group will travel round the path in city B.
4. All players start from the “start and salary” square.
5. During the game a player can only change city if he/she stops in the “chance to change” square.
6. Every player starts with a salary according to their colour:
• Blue players: 500
• Red players: 100
7. Throw the dice to decide who starts. Highest throw starts, then each player in turn, anticlockwise round the circle.
8. On their turn, each player throws the dice and moves forward the indicated number of squares along the path in their own city. When a player lands on a square, s/he reads the instruction out aloud, and complies with the instruction.
9. Note: A player who follows an instruction to move backwards stops when they have reached the target square. They do not comply with the instruction on this second square.
10. If a payment is due and the player does not have enough money to pay, s/he stays on the square and becomes a beggar.
11. Two or more players may occupy the same square at the same time.

Special Squares
Tax Contribution

Each time a player passes the “tax payment” square, s/he has to pay tax. (Players pay as they pass over the square, even if they do not land on it). The amount of tax to be paid depends on the player’s salary and on the city.
City A 40% if salary of 500 or more
10% if salary is 100 or less
City B 10% irrespective of salary

Note: An unemployed person with no unemployment benefit pays no taxes. An unemployed person who receives benefit pays 10% of the unemployment benefit, irrespective of the city. The tax payment is paid to the City Banker of the respective city. (Players in City A to City A’s banker, and players in City B to City B’s banker).


Each time a player passes the “start and salary” square (you do not have to stop on the square, only pass it), s/he receives their respective salary from the Game Banker. If the player is unemployed, and if the city has a social security system, they receive unemployment benefit from the City Banker.

Chance for Change

Any player who lands on the “chance for change” square may choose whether to change city or not (change from City A to City B, or from City B to City A). In order to change, a player needs only to announce his/her decision to the rest of the players and the bankers. On their next turn, they move on round the path in the other city.
A player who changes city continues to receive the same salary as before, but they pay taxes according to the new city’s tax scheme.

City Council Meetings

All players who are in the city attend city council meetings. The meeting is an opportunity to make changes (if any) to the city’s policy.
The meeting can take place at every 5th payment of taxes. The City Bankers keep a record of how many people have passed the tax payment square in their city. When every fifth person has passed the square, s/he calls a meeting.
Players in the city can decide whether they want to hold a meeting or not.
The game stops during a city council meeting and the players of the other city have to wait until the meeting is finished before resuming the game.
Players have 5 minutes to decide the needs of the city and any changes in policy. Policy options are given on the replacement cards and the citizens can refer to a copy of the replacement cards sheet to know which policies are “on the agenda” (that is, the options they can choose).
To change a policy, players have to buy a replacement card out of the city’s taxes. The cost is stated on each card. The City Council can only make changes that it can afford. The City Banker pays the amount due to the Game Banker. Citizens can decide to change as many policies as they wish, but they have to be able to afford them.
A city council that is in financial trouble can decide to “sell back” one or more replacement cards to the Game Banker.
The “buy-back” price is 50% of the original cost.
Rich individuals may, if they wish, contribute to the city funds in order to buy replacement cards.
The banker uses a very small amount of the “Blu-tac” to stick the replacement card onto the board over the agreed square.

Replacement Cards

There are 17 replacement cards that represent policies that the city council can adopt at a council meeting. Replacement cards are purchased from the Game Banker at the cost printed on the card. Once purchased, the City Banker sticks the card(s) onto the board, over an existing square as decided by the citizens.
Any square may be “replaced”. If, at the time of replacement, there is a player on that square, s/he does not comply with the new instructions. The new policy only comes in force when the next player lands on that square.
At a City Council meeting citizens/players decide the city policy and may purchase one or more replacement cards. All cards must be paid for.


A player who has no money to pay their taxes or other payments stays on the square where they have just landed and becomes a “beggar”. However, if there is a home for the homeless in the city, beggars may choose to sleep there, if they wish to, instead of on the square where they landed. Moving does not release a beggar from his/her debts.
S/he can beg for money from every player who lands on the square where s/he is sitting. It is up to each player whether or not they give money to the beggar. When the “beggar” has enough money to pay their dues they wait for their next turn, pay their dues, throw the dice and move on.
Beggars throw the dice every alternate time their turn comes round. It is a chance they take.

Throw a 6 Find 50 Ems in a rubbish bin.
Throw a 5 Collect 20 empty beer bottles and get 50 Ems for the deposits - if the city has a recycling centre!
Throw a 4 The next person who passes you gives you 10 Ems.
Throw a 3 You are cold and have no energy and sleep through your next turn.
Throw a 2 You sleep in the park and find a 10 Em note under the bench. If the city has renovated the park, you find 20 Ems.
Throw a 1 You get robbed. Hand the next donation you receive over to the City Banker

A beggar’s winnings are paid by the City Banker of the city in which the beggar lives.

When does the game end?

Players decide how to end the game before they start. They can choose one of the following options:
• when the first player completes 20 rounds
• after an agreed length of time, for example, 45 minutes.
Note: the game will automatically end if one city goes bankrupt

The winner is the person with the most money at the end of the game.

Replacement cards

Renovation of the park, with swimming pool and children’s play area.
Cost: 200 Ems
Clean up the park.
Cost: 100 Ems
Roads are good now. Totally reconstructed.
Move on 3 squares.
Cost: 400 Ems
Roads are OK, holes are patched. Good only until next City Council meeting.
Cost: 200 Ems.
You lose your job! Unemployment fund pays 30% of your salary. City must have a reserve of 1000 Ems.
You get ill. Public hospital is fully subsidised. Pay only 10 Ems. Cost: 600 Ems. You get ill. Public hospital partly subsidised. Pay 30 Ems for treatment. Cost: 400 Ems. Beach access free! Just enjoy! Cost for subsidising access: 100 Ems. Transport problems eased with cycle path. Cost of  cycle path: 150 Ems. School strike over. Have an extra throw! Cost of increased salaries: 400 Ems.
A new theatre and cinema opened. Cost: 400 Ems. Your father is retired but has no pension. Establish pension scheme. Cost: 400 Ems. You want to read and now there is a library! Have an extra throw. Cost of library: 200 Ems. No more street kids. An orphanage has been  constructed. Cost of orphanage: 200 Ems. Recycling system reduces garbage. Move on 3  squares. Cost of recycling system: 150 Ems.
You have a legal problem. Get a publicly funded lawyer. Go 2 squares forward. Cost: 200 Ems. No more homeless people sleeping rough. A shelter has been opened. Cost: 200 Ems      

“Money” for the game can be found here.

City Bankers’ task sheet
Neither city starts with any money. All revenue will come from taxes paid as players pass the tax payment square.

1. City Bankers use the tally sheet to keep a record of how many players pass the “tax payment” square and call a city council meeting as every 5th player passes.

2. City Bankers collect taxes from each player in their city as the player passes the tax payment square. Note: Players who have changed city pay the new taxes.

The tax scheme is as follows:
City A 40% if salary of 500 or more
10% if salary is 100 or less

City B 10% irrespective of salary
Unemployed citizens who receive no benefit pay no taxes
Unemployed citizens receiving benefit pay 10% of their benefit.

3. City Bankers’ other tasks:
• look after the city’s money
• pay to the Game Banker any payments due for the purchase of replacement cards
• stick replacement cards on the board over the square agreed by the citizens at a council meeting
• administer the unemployment fund as and when the city decides to establish one
• pay unemployment benefit to players who are entitled to receive it if the city has agreed to set up a social security system. There must be at least 1000 Ems in the bank at the time of setting up the system.
• Keep an eye on the beggars in your city and ensure correct play when they chance a throw with the dice:
Throw a 6 They find 50 Ems in a rubbish bin
Throw a 5 They collect 20 empty beer bottles and get 50 Ems for the deposits - if the city has a recycling centre!
Throw a 4 The next person who passes them gives them 10 Ems
Throw a 3 They get drunk and sleep through their next turn
Throw a 2 They sleep in the park and find a 10 Em note under the bench. If the city has renovated the park, they find 20 Ems.
Throw a 1 They get robbed and hand over the next donation - or any money they chance to find next throw.

Note: you hand over the money if they chance to find any in the park or in a rubbish bin, and you take money from them if they get robbed.

Record of tax payments
Each time a player in your city passes the “tax payment” square, collect their taxes and check off one segment in the first circle. When 5 players have been checked off, call the first city council. When play resumes start checking off segments in the second circle, and so on.


Game Banker’s role card
At the start of the game the Game Banker has all the money. S/he is to:

1. Ensure the game runs smoothly
• start the game
• ensure the rules are followed
• time all city council meetings. They should last a maximum of 5 minutes and
• stop the game after the agreed playing time or when the first player completes the agreed number of rounds,
whichever was agreed.

2. Keep records
• at the start of the game record the name, colour and city of each player
• record how many times each player passes “start and salary”

3. Pay a salary to each player at the start of the game, and every subsequent time they pass the “start and salary” square. Salaries are paid according to the players’ colour regardless of which city they are in:
• Blue players: 500 Ems
• Red players: 100 Ems

4. Collect all payments for replacement cards from the City Bankers.

Tally sheet
Record players’ names with a red or blue pen according to their colour. It is recommended that you use the five-bar gate method of keeping the tally. Each of the first four rounds is recorded with a line  and on the fifth round you strike them through. The sixth round you start another set of five. In this way you can easily sum the rounds. Thus a count of twelve would look like this:

Players in city A at the start of the game
Name of player Number of times passed “start” (up to 20)


Players in city B at the start of the game
Name of player Number of times passed “start” (up to 20)