This board game is an educational tool for talking with children of 10 years of age and up, on challenging topics such as conflict, war, violence, discrimination, peace, solidarity, equality and freedom.
The target group is broad encompassing children from the age of 10 years upwards to young people to adults, though it is primarily aimed at children and young people.
The need addressed is related to the attitudes of children and young people to war and conflict. The board game was developed as an educational tool to talk with children of 10 years age and up, on certain challenging conceptual topics such as conflict, war, violence, discrimination, peace, solidarity, equality and freedom.
The aims of the project
- The aim of designing the board game was to produce an educational tool, which is based on human rights values, that would allow children to explore concepts such as conflict and peace. During the game, the players play against the board, which promotes the idea of cooperation instead of competition. During the course of play, players figure out that in order to ‘win’ the game; they need to secure peace for the ‘lands’ of all players. To do that, they need to promote human rights values, and share their resources and innovations.
Time for Peace is a board game, which is played by 2 to 4 players. It is a cooperative game. In the game, each player has a land card with 4 scales on it. The scales identify the situation of 4 parameters in their community;
- awareness on ecology
- social participation
All 4 parameters fall into three stages; a stage of conflict (when the parameter is in low levels), a stage of peace and a stage of sustainable peace (when the level of parameter is really high). Each player has 4 pawns, showing which level they are on each scale, therefore identifying if they are in a conflict situation in any of the parameters or not.
At the beginning of the game, parameters on each land are at different levels for different players, but all pawns are on the stage of peace. The players start to play with what is called; a ‘Rainbow’ deck. Throughout the game, players have to move their pawns on these scales as a result of card play, and it usually happens that one player falls under the conflict stage in one of the parameters. From this point on, all the players need to switch to play with what is called a ‘Nightmare’ deck. If the players cannot act in solidarity (by changing cards or offering their own progress steps); things get complicated very soon for all of them and more players find more of their parameters fall under the conflict stage. If they can work things out in care and solidarity, all the pawns of all players move back to the peace stage, the players can turn back to play with the Rainbow deck instead of the Nightmare deck.
When cards in any of these two decks are finished, if any parameter of any player is in conflict stage, all the players lose. The aim is to keep all the pawns of all the players on the peace stage (if not sustainable peace stage), before one of the decks runs out.
All the cards in the game have different drawings on them, which are related with the 4 aspects that are at play: awareness on ecology, equality, social participation and anti-violence. Some cards visualise the negative consequences and others show what needs to be done for a peaceful society in which equality is the foundation. Participation for all is secured, people are in harmony with nature and violence is at its lowest level. The drawings provide material for deepening understanding on the concepts that the game tackles.
Innovation and Impact
Apart from being a cooperative board game on peacebuilding, ‘Time for Peace’ is not didactic and has a win / lose dynamic that is based on cooperation. Out of 88 cards in the game, only 16 of them have words, which are also supported by visuals. The extensive use of visuals in the design of the game makes it possible to be played even without having the need to read or write in a certain language once you learn the rules.
The game also has a puzzling effect. It is difficult for players to figure out how to win against the game in the first round and often they start to play for their own personal benefit. But once they lose and start a new round, they are usually more supportive of each other. The trick in the gameplay is that, if they are too caring of others and ignore their own needs, they will also lose the game. The ‘time for peace’ only comes when you care for your own and others needs in an on-going cooperative effort.
During the playtest phase of the game design, the impact of the game rules on children became evident. As they sat around the table knowing that they will play a game, some would immediately start to talk about how they are going to win the game and crush the ‘others’. As the rules are being explained and it becomes clear that they need to cooperate to win, the dialogue between the players starts to change to a cooperative and softer language. Each time the game is over, the facilitators reflect on the game with players. The children quickly understand the links between the game and real life, and start to give examples from their neighbourhood or school life – situations in which it is important to watch for one another.Since 2012, the game has been played officially more than 4000 times in schools as part of workshops - there is no record of how many times it has been played afterwards by the different groups. The volunteers in more than 15 cities across Turkey continue to play the game regularly within social projects at their schools.
The game has also been translated into Arabic, in order to be played with refugee children who had to flee from Syria. The boxes are sent to community and youth centres, which supports these families. The organisations involved are looking for possibilities to translate the game in more languages and to further disseminate the ‘Time for Peace’.
Link with the Council of Europe
Trainers Pool:Gulesin Nemutlu Unal is a member of the Pool of Trainers of the Youth Department of the Council of Europe
Partners and Contacts
The board game was developed by tekne Learning Constructs Office, within the frame of the ‘White Hats’ project, run by TOG – Toplum Gonulluleri Vakfi / Community Volunteers Foundation in Istanbul. The first publication of the game was financed by the support provided by Jannsen Turkey.
- Baris Zamani
- Gulesin Nemutlu Unal