Category: Final Projects / Projects 2018
*Download to final presentation below*
Motherlandia is a cooperative/player versus player board game that I was inspired to create after attending a conference on innovative solutions to global and bioenvironmental problems called Bioneers. During this conference, I developed an interest in the importance of soil as a regenerative ecology, indigenous peoples connection to the earth and how that allows them to design sustainable farming practices. The core concept is a viable link to the theory of sacred geometry. Their relationship is an example of a universal pattern to sustain life. During the initial ideation phase I imagined an interactive piece displaying a visual transition of our impact on soil and the resulting loss of traditional means to caring for the earth. Instead, I moved forward by developing a board game, focusing on core mechanics, theme, game play, and interaction.
Throughout game play the intention is to evoke a sense of urgency that reminds players of humankind’s role in the Anthropocene. I found myself asking questions like: How are women, as key figures, and our body work used as a source of labor in the protection of the environment? Are algorithms a subcomponent of sacred geometry and the key to revitalize harmony in our built/natural environment? And what is the bilateral relationship between females farmers and their soil? How is this relationship reflected through sacred geometry? I concluded my final hypothesis asking, How can we understand the connection between indigenous practices, natural resources, and sacred geometry? How can this be utilized to better understand our relationship with the earth? This question links directly to the concept of the real because it incorporates the very real problem of agriculture’s dominant and passive role in climate change. The goal of the project is to get players actively thinking about real world scenarios as they pertain to climate change and how they can educate themselves through game play. I believe this project is significant because when it comes to understanding wicked problems, we need creative ways to reach audiences who may be unaware of what is going on within a global context.
Three years ago was the beginning of my transition from ignorance to conscious observer, on the impacts of human consumption on our planet. It became something I could no longer ignore. I began monitoring my bad habits, as well as those around me, noticing how we have turned nature into a capitalist driven cesspool where profit is of higher desire than our ability to coexist with it. This is something of constant concern and great interest to me. I have become fixated on the relationship between human consumption and reliance of earth as it relates to natural resources, specifically food and water, and how this dynamic perpetuates environmental injustice. The audience central to all of my work are those who are the first to be impacted by injustice –marginalized communities. As a marginalized person, I have had the innate desire to understand communities outside of my own in relation to the environment, identity, and other social determiners. I am constantly in flux to consume information in an effort to not only become a well-rounded designer but an empathetic one. With Motherlandia, in particular I want to build upon the aesthetic components of the game, while taking into consideration the advice I received from our guest lecturer Ayo, how I can physically embed elements of nature into game play. When he made his statement I was fascinated, because I have been wanting to create an intimate component to the game play that physical differs from board games I have referenced in my research. This is something I have begun brainstorming on and will experiment with before our time at Aalto next spring.
This project is for anyone interested in the following: indigenous peoples and/or practices, climate change, board games, and playing to learn something applicable to our reality. Currently the game suggests for players +16 and older to play but honestly it’s open to anyone who is willing to sit down to dissect it. To play Motherlandia there must be a minimum of two players. Players set the game by putting New World cards (light blue deck), Depletion cards (orange deck), and War activation cards (light orange deck) placed in their designated spots on the board. As a group select a sacred shape to repair. Choices are, repair the Earth’s Crust is Overheating or repair the Earth’s Breath is Polluted. Place the broken shape in the center of the game board. Put the shapes broken pieces (abstract color shapes) to any side of the game board. Players select character sets of their choice: Tree Cloaks, Dual Spirit, Polytist, Watician, and Crop Healers. Next, players then distribute an uneven amount of all of the resources based on the number of players. 6. Based on the broken shape you selected, disperse the following amount of resources on the game board for each remaining shape and double it (Earth’s Crust is Overheating = 2 of each resource
Earth’s Breath is Polluted = 3 of each resource). To begin gameplay Oerth descendants influence allow them to go first. If there is more than one Oerth character class, its players choice between whoever is an Oerth descendant. After a decision is reached between Oerth, Pyowi have players choice on who goes in the descending order, after Oerth, if there is more than one player who has is of Pyowi descent. First player draws two cards from the depletion deck and places them on the board. Players have 3 actions to make per turn (Trade & distribute resources, build a defense, repair 1 shape side and draw a card from the New World deck). At the end of each players turn pull one depletion card. From here on out, players can begin the game.
Motherlandia functions as a cooperative and player versus player game. The way this is allowed is through the WAR card activation through the depletion deck. If a war breaks out during the game, for one round the game turns from a cooperative into a player versus player scenario. Players have to act on behalf of their community in order to retain their resources, otherwise there is the chance their resources can be depleted. Outside of this card, so far the game runs but I still need to make further iterations of the rules in order to impact various ways one can lose or win. This being the first board game I have created, I took multiple avenues of research: the internet, a board game café, speaking to people who have or have not played board games, and professors at Parsons. The integration of these research areas changed over the course of development but it all feel together after attending the board game café. This allowed me to experiences the joy and frustrations of playing a game, which in the end was extremely helpful.