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Games for Change, a leading voice for social change in video games, is getting way into tabletop

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Games for Change, the leading voice of video games promoting positive social change, has spent the last few years just like the rest of us – getting into board games and tabletop RPGs. The nonprofit is celebrating its 20th anniversary this July, and to celebrate, it will present the first Best Board or Tabletop Game for Impact Awards at its flagship Games for Change festival in New York City. Play Gamez is pleased to announce the four finalists, along with an interview with the organization’s president, Susanna Pollack.

While Games for Change has long supported serious games across multiple platforms — including mobile, console and even virtual reality devices — Pollack said the campaign to properly engage with tabletop experiences It is the result of grassroots effort.

“There was a lot of community demand for this,” Pollack said. “We thought it was time we wanted to celebrate that. And there were so many exciting projects coming out, and Kickstarter is giving life to so many amazing ideas, and it was coming in so many directions that we said this is the year we want to take it and actually start building Want the community within Games for Change to embrace this culture and this type of gaming experience.”

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Another major driving factor, he said, was the work of its major financial partners – including tabletop giant Hasbro, which publishes Dungeons & Dragons and more, along with many different board games. Magic the Gathering,

“They have done [been] are becoming more and more involved in our community,” Pollack said, including the Rhode Island-based gaming giant as well as Niantic (pokemon Go), epic games (Fortnite), and Riot Games (League of Legends, “They are looking for an opportunity to make an impact in their sense, big brands and big sports. And so they started becoming part of our youth programming. […] so is happening [this demand for recognition] People coming from different directions really made us feel like this was the moment.”

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Here are the inaugural Best Board or Tabletop Game of 2023 nominees for Impact, with details provided by Games for Change:

solarpunk futures by Solarpunk Surf Club, USA

Solarpunk Futures cards are square, and fit into a small box.  Classes include Teacher, Elder, Coordinator, Producer, Maker, Healer, Hacker, and Engineer.

Image: Solarpunk Surf Club

“An artist’s game for a collaborative utopian vision, working in (and against) the traditions of tabletop role-playing, whereby players use backcasting and modified consensus to collectively ‘remember’ stories about how Their ancestors built a socio-ecological utopia.”

Governance: Independence by Abhishek Lamba and Zain Memon, India

A series of interlocking tiles filled with wooden rondels, some with screenprinted designs and some without.

Photo: Abhishek Lamba and Zain Memon

,A semi-cooperative political strategy board game where players play as revolutionaries trying to free their country from the grip of tyrannical imperial power. If they succeed, only one will emerge as the leader of the new nation.”

el viaje de las y los guardians ,parent visit) by Creatura Estudio, Colombia

The components of Journey of the Guardians include colorful, cartoon-illustrated cards as well as cardboard tokens and a sand timer.  All of them are presented on a plain blue background.

Image: Creatura Estudio

“A children’s board game about using empathy through play to bridge differences between students from different backgrounds. Through carefully constructed challenges, students reflect on their own cultural experiences.

#For You: A Game About Algorithms by MediaSmarts, Canada

The three cards in #ForYou include the cards listed as Algorithm, Data, and Audience.

Image: Mediasmarts

“A card-based pattern-matching game that helps young people aged 13 to 18 understand the role of algorithms in their online and offline lives and the value of their personal information to the companies that use those algorithms. “

In addition to the awards ceremony, which will take place on July 19 at 7 p.m. EDT, Games for Change will also host a formal discussion at the United Nations where industry leaders will reflect on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

“It seems that sustainability covers a very broad range of issues,” Pollack said. “It includes economic development, it includes peace and security, equality and diversity, and of course climate and environment.

“We expect more than a dozen UN agencies in the same room with the game industry: AAA studios from Xbox to EA, companies like YouTube Gaming, and we have Dr. Lupo coming from the streamer community [as well], We really want to show both the United Nations and the non-profit sector that supports the Sustainable Development Goals, all the possibilities that can be made real by using games in many different contexts, and [at] Also inform the sports industry about the needs of the United Nations and others and how we can help build those relationships and collaborations.

The Games for Change festival, which runs from July 18 to 20, will be livestreamed. Tickets are also available for those who wish to attend in person. Additionally, these four tabletop games will also be made available on the organization’s website, along with over 275 arcade titles.

“I expect this is just the beginning of a lot of interest from the tabletop and board game community in attending next year’s awards,” said Pollack. Submissions for the 2024 awards are expected to open in November or December, but he also hinted at additional opportunities in tabletop game design in the short term.

“We’ve run a game design program in the US for the last nine years,” Pollack said. “It’s been a very successful program for middle and high school students, and we want to expand it to tabletop games as well.”

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