Proof that games have been training some of the world’s most amazing political actors for over 100 years: this week, my social media echo-chambers have been ringing with the “rediscovery” of Suffragetto, a game of activism and state violence designed by the militant British Women’s Social and Political Union circa 1908.
Militant suffragettes are pitted against a team of police officers in a quest to occupy the House of Commons while defending the famous Royal Albert Hall. While the police put women in prison, women put the police in the hospital. Players retrieve detained or injured pawns by negotiating prisoner-swaps.
There are too many great things to say about this: it is a present-day opportunity to learn about a pivotal time in the political history of British democracy, an astounding example of games as teaching tools in history, and an opportunity to cast ourselves back to the dramatic political climate of the day. And that’s just off the top of my head! Who says games can’t teach you anything?
Check out the fabulous article at Suffrajistu for a great summary with some fabulous pictures. But be sure to check out Georgia Tech’s critical look at the history of the game. Not only do they present the game in a its historical context, they even have all the files you need to create your own “print and play” copy—complete with schematics for 3D-printing the pieces!