$44,976
pledged of $15,000 goal
921
backers
21days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Wed, August 8 2018 2:00 AM UTC +00:00.

Lafair Family GamesBy Lafair Family Games
First created
Lafair Family GamesBy Lafair Family Games
First created
$44,976
pledged of $15,000 goal
921
backers
21days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Wed, August 8 2018 2:00 AM UTC +00:00.

About

In Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game, you are a mapmaker, which means you make maps... and determine who wins elections. Can you crack and pack voters? Can you scheme and strategize? Can you create unfair, lopsided, strangely shaped districts that will guarantee your party's victory? Gerrymandering with friends and family (when it doesn't affect real voters) is a whole lot of fun

Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game
Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game

We’re three siblings from a gerrymandered district in Austin, TX. We wanted to spread the word about gerrymandering, so we invented a board game.

We grew up in a gerrymandered district (District 10) in Austin, TX.
We grew up in a gerrymandered district (District 10) in Austin, TX.

1-4 players take turns drawing districts in 30-45 minutes. 

Mapmaker is fast to learn and fast to play. It’s full of surprises, maneuvers, and outmaneuvers. It’s a simple way to try your hand at gerrymandering.

Back of Box
Back of Box

Our dream: the Supreme Court plays Mapmaker. 

Each player belongs to a political party: Red Elephants, Blue Donkeys, Yellow Porcupines, or Green Leaves. (Fun fact: the yellow porcupine is the symbol of the Libertarian Party.)

You all start with the same number of voters, randomly spread across the board. 

Random setup for a 3-player game of Mapmaker. The variable setup makes every game unique.
Random setup for a 3-player game of Mapmaker. The variable setup makes every game unique.

You take turns placing 4 district borders, splitting voters into districts. Whoever has the most voters within the district claims that district.

The Yellow Porcupines just won this district with 11 votes. It contains a swing county (the purple 0), which will help break ties at end of game.
The Yellow Porcupines just won this district with 11 votes. It contains a swing county (the purple 0), which will help break ties at end of game.

Whoever has the most districts at the end wins. Swing counties break ties. Here's a full explanation of the multiplayer and solo rules in under 5 minutes:

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Here's a sample playthrough:

Here is a PDF with the rules. Who among your friends and family will be best at gerrymandering?

Gerrymandering is when politicians draw their districts. They choose their voters instead of the other way around. This video explains how it works in 90 seconds:

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Help us send copies of Mapmaker to your state legislators, governors, and Supreme Court justices. In most states, legislators draw the districts and governors can veto them. The Supreme Court has failed to strike down gerrymandering in several cases this year. Remind them that gerrymandering is not a game. We’re including a “Gerrymandering Is Not a Game” proclamation inside every box. 

Gerrymandering is a major cause of our current political climate: it protects incumbents, limits competition, and increases polarization. In districts across the country, it robs voters of their voice. Nevertheless, gerrymandering doesn’t receive enough targeted attention. Most news coverage and money pours into federal elections—even though local state elections are what influence gerrymandering. In 37 states, the state legislature is in charge of redistricting. Before inventing this game (and doing more research) we didn’t realize that most governors in these states have veto power over gerrymandered maps. It’s our responsibility to bring gerrymandering into the spotlight, to put pressure on legislators and governors who gerrymander. Redistricting happens every ten years. Before 2021 redistricting, which will affect elections for the next decade, we hope to add momentum to the anti-gerrymandering movement. 

We designed Mapmaker over the past year. We wanted to create a game that was elegant and tense. We wanted people coming back again and again. We wanted “gotcha” moments. We wanted Mapmaker to feel like you were really gerrymandering.

We got feedback from 100+ playtesters: young and old, regular gamers and people who rarely play board games. They all helped us improve Mapmaker. We’re excited to share the results with you :)

Early prototypes of Mapmaker, made with components from Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Cosmic Encounter, and Othello.
Early prototypes of Mapmaker, made with components from Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Cosmic Encounter, and Othello.
Wooden prototypes of Mapmaker, laser cut at Stanford's Product Realization Lab.
Wooden prototypes of Mapmaker, laser cut at Stanford's Product Realization Lab.
Left: 3 swing counties won by a narrow margin. Right: a game won with a 12-county district.
Left: 3 swing counties won by a narrow margin. Right: a game won with a 12-county district.
Just some of the playtesters who helped make Mapmaker better :)
Just some of the playtesters who helped make Mapmaker better :)
White sample from manufacturer (to ensure high quality materials).
White sample from manufacturer (to ensure high quality materials).
The 3 Lafair siblings playing a game of Mapmaker.
The 3 Lafair siblings playing a game of Mapmaker.
Click the quote for a full review by Dad's Gaming Addiction.
Click the quote for a full review by Dad's Gaming Addiction.
    
Father Geek, Parent Geek, and Gamer Geek approved! Click through for a full review.
Father Geek, Parent Geek, and Gamer Geek approved! Click through for a full review.
                    

KVUE article

KXAN article

Austin Chronicle article

Houston Chronicle article

Kotaku article

Dad's Gaming Addiction preview

Board Gaming For the Win preview

Father Geek review

Meeting our funding goal allows us to order the minimum number of games from our manufacturer. As we reach higher goals, we can afford to make the components higher quality. Note that these are all component upgrades. We don't believe in changing the gameplay, which is thoroughly playtested and ready for you.

1 board (20x20 inches, folds into 4 squares, 2mm thick)
1 board (20x20 inches, folds into 4 squares, 2mm thick)
1 rulebook (3 gloss pages, folded and stapled)
1 rulebook (3 gloss pages, folded and stapled)
110 wooden district borders
110 wooden district borders
75 voters tokens (18 per party, 1 neutral swing country, and 2 spares)
75 voters tokens (18 per party, 1 neutral swing country, and 2 spares)
28 district markers (7 per party)
28 district markers (7 per party)
5 plastic bags
5 plastic bags
1 Gerrymandering Is Not a Game proclamation
1 Gerrymandering Is Not a Game proclamation

Personal and Family Packs 

Order a game. Order multiple games. Get gifts for friends and families. The Family Pack comes with 3 copies of Mapmaker, +1 for every $35. See who’s best at gerrymandering (and make gerrymandering a household conversation).

State Pack 

In addition to getting your own copy, help us send copies to your state legislature. In most states, the state legislature is in charge of redistricting. For every $35, we’ll send another copy to an additional legislator. We want all members of your state legislature to get multiple copies of Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game. To remind them, before 2021 redistricting, that gerrymandering is not a game.

Also help us send copies to your governor. In all of the above states (except Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, and North Carolina), the governor can veto gerrymandered maps. We want all governors with veto power to get multiple copies of Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game. To remind them, before 2021 redistricting, that gerrymandering is not a game.

We'll send you one copy. After the campaign, you can choose whether we send your extra games to your state legislature, governor, or both (if you help fund 2+ extra games). You can even choose specific legislators, or let us decide.

Supreme Pack 

In addition to getting your own copy, help us send copies to all nine members of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has failed to rule against partisan gerrymandering in all of its recent cases (Gill v. Whitford, Benisek v. Lamone, and Common Cause v. Rucho). In our own state of Texas, in Abbot v. Perez, the Supreme Court just upheld 10 out of 11 district maps that appeared to be racially gerrymandered. 

If you order the Supreme Pack, we'll send one copy to you and one to each Supreme Court justice. We want all Supreme Court justices to get multiple copies of Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering game. To remind them, in any future cases, that gerrymandering is not a game. 

Super PAC 

Get five games for you, friends, and family. Help us send games to all nine Supreme Court justices, all 32 governors with veto power over gerrymandered maps, and all 37 state legislatures who draw maps. Help us remind them, before 2021 redistricting, that gerrymandering is not a game.

Thank you so much for your Super support in making this game a reality and combating gerrymandering.

Pre-Production Pack 

We laser cut prototypes of Mapmaker at Stanford's Product Realization Lab. All voter tokens, district borders, and district markers are wooden. The board is vinyl. We'll send your signed, limited edition copy right after the campaign ends in a tube. (We will also send a standard copy of the game with the normal production run, so you'll have both.)

Wooden components laser cut at Stanford's Product Realization Lab
Wooden components laser cut at Stanford's Product Realization Lab
Left: wooden elephant meeples. Right: the 5 swing counties, including 1 neutral swing county (depicting a "swing").
Left: wooden elephant meeples. Right: the 5 swing counties, including 1 neutral swing county (depicting a "swing").

Like and share on Facebook. Follow and share on Twitter. Become a fan on BoardGameGeek.

Email your relatives. Text your friends. Share the Kickstarter link: http://bit.ly/GerrymanderingGame

@message your state legislators and governors. Help us make #GerrymanderingIsNotAGame trend.

We created a theme song for Mapmaker. Because why not? And because more board game should have theme songs. We based it on “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” a song from the musical Fiddler on the Roof.

Louis (left) is a senior at Stanford University, and Rebecca (right) is a senior at Northeastern University. Joshua (middle) is a junior in high school; he is five years younger and almost a full foot taller.
Louis (left) is a senior at Stanford University, and Rebecca (right) is a senior at Northeastern University. Joshua (middle) is a junior in high school; he is five years younger and almost a full foot taller.

Our previous experiences in game design, product management, event planning, and finance have prepared us for creating Mapmaker.

Louis invented the board game Pathwayz at age 11, which got published by Go! Games. It has sold in Barnes & Noble and hundreds of stores across North America. Pathwayz won Dr. Toy Best Pick of 2014 and was recommended by Mensa in 2015. Earlier this year, Louis developed an AI that could beat him at his own game. He has also served as a National Student Poet and worked as a Product Manager in Silicon Valley.

Rebecca co-founded TEDxNortheasternU and TEDxYouth@Austin. She is studying finance and economics at Northeastern University. She has done internships in consulting and finance. On weekends, she enjoys hiking, traveling, yoga, and eating chocolate.

Joshua is still in high school and not yet eligible to vote. Nevertheless, he spends a lot of time discussing politics. He loves playing board games and tennis. He (almost) always beats his siblings at ping pong.

We all grew up playing board games together. We’re excited to bring you our first joint game as Lafair Family Games. 

For Mapmaker, we've partnered with Go! Games, the local publisher that also published Pathwayz. We’ve worked with them before so trust them. We know that they create and deliver high quality products on time.

The game is thoroughly playtested. The rules are proofread. The artwork is essentially final (we'll be asking for your feedback for any last changes). 

All we need is the number of copies to order. 

Some Kickstarters charge backers for shipping after the campaign. We don’t want to do that to you. We’re charging everything upfront. And we’re including free shipping to anywhere in the United States. We’ve built it into the cost of the game, which we’ve lowered as much as possible for you.

We’re also shipping to Canada for an added $15. Because we’re charging upfront, we’re being conservative and accounting for the weight of stretch goals.

Unfortunately, we are not shipping elsewhere. In the typical egocentric fashion of the United States, we are focusing on the United States. This is our first Kickstarter campaign, so we don’t want take on more than we can handle. We want to ensure all of our backers receive the game on time.

Anyone outside the U.S. and Canada will still be able to get a Print and Play copy. We're also assessing interest in international shipping here to see if adding it is feasible.

Hi friendly local game stores! We'd love to have Mapmaker in your stores. Fill out this (non-binding) order form, and we'll be in touch after the Kickstarter campaign ends :)

A ton of people (playtesters, advisors, etc.) have helped us get here. We want to try thanking all of you!

Parents

Thank you Mom for the fundraising advice. Thank you Dad for the legal advice. Thank you both for all the support along the way.

Board Game and Kickstarter Advisors

Thank you Steve Jackson for taking the time to meet with us, helping us think about game design, playtesting Mapmaker, and inspiring us with your own games.

Thank you Mike Fitzgerald for taking the time to call us, for your board game and Kickstarter suggestions, and for all the games you’ve designed over the years.

Thank you Erik Dahlman for your invaluable Kickstarter advice throughout this process and being there whenever we had dumb questions.

Creative Producers

Thank you Julia Semionova for your incredible graphic design and countless iterations.

Thank you Geoffrey Moskovitz for your incredible videos and super fast turnaround.

Thank you Rachel Gianforte for laser cutting the wooden prototypes, Michael Tucker for doing a video voiceover, and Chris Swenson for taking photos.

Thank you Brooke Silverstein and Matthew Riley for recording the theme song.

Gerrymandering Experts

Thank you Ruth Greenwood for having a gerrymandering wedding cake. For your help spreading the word about Mapmaker. And for all you’ve done to fight gerrymandering in courts through the Campaign Legal Center.

Thank you Ellen Freidin for taking the time to call us, review our Gerrymandering Is Not a Game proclamation, and fighting gerrymandering in Florida.

Thank you Sue Mosher for being first to test Mapmaker with an on-the-grounds anti-gerrymandering group, Virginia 2021.

Thank you Jonathan Mattingly and Gregory Herschlag for helping us learn more about gerrymandering.

Thank you Morris Gottesman and Kathy Roth-Douquet for the introductions.

Thank you David Daley for writing Ratf**cked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count, Justin Levitt for creating All About Redistricting, and the folks at FiveThirtyEight for producing The Gerrymandering Project podcast. We highly recommend all three for people interested in learning more.

Thank you to everyone else who’s out there—all the local and national groups—who are trying to prevent gerrymandering. Special shoutouts to the Campaign Legal Center, Indivisible Austin, Walk the Lines, Fair Districts PA, Draw the Lines PA, Fair Districts GA, Better Utah, Better Boundaries, Voters Not Politicians, Represent.Us, and FairVote.

Other Advisors

Thank you Ross Garber for making everything we do better.

Thank you Linda SalomonErik Josowitz, Dave Shaw, and Martha Pincoffs for all the PR help.

Thank you Pete Kennedy for your legal advice and the Steve Jackson introduction.

Thank you Emma Dauterman for reviewing all the things so many times and believing in us throughout.

Go! Games 

Thank you Jennifer Schubert for letting us pitch the game and agreeing to partner with us.

Thank you Caroline Stokes for being there every step of the way and helping us figure out taxes.

Thank you Marc Winkelman for spearheading Go! Games and for all of your extraordinary help and generosity.

Playtesters and Beta Group

Thank you to all people who’ve tried Mapmaker, read the instructions, reviewed graphic designs, previewed our Kickstarter page, and provided feedback over the past year! You’ve helped make the game so much better. We’re definitely missing some of you on this list, so just ping us at GerrymanderingGame@gmail.com, and we’ll add you :)

Thank you Andy Aceves, Deborah Applefeld, Noah Arthurs, Adam Austin, Abby Baldwin, Jacob Baldwin, Houston Barnett-Gearhart, Diane Moore Bertotti, Sawyer Birnbaum, Aaron Bracket, Scott Breece, Zoe Bohn, Veer Chauhan, Andrew Chauvin, Abby Chen, Eric Chi, Shannon Crowe, Erik Dahlman, David Daley, Zach Dammann, Emma Dauterman, Bekah Davis, Jacob Davis, Holly Dayton, Missa Mayberry Dewlen, Hannah DeYoung, Matt Dunims, Matthew Dunham, Selina Eshraghi, Veronique Falkovich, Matthew Feinberg, Jacqueline Firsty, Mike Fitzgerald, Dana Freed, Ellen Freidin, Alex Fritz, Roland Gabois, Harrison Garber, Hattie Gawande, Rachel Gianforte, Morris Gottesman, Ruth Greenwood, Max Grody, David Hailey, Katie Harker, Jessica Lynn Harmon, Bob Haugen, Gregory Herschlag, Michaela Hinks, Judi Hollander, Josiah Hoskins, Dylan Hunn, Ian Hutchinson, David Iken, Alexis Ivec, Steve Jackson, Saachi Jain, Jeremiah Jasong, Sonja Johnson-Yu, Audra Kaplan, Ummon Karpe, Lauren Killingsworth, Rachel Kosoy, William Kuszmaul, Jack Li, Jonathan Leistiko, Tyler Leite, Nick Lenard, Sheldon Levin, Matt Lewis, Pablo Lozano, Dan Manfredini, Max Marion, Hayden Mast, Gavin Matthews, Jonathan Mattingly, Jamal Middlebrooks, Matt Mikman, James Mohn, Shira Moses, Geoffrey Moskovitz, Edward Ngai, John David O’Hara, Jonah O’Hara, Rebecca O’Hara, Patrick O’Hara, Michael Oberle, Sam Oberle, Kurt Oehler, Allison Padilla-Goodman, Sarah Parlato, Matt Perkins, Carol Reese, Kaydee Reese, Matthew Riley, Michela Rodriguez, Jenna Rogue, Kathy Rosenmann, Kathy Roth-Douquet, Jacob Salomon, Gracie Salomon, Linda Salomon, Philip Sams, Steven Sanchez, Aaron Schimmoller, Susan Schaffer, Suzanne Schlesinger, Michele Schwartz, Julia Semionova, John Sholar, Diehl Sillers, Brooke Silverstein, Leah Siff, Bill Steigelmann, Hailey Stilp, Elizabeth Sturely, Chris Swenson, John Taggart, Michael Tucker, Fiona Victor, Skye Victor, Jeffrey Wang, Matt Weinwald, Kristin Lavis Wills, Scott Willson, Rebecca Wong, and Vincent Yang.

YOU

Thank you, thank you, thank you for backing Mapmaker, spreading the word, and helping us make this game a reality. Mapmaker isn't just being created by us. It's being created by all of you :)

Risks and challenges

This is our first Kickstarter campaign. We’ve done considerable research and gotten advice from various Kickstarter experts. Partnering with Go! Games, a seasoned publisher who we’ve worked with before, should ensure high quality production and smooth fulfillment. We’re sticking to four stretch goals that we know we can deliver, without lots of complicated add-ons. Similarly, we’ve limited shipping to the United States and Canada, so we aren’t biting off more than we can chew. Of course, there are always unexpected challenges: small (e.g. lots of edits on the manufacturing proofs) and big (e.g. trade war with China). However, we've made our timeline conservative to account for potential obstacles. We’re excited to keep you posted of our progress along the way.

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    We'll send you 1 copy of Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game. We will ALSO send 1 copy to your governor or a state legislator. For every extra $35, we'll send another copy to another legislator in your state. We'll add your name (if you want) to the Gerrymandering Is Not a Game proclamation, included in every box.

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