Help us distribute this educational game by and about indigenous people!
We are asking for funding to build interest in games about indigenous peoples - beginning with ours. We want to develop future editions of Potlatch: A Cardgame about Economics and more games based on indigene. The requested funding will also allow us to distribute copies of this game about indigenous economic systems to schools and youth clubs.
Potlatch, the game
is a strategic, educational card game based on indigenous philosophies. It is designed to meet K-12 educational standards for teaching about native history, economics, culture, and government. Potlatch, the game, was developed as a community effort with local elders and language experts. The game is written in both English and Lushootseed, the indigenous language of the Pacific Northwest. Game mechanics are based on sharing resources to meet other players’ needs for food, materials, technology, and knowledge.
Potlatch, the word
comes from Nuu-chah-nulth via the commerce language knows as Chinook Jargon.
Potlatch, the event
is a ceremonial distribution and re-distribution of resources, property, food, knowledge, and wealth to affirm social status via the historic economic systems of subsistence, prestige, and sharing. Individuals, families, or communities host potlatches and planning takes a year or more. Potlatching is practiced by indigenous peoples of the Pacific NW coast of the U.S. and Canada. Historically it supported a large socio-economic system to maintain a high level of food production and to equalize food accessibility. Skagit elder and historian, Vi Hilbert, wrote “Public acts of distributing valuables to guests were the ultimate confirmation of a host’s achievements and personal high-status in their family and community.”
How to play
OBJECTIVE: Your goal is share your Resource Cards as Gifts to other players’ House Card needs so that each player meets all of their needs. Each House Card represents a human house that needs resources for everyone in their community to survive over time.
PLAY: The game play consists of individual player turns; rounds that consist of each House Card receiving one Gift; and games that consist of several rounds. In each turn a player must Gift with the fewest size or amount of resources possible to meet the Obligation level, ideally meeting the Obligation level exactly to receive +1 Status. If a player must use multiple Resource Cards to meet the Obligation level, they must Gift as few Resource Card sizes or amounts as possible. The goal of each game is for every player’s House Card to receive enough Gifts to meet all of their needs. Each game comes to a Closing Action when one player’s house has been gifted enough to meet all its needs, or if no player can play usable Resource Cards on unmet house needs.
1. The first player Gifts another player by putting one Resource Card outside another player’s House Card into the Gifting area. They can play any size or amount of any type of Resource.
2. The player who receives the first Gift plays next. They play one or more Resource Card(s) equal to or greater than the size or amount of the first player’s Gift to meet the Obligation level set by the first player’s Gift. If multiple Resource Cards are needed to add up to the Obligation level of the first player’s Gift, these can be the same or different types of Resource Cards. When a Resource Card(s) is played with a higher Obligation level than the previous player’s, then the higher number becomes the new Obligation level for the next player’s turn to Gift. If it is your turn but you cannot play because the Resource Cards in your hand do not match any of the size and/or type of unmet needs of other players’ House Cards, then the Combine Resources action is invoked.
3. The player who received the second Gift plays next. They must Gift one player’s House Card that has not received any Gifted Resource Card(s) in this round with one or more Resource Card(s) that meets the Obligation level set by the second player’s Gift.
4. The play continues with the gifted player taking the next turn until every player’s House Card has been Gifted at least once, or until a player does not have playable Resource Cards when it is their turn, even after invoking the Combine Resources action. Then the round ends and each player’s Gifts get moved inside the house into the storage area. Each player draws from the stack of Resource Cards in the middle of the play area until they have 6 Resource Cards in their hand. The Obligation level is reset to 1.
5. All subsequent rounds begin with the last player who was Gifted in the previous round. They Gift any player’s House Card that has unmet needs. To determine a House Card’s unmet needs, add together the size or amount of all the Gifted Resource Cards in both the inside storage area and the outside Gifting area. The play continues as in the first round.
6. The game comes to the Closing Action when (1) one player has all their house needs met, or (2) no player has the correct type and size of Resource Card to Gift another at the current Obligation level, even after initiating a Combine Resources action. After completing the Closing Action the game ends.
7. If all player’s House Cards needs were met, each player accrues +1 Status. If one or more player’s House Cards were not able to meet all their house needs, each player incurs -1 Status. Status can be carried over into additional games, if desired.
What’s in the game box
72 cards – 64 resource cards, 8 house cards, 6 rules cards
What players have said about Potlatch: A Card Game About Coast Salish Economics…
- “A big change in thinking from other games. I started out thinking about what I was getting and by the end it was more important the way I was sharing.”
- “I had a great time working with my team on group effort strategies as means and goals.”
- “A complicated learning curve but it became much more intuitive as it progressed.”
- “Great model of the reality of social dynamics.”
- “Players learn how complicated the Potlatch is and how status is important.”
- “I love the reciprocity factor and the realistic element of what Potlatch truly is.”
- “It is accurate in teaching disbursement of resources to community, like real potlatches.”
- “Absolutely loved using an indigenous language.”
- “The group win or group loss is powerful!”
- “Potlatch lets us think about how to play a game in a totally different way.”
Our Article on Transmotion
IMPROVED CARD STOCK!!!
A slightly thinner card stock that is easier to shuffle, and has a silk-stock finish that used in popular trading card games.
Lushootseed Pronunciation Podcast
Like the header states, if we reach this level of funding, we will produce a Lushootseed Pronunciation Podcast!
Risks and challenges
We have been challenged as indigenous scholars by overwhelming non-interest in accurate information about Native Americans. In our state, content in K-12 public school curriculum by and about native peoples was so lacking, the state legislature had to pass a law requiring that content about local indigenous peoples be included in every grade. To supplement the work by many other educators, we proceeded to develop a game with content not generally covered - indigenous economic systems.
As indigenous scholars we are a niche within a niche within a niche. Our "pool of interest" is currently exceedingly small according to our local public radio providers who denied us air time for our podcasts.
Our thanks to Kickstarter for giving us a large public venue to share our game.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)