Urban Tactics is a board game creating a community experience that allows players to develop leadership/negotiation skills and situational readiness regarding issues of land use, gentrification, predatory landlord practices, and community organizing. The game creates an environment where hypothetical situations and interactions between different players require degrees of personal decision making and negotiation skills in order to move the game forward.
These negotiations are structured to engage the players critically and facilitate understanding on how a decision that benefits some, can have adverse effects on other players; as well as creating an environment where players that are being adversely or unjustly affected can tactically organize and come together in collaboration to better a situation for themselves or others. The scenarios and interactions represent some of the real-life situations that may present themselves between different types of people, but the goal of each scenario is to allow the player to understand the wide range of possible dynamics between power, money, and community. This structure in turn creates a multi-tiered narrative that empowers players to think about scenarios and situations in complex ways; mobilizing and inspiring new possibilities in real-life situations that arise around these issues in their own lives.
The game itself can be approached from a variety of ways that affect the gameplay outcomes and define the game play possibilities. Players can chose to play from 9 different approaches, each with their own set of interactions and benefits. As an example, Let’s look at the Real Estate Developer character.
The real estate developer has the advantage of receiving a high salary, but a low number of community points. Community points represent freedom of movement and capacity to collaborate; a staple in the tool kit of communities, organizers, and marginalized groups; while money represents the power to overcome certain financial restrictions and increased ability to build; Which is more in line with the real-life advantages that a Real Estate Developer might have. Because of these attributes, the Real Estate Developer character can be played through their advantages – sometimes at the expense of other players – but in order to achieve certain things (including the win state), it becomes increasingly difficult without community support. Each of the nine playable possibilities is set up similarly with their own attributes. This system of balances guides the player in a journey of understanding why and how land issues play out while developing critical thinking and negotiation skills.
Strategically, the game is set up to allow a wide array of possibilities for negotiation and collaboration while simultaneously creating situations where other players can be adversely affected by decisions made. This mechanism is designed to give various players capacities that allow them to tactically negotiate or collaborate in different ways, much like is necessary in real-life, in order to create a variety of opportunities, structures, and interactions.
Santiago Giraldo Anduaga + Chris Ray