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@Stake: A Role-Playing Card Game

The Engagement Lab at Emerson College created @Stake, a role-playing card game used to foster decision-making, empathy and collaboration. The players take various roles and create questions based on real life issues to deliberate on during the game. All participants pitch their ideas under a time limit and one of the players, “The Decider” will choose who has the best idea and award points. You can find more info about @stake on The Engagement Lab’s site here.

More about the game…@stake

Development of @Stake:

Planning issues often involve conflicting interests coupled with deep resentments and community divides. Building a new highway, for example, is seldom only a question of the highway’s design, but the destiny of the land, the community, and individual residents.

We were amazed at the success of @Stake in driving productive conversation at our UNDP workshop, and took it back to the Lab for further development. Since then, it’s been used at the Frontiers of Democracy Conference, The Jewish Federation, youth ambassador programs for inner city planning institutions in Boston, and the United Nations in New York. Numerous expansions and customization packs have made the game robust enough to aid in processes of all types nationally and across the world.

Since its inception, @Stake has become one of our best tools for proving to others that games can be productive civic tools.

How to play @Stake:

What is it about? Before the game takes place, the play group must brainstorm topics for the game. The topics selected should be important questions for whatever real world process matters most to the players and their organization (ex. “How can we get young people more involved in local issues?”).

The Decider Once the question for each round has been established, one player becomes the first “Decider,” the player who will pick from the other players’ pitches and determine which is best. It’s up to them to keep time, promote fair play, and make prompt decisions in awarding points.

Role Cards All other players are assigned roles such as Mayor, Activist, or Student. Each role card features a short bio and three agenda goals that the players try to include in their pitches for bonus points.

The Pitch Players hear the question for the round, and are then given one minute to devise an idea. Pitching occurs in two phases. Each player has one minute to give their initial pitch to the Decider, and then there is a short discussion period during which players may ask questions of one another and try to achieve compromises to attach their agenda items to others’ plans.

Decider At the end of the round, the Decider must pick a winning pitch. That winning player earns points, then every player earns bonus points based on their agenda items. The new decider is the player that won the previous round.

**When playing @Stake, please tweet or use the hashtag #AtStakeGame to share your gameplay moments.

About The Engagement Lab
The Engagement Lab is an applied research lab at Emerson College focusing on the development and study of games, technology, and new media to enhance civic life. The Lab works directly with its partner communities to design and facilitate civic engagement processes, augment stakeholder deliberation, and broaden the diversity of participants in local decision-making. Along with the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, the Engagement Lab serves as the hub of a global network of engagement and new media organizations.

Follow on Twitter: @EngageLab

Resource Link: https://elab.emerson.edu/projects/participation-and-engagement/atstake

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