Hi there, hope you had a safe journey up here, welcome to Commonspoly’s utopia!
Commonspoly is a free licensed board game to playfully reflect about the possibilities and limits of the commons as a critical discourse towards relevant changes in our societies. This board game is an ideal device to introduce the commons theories into groups in a pedagogical and ludic way. But also for rainy boring afternoons! Commonspoly also is an attempt to repair a misunderstanding that has lasted for more than a century; back in 1904, Elizabeth Magie patented The Landlord’s Game, a board game to prevent about the dangerous effects of monopolism. Years after that, she sold the patent to Parker Brothers, company which turned the game into the Monopoly we know nowadays: a board game that celebrates the huge economic accumulation and the bankruptcy of anyone… but yourself.
Commonspoly turns upside down the basic features of the traditional game to imagine a possible world based on cooperation instead of competition. But, how is it possible to play a board game in which the players have to find ways to work together? Well, the poles are melting, the cycles of the financial crises are shortening, the global unemployment rates are skyrocketing and we all have that hard to explain crepuscular feeling… In this game, we are running against time! And every player’s help will be more than welcomed. Anyway, it is not all bad news: we have some powerful community-based tools to struggle against apocalypse. Let’s get down to business, we have urban and rural, environmental and knowledge common goods to preserve!
History of the Commonspoly
Commonspoly was launched as a proposal for a working group in the hackcamp of the 17th edition of ZEMOS98 festival: they had to develop a brand new set of rules for an antithetical Monopoly’s board game in just three days.
This group was facilitated by Guillermo Zapata. Vassilis Chryssos, Francisco Jurado, José Laulhé, Carmen Lozano, Rubén Martínez, Peter Matjašič, María G. Perulero, Virginia Benvenuti, Natxo Rodríguez, Igor Stokfisiewski, Menno Weijs, Carla Boserman and Mario Munera took part in developing the rules and regulations.
Later on, in May 2015, there was an exhibition about the game hosted by the Commons Fest in Athens. It was presented by Vassilis Chryssos and Carmen Lozano over there and the board game was played a few times, which resulted on a relevant improvement in the rules of the game.
From 23 to 25th of September, 2015, Commonspoly traveled from one side of Europe to the other to be played during the breaks of European Cultural Foundation’s Idea Camp near Stockholm, Sweden. It was the first time the game was finished by a group of people, who felt an unending immense joy during the rest of the days spent together.
As 2015 was fading away, the collective based in France Remix the Commons started a new line of work around the board game. They made some working groups to translate it into French and to experiment with other improvements on the functionalities of it. They showcased the improvements in the World Social Forum celebrated during August in Quebec, Canadá.
As a supplement of the encounter celebrated in Sevilla, Spain by the end of June 2016 hosted by ZEMOS98, the collective redesigned the whole features of the game, including the board, the cards and the tokens; and made a jump forward in simplifying some of the rules in order to improve the playability. Commonspoly was printed and given to the participants of the encounter. Related to the last version, Williams Sanchez was the logistic responsible and the graphic designer, Pablo Navarro made the remake of the drawings and Gema Valencia took the photos.
This version of the Commonspoly is just a fork of the game. What is a fork? It is a metaphor taken from the free software movement to name the different versions and developments coming out from the same original source to satisfy different needs. So this is just a fork of the Commonspoly board game licensed under Peer Production License. This license let any commoner, cooperative and non-profit organization to take the game and use it or remix it with no commercial use.