Commonspoly is a free licensed board game, with which to reflect and playfully experiment with 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 commons theories and cooperative ways of living together, in a fun and instructive way. It’s especially great for boring, rainy afternoons!
Commonspoly is also an attempt to correct a common misconception that has lasted for more than a century. Back in 1904, Elizabeth Magie patented The Landlord’s Game, a board game designed to highlight the dangerous effects of monopolies. Years later, she sold the patent to Parker Brothers company, who turned the game into the Monopoly we know today: a board game that celebrates the pursuit of the accumulation of huge personal wealth and the bankruptcy of anyone but yourself.
Commonspoly turns modern Monopoly on its head and returns to the basic principle of the traditional game; to imagine a viable world based on cooperation instead of competition. However, not everything is perfect. You will have to fight against The Speculators. In this game, we are running against time! And the help of every player is needed and welcomed, because there is only one way to win: helping each other. Let’s get down to business. We have urban, health, environmental and intangible common goods to preserve!
Commonspoly was launched as a proposal for a working group during the 17th ZEMOS98 festival hackcamp. Participants had to develop a brand new set of rules for an alternative, contrast to the Monopoly board game in just three days. Later on, in May 2015, an exhibition of the game was hosted by the Commons Fest in Athens, presented by Vassilis Chryssos and Carmen Lozano. This prototype game was played a few times, resulting in a notable improvement in its rules.
There is an ongoing battle. The Speculator(s) are organised and committed to privatising every resource available in society: environmental, urban, health and intangible (knowledge based) goods. You must cooperate with other players to prevent privatisation and liberate as many goods as possible. Your goal is to turn them into public goods or, even better, common ones. Work together as a team to fight this dystopia!
How to win
You have 20 rounds to use your Welfare and Legitimacy Points for the common good. This is a race against time and you win by turning all goods into common holdings. If there is a mix of public and common goods, it’s a draw. You know what that means, if there is even one private good remaining you lose (and The Speculator(s) win). Work together to fight the privatisation!
The game combines some elements from role-play games and some from other traditional board-games. As in the role-play games someone needs to be in charge of the facilitation and this person is called Game Master. There is a document which explains in detail all the rules and dynamics of the game. It can be downloaded in English from this website and will soon be available in other languages (write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested to help). Normally, the Master also plays the evil role: The Speculator(s). The rest of the players must randomly pick from the 16 characters you will find in your Commonspoly box.
You can order delivery of your Commonspoly game on this website. However, the open source philosophy of the project is to also provide the possibility to print it at home for free. You can download all the printable files from here. If you are interested in the editable files, please write us on email@example.com
This website for Commonspoly is run by ZEMOS98. This is a non-profit organization and right now all revenues produced by the game are to cover the costs of producing and printing 1.000 copies and to the further improvement of the game. By buying the Commonspoly game you are supporting a small but really socially and politically committed organization. Learn more about us on www.ZEMOS98.org
We can ship all over the world. However, not all countries and regions are listed in the shipping system. If you can’t find your country or region on the list or if you have any questions about Commonspoly or the purchasing process, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will find the way to send you your game.
We are also studying options for how to distribute the game. If you want to become a distributor, please write us on email@example.com
We deliberately skipped Amazon (or similar options). There are good reasons for this. We work with a small but very professional shipping company from Seville and this makes the delivery prices higher than Amazon and other options. This is why we strongly encourage you to organize a group of people from your workplace/town/neighbourhood so we can send you more than one (which will be much cheaper, in bulk).