WiP: Playing at Democracy: Designing a Game to Show How the System Really Works, March 14, 2012 – Mark Rein Hagen (ENG)

The Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), American Councils and American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) are pleased to announce the 7th Works-in-Progress talk of the Spring 2012 season!
Mark Rein·Hagen
“Playing at Democracy: Designing a Game to Show How the System Really Works”

ISET/CRRC Georgia, Zandukeli St. 16 downstairs Conference Room

6:15 Pm, Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Works in Progress lecture will delve into the process of developing board games, focusing specifically on the presenter’s latest game: “Democracy: Majority Rules”. This game simulates how a democratic system works (or can fail), based on the presenter’s work in political campaigns, experiences with political systems around the world and Selectorate Theory. Democracy is a game about the thorny and convoluted machinery of democracy: the absolute worst form of government… except for all the others. It is focused on the retail work of politics at any scale: making friends, forging alliances, outmaneuvering rivals, deceiving enemies, building consensus, selling your point of view, creating a coalition, hiding resentment, feigning weakness, blindsiding foes and turning doubters into believers. You play power broker or leader of a political party; someone who organizes campaigns, games the system and wins elections.
The goal of the game is to collect victory points known as Political Capital, which represents moral authority, political dominance and the trust and respect of the people. Players earn Political Capital by winning votes, forming winning coalitions, and not using their powers. Every player has a particular a political identity (loosely based on the Nolan Chart) and assumes various roles throughout the game as they navigate the various modular domains of the board, including Lawmakers, Voters, Activists, Media, Bureaucracy, Justice, and Money.
The game is flexible and can be customized to play-simulate various historical political situations, including the French Revolution, the Rise of Hitler, and the Velvet Revolution. It is designed to be able to used in an educational context. The presentation will include sample gameplay and audience participation.
Mark Rein·Hagen 
is a game designer from the United States, notable as the founder of White Wolf and the creator of “Vampire: The Masquerade”, and for his work relating to theories of social manipulation, especially in games. A founding co-owner of Wizards of the Coast he helped bring Magic:The Gathering and the Pokemon trading card game to the world, but has also worked on numerous roleplaying and video games. He further has experience in TV production and film, and was the co-creator of a prime-time TV show on FOX with Aaron Spelling. Mark lives in Tbilisi, where he has worked for the Government of Georgia in various capacities and is married with children.
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place every Wednesday at the International School of Economics (ISET) building (16 Zandukeli Street). It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC).
The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.
Would you like to present at one of the W-i-P sessions? Send an e-mail to wip@crrccenters.org.