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Subject: BLACK BLOCKS: A Game About Being Black in America! rss

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Black Blocks
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Have you ever been in a situation where you've had to ask yourself, "Was that racist?"?
Have you ever noticed how quiet people become when the topic of race comes up
(outside of an online chatroom)?

Black Blocks is a card game that uses the power of
laughter and short-storytelling to start deeper conversations about
the subjects we tend to avoid most.

This game is perfect for people of all backgrounds! Everyone can relate to the scenarios
represented in Black Blocks. Don't be afraid to "play the race card"

# Players: 4-7
Age: 12+
Run Time: 45 min

Kickstarter: http://kck.st/1CHvEUA
Hilarious Promo Videos: http://www.blackblocksgame.com/contact/
Website: blackblocksgame.com

[IMG][/IMG]


Each player begins with 4 black blocks and 1 red block. The object of the game is to be the first to get rid of your blocks.


Each card yields a different outcome;
In some cases you are able to get rid of one block,
Other cases, you may have to add two blocks to your pilesoblue.
Other cards leave your fate in your own hands as you answer true/false
and WWYD questions as accurately as you can!
The full set of rules can be found on the website here: http://www.blackblocksgame.com/the-game/


The point of Black Blocks is to spark conversations about race in America, in ways that are pressure free and surprisingly fun! Learning about race or Black history doesn't always have to involve a dull documentary or repetitive lecture. Black Blocks will surely change the way we talk about race in America

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Michael Debije
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Goor luck with this one. Can't say you've sold it to me.
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Hoss Cartwright
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This looks like one of those bad products they bring up on Shark Tank and Mr. Wonderful ( Kevin O'leary) says "your dead to me as is this game"

and the other five go out in quick succession.

Predict failure.
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Jason Bush
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BlackBlocksGame wrote:
Black Blocks will surely change the way we talk about race in America


I don't see how it couldn't...
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TTDG
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BlackBlocksGame wrote:


Quick questions: if that is true, when did it become law and when did it (presumably) get taken off of the books?

Edit: A quick Google search suggest that this particular 'black code' dates to before the american revolution, and applied only to slaves. Furthermore, that PA passed a gradual abolition of slavery bill in 1780, and that by 1850 there were no slaves in the state.

So what does this couple hundred year old factoid have to do with modern black life such that it is important enough to make it into a game about the same?
 
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Black Blocks
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ThroughTheDeckGlass wrote:
BlackBlocksGame wrote:



So what does this couple hundred year old factoid have to do with modern black life such that it is important enough to make it into a game about the same?


If you are a Black man in 2015 you may be able to relate to the above-mentioned fact. Firstly, I'm glad you took the time to do a quick google search. YOU have singlehandedly showcased why I made this game. Did you not just learn something new because of that card? You just googled something about Black history that you probably would have NEVER researched on your own.

To answer your question, I will ask you a few questions: Have you seen how people react when a group of 4 or more Black men walk into a "fancy" restaurant? How do you predict you'd feel walking down the street at 11:00pm with a group of 4 tall Black men walking toward you? Would you feel differently if it were a group of 4 tall White men? 4 Black women? 4 White women? The fact presented on the red card reflects the realities of Black people today! You mention that the law "only" applied to slaves, as though those "slaves" were not Black people. As though they voluntarily decided to sign up for slavery. Slaves or not, they were Black people in America. This game is about being Black in America-- past and present. Hopefully the connection is becoming more clear to you.

People STILL feel uncomfortable around groups of Black people, whether you're ready to admit it or not. The Black body has been so heavily stigmatized throughout US history, that the stereotypes of the past are still relevant today; just more subtle. The government can no longer pass a law preventing groups of Black people from walking together TODAY, but that doesn't mean that the feelings/thoughts that resulted in the passing of that law, died with the law's abolishment. Racism doesn't die just because blatantly racist laws are abolished. To believe that would be very naive.
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Greg Wajda
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And now you know why Stefan Feld doesn't put theme in his games! wow
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Black Blocks
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wajdag1 wrote:
And now you know why Stefan Feld doesn't put theme in his games! wow


Themes like race? I know the subject of race gets people riled up. I regret nothing robot lol. This game obviously is not for people who aren't ready to talk about race in America. For those who DO see the purpose and potential--- THANK YOU
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Erik R.
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I'm confused.

You say this in your original post and on your Kickstarter page:

BlackBlocksGame wrote:

Black Blocks is a card game that uses the power of
laughter and short-storytelling to start deeper conversations about
the subjects we tend to avoid most.


But then you say this:

BlackBlocksGame wrote:
This game obviously is not for people who aren't ready to talk about race in America.


I really don't understand what you mean; this is a game meant to start conversations with people who would normally avoid a topic like race, but then you immediately give up on these same people in a later response.


Personally, I like the purpose of a game like this, and I commend you for putting the effort in promoting this. It does show. I think gaming has lots of room to address social issues (there are certainly plenty of games that ignore the social issues behind their themes), and even more so, I think a well-designed game has the power to put people into positions of empathy.

But I looked at the website and the kickstarter, and I'm honestly still confused about exactly who this is aimed at, or how it's supposed to work....and my gut feeling is that if you need to personally lecture people in order for them to "get it", then I'm not sure if the game is working as intended..?

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TTDG
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BlackBlocksGame wrote:
ThroughTheDeckGlass wrote:
BlackBlocksGame wrote:


So what does this couple hundred year old factoid have to do with modern black life such that it is important enough to make it into a game about the same?


If you are a Black man in 2015 you may be able to relate to the above-mentioned fact. Firstly, I'm glad you took the time to do a quick google search. YOU have singlehandedly showcased why I made this game. Did you not just learn something new because of that card? You just googled something about Black history that you probably would have NEVER researched on your own.

To answer your question, I will ask you a few questions: Have you seen how people react when a group of 4 or more Black men walk into a "fancy" restaurant? How do you predict you'd feel walking down the street at 11:00pm with a group of 4 tall Black men walking toward you? Would you feel differently if it were a group of 4 tall White men? 4 Black women? 4 White women? The fact presented on the red card reflects the realities of Black people today! You mention that the law "only" applied to slaves, as though those "slaves" were not Black people. As though they voluntarily decided to sign up for slavery. Slaves or not, they were Black people in America. This game is about being Black in America-- past and present. Hopefully the connection is becoming more clear to you.

People STILL feel uncomfortable around groups of Black people, whether you're ready to admit it or not. The Black body has been so heavily stigmatized throughout US history, that the stereotypes of the past are still relevant today; just more subtle. The government can no longer pass a law preventing groups of Black people from walking together TODAY, but that doesn't mean that the feelings/thoughts that resulted in the passing of that law, died with the law's abolishment. Racism doesn't die just because blatantly racist laws are abolished. To believe that would be very naive.


Where to begin. Not that it is any of your business, but I'd be nervous around nearly any group of 4 men acting as a group. I'm 1 person. By definition that puts me at a disadvantage. In the right context, I'd be afraid of a group of native american indians or white skinned vikings. Hell, the USA was at war with Japan a lot more recently than your fact, and next to no one has the 'yellow menace' distorting their view.

But you take this couple hundred year old bit, present it without any context, or worse your implied context, and disingenuously link it to today, and specifically a modern 'black experience'. Yeah, I have a problem with that. If you want to talk about today, talk about today.

You also neglect to mention the slave bit. Which is more probable: naked fear of a color, or an attempt to keep slaves from organizing?

But fine, you want to create a game about all of black experience past and present, go for it. Going to focus on just america? Going to focus on just the negative? You can do that too, but your perspective is becoming more apparent.

Quote:
Each player begins with 4 black blocks and 1 red block. The object of the game is to be the first to get rid of your blocks.

Each card yields a different outcome;
In some cases you are able to get rid of one block,
Other cases, you may have to add two blocks to your pilesoblue.
Other cards leave your fate in your own hands as you answer true/false
and WWYD questions as accurately as you can!
The full set of rules can be found on the website here: http://www.blackblocksgame.com/the-game/


Finally, 5 blocks, -1 +2, trivia, T/F, WWYD. Do you really think this is a good game? To me, it sounds like a lot of party games, which are rarely good as games. Then add in the subject of your trivia, and you have a stab at an educational game, which are also rarely good as games. Who is your audience again?
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Black Blocks
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karkador wrote:
I'm confused.

You say this in your original post and on your Kickstarter page:

BlackBlocksGame wrote:

Black Blocks is a card game that uses the power of
laughter and short-storytelling to start deeper conversations about
the subjects we tend to avoid most.


But then you say this:

BlackBlocksGame wrote:
This game obviously is not for people who aren't ready to talk about race in America.





For clarity, You can avoid talking about race for 50 years, and decide on your 51st birthday that you are ready to talk about race. Sitting down and choosing to play Black Blocks (a game about race) implies that you are indeed, ready to talk about race

The second quote is in reference to a post that suggested this thread's comments show why 'so and so' avoids themes in his games. Black Blocks is not intended for people who would rather ignore and avoid race. If you are not ready to discuss race, it will be difficult to find enjoyment (or even an objective) in this game. The purpose is to be open to having honest discussions about race and its many intersectionalities.

As far as me lecturing people on this thread..... You're absolutely right. *sigh* Who have I become lol. There are some people who saw the game and related to it 100% and there are others who are curious about it, but unsure of the motive, purpose, etc (the videos are intended to provide clarity). Though it is broad and may backfire, my game is directed toward any and everyone who is open to learn about race in America; specifically the Black experience.
 
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Black Blocks
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ThroughTheDeckGlass wrote:
BlackBlocksGame wrote:
[q="ThroughTheDeckGlass"][q="BlackBlocksGame"]




But you take this couple hundred year old bit, present it without any context, or worse your implied context, and disingenuously link it to today, and specifically a modern 'black experience'. Yeah, I have a problem with that. If you want to talk about today, talk about today.

You also neglect to mention the slave bit. Which is more probable: naked fear of a color, or an attempt to keep slaves from organizing?

But fine, you want to create a game about all of black experience past and present, go for it. Going to focus on just america? Going to focus on just the negative? You can do that too, but your perspective is becoming more apparent.


Finally, 5 blocks, -1 +2, trivia, T/F, WWYD. Do you really think this is a good game? To me, it sounds like a lot of party games, which are rarely good as games. Then add in the subject of your trivia, and you have a stab at an educational game, which are also rarely good as games. Who is your audience again?


YOWZERS. It seems as though you've made up your mind about Black Blocks! I'm a bit confused regarding how that red-card fact has implied content. Are slaves not people? Should we not discuss the quality of their lives simply because they were "slaves"? Your comments suggest that I am somehow misleading players with partial information, or am attempting to portray Black people as victims. Nope. There was once a law in Pennsylvania that made it illegal for more than 4 Black people to walk together. period. If that fact intrigues you as a player, you can turn to the Black Facts booklet (theres one included in each game) and read more information about the subject presented on the card. Yay learning!

To answer your other question (which I assume is rhetorical): yes I think Black Blocks is a good game lol . if you are interested in learning about race through a medium that is not a documentary or lecture, (or a thread on a gaming website), play Black Blocks and learn your butt off!

I do want to thank you for your input. You have reminded me that we have WAY more work to do when it comes to educating people (particularly adults) about how the past affects the present-- especially in regards to race in America.

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Erik R.
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BlackBlocksGame wrote:

For clarity, You can avoid talking about race for 50 years, and decide on your 51st birthday that you are ready to talk about race. Sitting down and choosing to play Black Blocks (a game about race) implies that you are indeed, ready to talk about race


Please don't take this as ragging on your game, I'm just really not clear on who you're trying to reach out to.

What does "being ready to talk about race" mean? What's the key difference between people who "avoid the subject of race", and people who are "not ready"? What makes you "ready"? What does it mean to say "people who avoid race"?

It seems to me that the people who have the most to learn about the topic are not the ones who are going to willingly sit down to a racism quiz game - unless they are there to play "devil's advocate".

In other words, it feels like the people who "get it" are the ones who don't actually need to play this game - while the people who need it are the ones who probably wont be affected by this pitch at all.


I think that you probably didn't come here for constructive criticism, so I really don't know how much more to offer. We can all wish you well on the Kickstarter, if that's what you'd like.

BlackBlocksGame wrote:

As far as me lecturing people on this thread..... You're absolutely right. *sigh* Who have I become lol. There are some people who saw the game and related to it 100% and there are others who are curious about it, but unsure of the motive, purpose, etc (the videos are intended to provide clarity). Though it is broad and may backfire, my game is directed toward any and everyone who is open to learn about race in America; specifically the Black experience.


No offense meant. By "lecturing", I mean that if the point of the game only comes through if you're personally there to fill in the blanks and give all the additional meaning to what you've created, then does the game itself work at educating people?

Is this game going to work if four people who have never dealt with racism play it together? What does the ideal playthrough of this game look like?

 
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Black Blocks
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karkador wrote:
[q="BlackBlocksGame"]


Please don't take this as ragging on your game, I'm just really not clear on who you're trying to reach out to.

What does "being ready to talk about race" mean? What's the key difference between people who "avoid the subject of race", and people who are "not ready"? What makes you "ready"? What does it mean to say "people who avoid race"?

It seems to me that the people who have the most to learn about the topic are not the ones who are going to willingly sit down to a racism quiz game - unless they are there to play "devil's advocate".

In other words, it feels like the people who "get it" are the ones who don't actually need to play this game - while the people who need it are the ones who probably wont be affected by this pitch at all.


I think that you probably didn't come here for constructive criticism, so I really don't know how much more to offer. We can all wish you well on the Kickstarter, if that's what you'd like.


No offense meant. By "lecturing", I mean that if the point of the game only comes through if you're personally there to fill in the blanks and give all the additional meaning to what you've created, then does the game itself work at educating people?

Is this game going to work if four people who have never dealt with racism play it together? What does the ideal playthrough of this game look like?



All great questions. And I am definitely open to all questions and criticisms; constructive or not.
There are many people who choose not to discuss "touchy" subjects for fear of being mis-informed, sounding ignorant, or maybe because their blood begins to boil.

If you have ever spoken to a Black person; you are my target audience.

Black Blocks isn't just a trivia game. I'm not sure if you already checked out the site and promo videos, but there's a how-to video as well as a full page of the game's rules in detail, as well as examples of various cards (other than the trivia card above).

I'm starting to realize that I should have given more detailed descriptions on this site. I was told by one of my backers that this site would be useful in spreading the word, so i quickly posted a thread. After tonight, I will defffffinitely be putting more info in my original post.

You do not have to be well-versed in race or racism in order to enjoy Black Blocks. cards like:

"You say the N word so much that now your 'non-Black' friends are starting to say it. What do you do?
a) brush it off and say nothing
b) ask them to stop
c) neither... (explain)"

will ask a player to answer a race-related WWYD type question. Whoever pulls this card will choose an answer (a-c), and explain to their opponents why it is the best one. If their opponents agree with the response, the player can get rid of a block. If not, the player will have to pick one up. Karma plays a role in the WWYD component of the game, so it's important to be honest with yourself and your competitors. The ultimate goal of these cards is to use conversation and dialogue to reach a general agreement regarding how to deal with various forms of racial friction.

Above all, this game is a learning tool-- which is probably why I appear to be straddling the fence regarding who my target audience is. This game is about improving race relations across America, so everyone who is open to having open and honest dialogues about race is welcome and encouraged to play.
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Andrew Rowse
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You have a ton of spare space on the T/F cards, so it might be worth adding a bit of context after the answer - for instance elaborating on the dates that the law was brought in and abolished.

I admire what you're aiming for here, but I wonder whether a game like Timeline might be more effective at teaching black history via game mechanics. You're using game mechanics that rely on party atmosphere and goodwill, rather than rules that unambiguously resolve situations and dole out rewards - but is goodwill really a sensible thing to build a game around when one of the core features of the game is to challenge people with uncomfortable realities?

You might also want to take a look at games like Dixit and Balderdash, to see how they use rules to resolve subjective situations.
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