We may live in a materialistic world, but Aussie educator Andrea Thompson has created a fun way to help the next generation understand the importance of social responsibility in the new family board game, Fair Go.
Fair Go is a unique board game where the winner is determined by who has the best reputation for philanthropy and social justice. It immerses young people in a place where things are as they could be – where winners are only rewarded for doing something great, and everyone gets a fair go. Will you find a cure for cancer, win a marathon, save a coral reef or lose half your possessions through poor business decisions? How will you cope with life's ups and downs? Play Fair Go and find out.
This family board game relies on strategy: waiting, observing, predicting opponents' liabilities and making decisions on when to become the next industry leader. Each player has an equal opportunity to play until the last dice throw... No one can predict a winner!
Designed for 2-6 players and suitable for kids 8+, Fair Go is a fun and unique family board game that promotes conversations around what we all can do to ensure a fair & sustainable future.
Question: Who or What inspired you to create the board game, Fair Go?
Andrea Thompson: My Dad loved playing games and he taught me to play chess when I was seven years old. Sometimes we would play after dinner and chat about what was happening in our lives and he would suggest how our actions, in some small way, could make the world a better place.
Dad was an intelligent man and easily bored, so he made up a chess handicap for himself. He took all his pieces off the chessboard except for his king and one pawn. Each time I won, he would call out in delight to my mother sitting reading beside us, 'Look how she's beaten me!" and he would chuckle and ceremoniously put another playing piece on the board. It took me until I was 16 before I could play him with no handicap and it wasn't until I was studying at university that I first beat him outright.
When I grew up and had children of my own, I searched for a fun family game where 2 to 6 players could compete with an equal chance to win but also had an inbuilt handicap for different ability levels. In memory of my father's advice, it was important to me that the game started family discussions about some good things happening in the world.
I don't know when I decided that I couldn't find a game that was just right and I needed to create one myself. The idea just seemed to grow but I was busy raising a family and teaching. It wasn't until I retired a couple of years ago that I decided to put together all my ideas and invent a family board game, which I called -Fair Go'.
Question: What is the main idea behind the game, Fair Go?
Andrea Thompson: Fair Go is about competing to find the next industry leader with the best reputation for philanthropy and social justice. To make it fair, I have included 2 packs of identical industry cards. There are 2 starting spots, play can be clockwise or anti clockwise and half the board has the same industry squares as the other half.
Handicaps can be determined by the number of industry reputations (or rings) each player is required to have.
The Fair Go cards start conversations about sustainability, manufacturing, tourism, IT and other important industries. To win, a player needs to do something great in at least 4 industries (e.g. to be the best in the Tourism Industry, you need to protect a coral reef).
Question: What do you hope kids learn from playing this game?
Andrea Thompson: What it feels like to be both a winner and a loser
Observation (there can only be one winner per industry)
Adding up, predicting, calculating how much money to put aside to meet industry leader responsibilities
Making their own decisions and seeing the consequences
Resilience and compassion
Communicating new ideas
Increasing attention spans
Waiting their turn
Question: How is Fair Go different from other board games?
Andrea Thompson: Playing -Fair Go' immerses young people in a place where things are as they could be – where winners are only rewarded for doing something great. It is not having the most money or industry cards which determines the winner. It is the player with the best reputation.
How To Win Without Hurting Your Friends
Sometimes we teach children resilience by playing games with them where experiencing failure is supposed to make them stronger – as the saying goes – 'What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."
However, if you listen to the other players who lost after such a game, they may say – 'She had better cards", 'She started first", 'He just got lucky" or even 'We had no chance from the start – they were taller."
So, as an educator, this leads me to another question - are there other life experiences we can introduce to children? Could we concentrate our energies on being excellent and innovative at what we can do rather than spending all our time trying to beat the competition?
I felt so strongly about this approach, that I decided when I retired I would do something practical to provide an answer to a question I was asked once: 'Can we play a game where I can win without hurting my friends?"
I started collecting ideas on a notepad about what my ideal game would have so that it was really and truly fair, everyone could be a winner at something but there would still be room for a champion. I knew the game would have to have 2 starting spots, players should be able to choose when to be winners not the dice nor cards, it had to have a name with the word -fair -in it, it had to be related to the Australian attitude of fair play, everyone had to have the same opportunity to own exactly the same objects and it needed to be not gender specific with a practical approach to the real world.
When I eventually retired, I put together all my ideas and called my invented family board game, -Fair Go'. Fair Go is about competing to find the next industry leader with the best reputation for philanthropy and social justice. And yes, there are 2 starting spots, half the board is made up of exactly the same spaces as the other half of the board, there are 2 sets of industry cards with exactly the same industry names, there are 13 industries so everyone can have a chance to be the best in at least one industry, it is practical because the information on the cards starts conversations about sustainability, manufacturing, tourism, IT and other important industries and to win, a player needs to do something great (e.g. to be the best in the Tourism Industry, you need to protect a coral reef).
Playing -Fair Go' immerses young people in a place where things are as they could be – where winners are only rewarded for doing something great- where they can win -without hurting their friends'.
I have really tried to stay true to my dream of providing an experience where -everyone could be a winner at something but there would still be room for a champion". I do hope you like my game and can experience my dream with the children you cherish.
- Andrea Thompson
Sydney based Andrea R. Thompson is a retired English language teacher with many years' experience teaching children and adults from around the world. She observed how hard it was to find a family game which could be adapted for different ability levels and where winning depended on making good choices so she invented Fair Go and trialled it amongst parents, teachers and school children. Andrea wanted a game that taught how to win in a fun way 'without hurting my friends'. After some positive feedback, Fair Go was created. Fair Go is the first game in a series she is developing.
AU $49.95 (Inc postage)
Ages 8+, requires 2-6 players
Interview by Brooke Hunter