Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives
In Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives, players collaborate to found and run a democratic business. In order to survive as individuals and to strive for the success of their co-op, players collectively face big and small challenges while putting their teamwork abilities to the test.
Branding, visual design, art direction, user research
Brian Van Slyke, Andrew Stachiw
“Usually there can only be one winner of a board game, so everyone is out for themselves. In Co-opoly everything must be done together, for each other… Co-opoly is an informative and engaging game that challenges players to work together to accomplish community goals.”
– San Francisco Mime Troupe Collective Workshop participants
“My two boys are normally very competitive all the time but the game made them listen to each other and work things out together,” says Nisha. “It wasn’t about winning individually it was about everyone winning, something that I think was really good for them to learn.”
Rachel and Nick and their three children aged 12, 11 and 9 also gave it the thumbs up: “We’re all Monopoly nuts but still found the game to be really enjoyable and fun,” says Rachel. “It’s great to play a game which has a collective aim.”
Co-opoly is an exciting game of skill and solidarity, where everyone wins – or everyone loses. Will the Point Bank continue to dominate the players’ lives, or will they break free and take control by jump-starting the movement for a truly democratic and cooperative economy in their community?
By playing Co-opoly, players discover the unique benefits, challenges, and operations of the cooperative world – as well as the skills needed to participate in a co-op.
Co-opoly is the first board game that’s sustainably and ethically produced in the spirit of Fair Trade. Thousands of copies of Co-opoly have sold in over 30 countries around the world, including the United States, England, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, South Korea, China, Malaysia, and more.
Buy the game here! It’s sold on a sliding scale to make it accessible to everyone.
The Design Process
Co-opoly began a collaboration with Brian Van Slyke when we were students at Hampshire College. Brian wanted to invent a quick participatory exercise that helped show people how co-ops and democratic dialog can work. The exercise turned into a full-blown game, and one component of our joint thesis project.
I lead the branding, art direction, and visual design of the game, as well as weighing in on the game mechanics. After developing and testing the game for several years, we self-published it in 2011 with a successful Kickstarter project.
Play-testing the game at the BMW Guggenheim Lab and assembling the boxes for shipping
Fair Trade Production
At the core of Co-opoly’s mission is a desire for a more democratic and just economy. But it’s not enough to simply design and sell a game that we hope will strengthen the cooperative movement — we must also live up to the ethical principles of this movement through the manufacturing process of our game. That’s why we’ve taken the following steps:
- ALL components of Co-opoly are created in the United States
- The majority of Co-opoly is printed by worker cooperatives
- The majority of Co-opoly’s components are created in New England (where TESA is based), and the majority of Co-opoly‘s components are created within 70 miles of our location
- Almost all of the game components are printed on recycled paper or sourced through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative