Board Games for Bernie Sanders

Games Life 3208Shalimar Renee had an idea: take well-known board games and modify them to educate the public about political issues in general and the Bernie Sanders campaign in particular. She went to work with paper, glue, and glitter, drawing her charming cartoons in place of the games’ original artwork.

Game of Life became All-American Life, where players must choose whether to pursue personal or social betterment.

Mousetrap became Corporate-Rat Trap, where the players are hardworking mice whose cheese is constantly being pilfered by the corporate rat. The mice cooperate to assemble the electoral machinery that will allow them to trap that rat and bring him under control.

Clue became, deliciously, Get a Clue, in which the usual suspects come under suspicion of having committed various crimes with various implements in various locations:

“I suspect Ted Cruz, in the Senate, with the Lead Pipe—er, I mean the KXL Pipeline.”

Guess Who doesn’t have or really need a new name, since it’s basically the same guessing game, except that the faces are different, and therefore so are the guesses:

“Did you vote for the 2003 invasion of Iraq?”


“Well, then, you might be Hillary Clinton or John McCain, but you can’t be Bernie Sanders, who voted no, or Ben Carson, who’s never held elective office at all.”

There are also politically-aware versions of Pictionary and Scattergories, which like Guess Who lend themselves very well to any kind of educational purpose.

Shalimar is constantly at work on her games, both because her topical game designs have to change according to real-world events (she has lovingly made cards for candidates who have since dropped out of the race) and because she’s always getting new ideas. She’s planning to turn Easy Money into a Citizens United-inspired Sleazy Money, and is right in the middle of drawing the board for a Monopoly-like game called Fundraiser where Mr. Moneybags is replaced by a harried fundraiser who looks more than a little like Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp.

 If you’d like to play test Shalimar’s games, you can often spot her at the Saturday Market with a special Jenga game, and she’ll be appearing at Lebanonicon.

By John M. Burt