A recently announced board game “about privilege and systemic oppression” has been criticized for making light of topics at the center of current progressive political beliefs.
Reality Check: The Game of Privilege is a board game created by Elliot Trotter and Dominic Campese, working together with “a multitude of contributors […] people from across the spectrums of sexual identity, class, race, and gender” who “set out to create a board game that carefully balances fun and satire with harsh truths behind the story of privilege in America”:
“The goal of Reality Check is to provide a fun and informative foundation for discussion and understanding of the complex phenomenon of privilege in America.
The goal of this game is not to patronize the lived-experience of marginalized people, but instead to expose privileged individuals to how privilege functions in American society.”
The game is relatively early in its development cycle, with the games official website noting that a Kickstarter campaign for the game will begin in Q3 of 2019. In the interim, the Reality Check team has taken to posting promotional shots of the game, ranging from shots of people playing the game to detail shots of the games play cards:
Fight the power with Righteous Action cards! These cards go in your hand and are played against other players with serious privilege. Or use ’em to help yourself and those in need.#fighthepower #righteous #burningman #burner #hipster #boardgamegeek #tabletopgaming #seriousgames pic.twitter.com/Y932UwkvKf
— Reality Check: The Game of Privilege (@privilegegame) June 27, 2019
Despite the clear intention of the game as a tool to educate players on the concept of privilege and the highly diverse team of contributors working on the project, the game was flooded with criticism (ironically, from the very audience the creators of the game sought to appeal to), ranging from unfounded insults to accusations that the creators were making light of serious social issues:
I somehow feel like the venn diagram of people that play this game and incel maga assholes is the most mathematically perfect circle to ever exist.
— Nix (@MC_Etching) June 28, 2019
I, too, have been high and had a bad idea. Difference is, I didn’t sink hundreds of hours and presumably a couple thousand dollars into it.
— Jesse ‘Graverobber’s Sword preorders soon!’ Jordan (@JesseNeon) June 28, 2019
If you’d like a real Reality Check, this shit isn’t funny or clever. Fuck this light-hearted party romp through the suffering of others.
As a person of serious privilege, I hope this project gets curb stomped.
— Jason Shamblin (@jasonshamblin) June 28, 2019
This is not helping to support minorities or demonstrate power dynamics.
— Boris – Flood 🏳️🌈 🇦🇺 (@scorpionsbling) June 28, 2019
The game even garnered a thinly veiled threat from Whitney “Strix” Beltrán, Project Narrative Director for Hidden Path Entertainment and co-creator of the table top role-playing game Bluebeard’s Bride, who warned that, if the game were to move forward with production, it would “go badly for [their] careers”:
Mates, as a part of the Seattle area games community, and as an award winning designer, I’m telling you that you need to pull this game. We won’t tolerate this in our design spaces. If you don’t drop it, it will go badly for your careers.
— The Strix (@the_strix) June 28, 2019
Ultimately, despite the humorous stance regarding criticism taken by Reality Check on their website, sarcastically asking that those who dislike the game “Don’t buy as many copies of the game as you can. Don’t flush said copies down your toilet or set those copies ablaze on your front lawn. Don’t snap a ton a pics and post them with the hashtag #boycottrealitycheck,” Reality Check took to Twitter amidst the backlash to thank audiences for their feedback and state that they were going to “regroup”:
Ok, everyone. Thanks for the feedback. We’re going to regroup and work on our messaging!
— Reality Check: The Game of Privilege (@privilegegame) June 29, 2019