Swiss democracy as a mobile game
With the launch of Democratia: The Isle of Five, a mobile game for smartphones and tablets, Avenir Suisse is treading new ground in terms of methodology, content, and communications. The virtual board game is a playful approach to direct democracy in Switzerland and a new way of simulating the country’s political discourse. It’s now available for download free of charge in five languages, including Romansh, in the Apple Store and in Google Play.
Democratia is a virtual board game for up to five players that presents Switzerland as an island inhabited by five different tribes. Each player leads one of these tribes with the aim of increasing its resources and pushing through their own political agenda. As in Switzerland, regular referendums are held in Democratia. But these aren’t the only factors influencing the game and the distribution of resources on the island. There are also all sorts of random events, some based loosely on reality, and others more tongue in cheek, the product of pure imagination. But try as they might to push through their own agenda, the Tellis, Novatars, Admins, Globos, and Vertis always have to keep an eye on the fate of the other tribes: if any one tribe loses all its resources, the whole island perishes, and the game ends prematurely with no winner.
Democratia’s supposed to be fun. But it’s also designed to provoke discussion and demonstrate that this country needs cooperation as well as competition to move ahead. Players have to make various strategic decisions: do I take resources from others (by poaching members of another tribe), or do I rely on my own tribe’s high degree of motivation? How can I best influence the results of referendums in the interests of my tribe? Whether it’s played in the family, with friends, or at school, Democratia is a guaranteed source of lively debate.
It’s not just geared to Swiss people, but for anyone interested in political questions and games of strategy. Democratia can be played in five languages: English, German, French, Italian – and Romansh. It’s available for immediate download from the Apple Store and from Google Play. The game is free of charge and contains no in-app purchases.