FoodBANK is a live action role play conceived in relation to real life situations under tory leadership and imposed austerity. This situation is not a game. FoodBANK mimics the structure of both 'The Game of Life' and elements of 'Monopoly' and aims to use play and role play to provoke discussion about, complicate and reveal the irrational economic regime we live and compete under.
All players start the game with:
Individual character card (this will describe the individuals personality, priviledges, aspirations, abilities, education and current living/financial situation).
A related costume item.
A character token to move around the board.
A realistic amount of money their character might enter the game with (detailed on the character card).
Is to keep financially afloat in order to move along the board attempting to fulfil individual definitions of success. These will be represented by a combination of certain food items (as detailed in their character bio).
Individuals will need to earn, spend, beg, borrow and steal against complex and unfair circumstances in order to stay in the game. However winning is more complicated. Characters must obtain all the items their personal success defines and these will not able to be attainable with money. They will have to be exchanged during the Free Market trading sessions instigated by the bank. Food items will also enter the game intermittently via the god and events of pertaining to chance.
The items you attain will not always be the items you need. Therefore you will need to use your wit on the Free Market in order to exchange these. Players be aware - as the game unfolds, some items might be worth more than others as they become rarities. There is not enough for everyone and Free Market exchanges are often based on former alliances and absurd bartering systems.
Players move around the board by a roll of the dice, they might pass or land on one of four types of situations:
Pay day – If you pass this symbol, at any time, you will be paid by the bank for your job. Stay vigilant. Noone will remind you.
Rent day – Is your outgoings day, and similarly, if you pass this symbol at any time you must pay up. Unfortunately you wont be reminded of this but if you are caught out and forget this important date you will be punished.
Chance – When you land on these symbols you will receive a card at random. These will describe an event which may give/take money, give food items or dictate an event in the future.
Stop – The stop symbol you should stop at. Here you have a choice in regards to how your life pans out. These do not come up often, so choose carefully!
Game Master, God and The Banker.
Game Master oversees game play and is in charge of telling players when to roll and may remind the banker or god if rent is not paid or immoral acts are occuring.
God is the final word or authority in the game, followed closely by the banker.
By chance you will be referred to God. Here you will pray, plead or ask advice. Maybe you believe or maybe you do not. Maybe they will help, maybe they will not. They will however direct you with their actions. These are final and can only be interfered with at the request of God.
The Banker will take and give monies for both pay/rent day, call the free market timings and be the point of call when you would like to invest, sell your assets or apply for loans. The repayments of which will be decided upon each case and seemingly at random.
Ultimately these three will decide your fate. They will not always work together.
If you find yourself bankrupt?
Only at this point may you sell your food items to the bank. The bank will decide on their value.
If you are still broke, you can:
1. Make the decision to take out a cash loan (short term - high repayments) and hang in until by chance you receive a lucky break. Or 2. You can surrender yourself to the bank. At which point your fate will be decided by the bank, sometimes with the help of your fellow community/public, sometimes not.
If noone offers to help. You must sit out of the game. In order to get back in, you must roll a 1. When you will start assetless and on the ‘basic’ income/outgoings structure.)
A chance to gather all your successes and win. This will happen at random and trade will be allowed for 5minutes only!
Here the only rule is that food items cannot be obtained with cash, only through exchange. The only time which food items can be obtained with money will be in the event of another individual entering bankrupcy and surrendering their assets. At which point the privledged others will have an opportunity to buy out the gathered successes of those worse off.
In foodBANK, the unregulated economic activity and relaxed state regulation of pollution inevidably lead to economic and environmental impacts. For this every single player must pay.
Similarly, the deregulation of the labour market means that workers were precarious and often lose big, very quickly, as do those that encountered health problems as the NHS becomes privatised.
In the game, as in life, urbans citizens are increasingly deprived of the power to shape the basic conditions of daily life. Property developers swoop in buying up property without remuneration or re-housing tenants.
And in the game, as in life, female players are increasingly met by glass ceilings and are not supported by flexible work options when they choose to bear children, as a result, this slows their progression.
The play documented here took place in February 2015 at Artlacuna and hosted approx 16 players. The afternoon concluded with a shared meal and discussions about individuals experiences throughout the game. Some points of reflection were the dynamic that the distribution of wealth caused, who cheated or who they played with, other issues that may have arose out of their characters predicaments/successes and how this made them think about our current political landscape.