Can Board Games Tackle Corruption?

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As you’ve probably realised by now, we’re a massive fan of games of all kinds. Tabletop and board games can really bring people together, and if you play them regularly can also foster a sense of community.

But now there’s a group in Indonesia who are trying to use board games to help tackle the issue of corruption in the country.

Al Jazeera reported on the efforts by Saya Perempuan Anti-Korupsi (SPAK), a group of activists who have developed a simple game called Semai. This game is designed to teach people about corruption on all its levels, but particularly the everyday occurrences that need to change if there is to be a real culture shift.

SPAK is taking it into schools and police stations across the island of Sulawesi, where it aims to get both children and adults talking about corruption.

The concept behind Semai is simple - it presents scenarios, such as ‘Arun is using the school’s only computer, there is no wi-fi and he won’t share’ and then asks those playing to identify the value missing. In this example, the answer is fairness.

Nine values that are seen as key for helping tackle corruption have been identified and included in the game.

Judhi Kristantini, founder of SPAK, explained that behaviour change across the board is what’s required. “Indonesians think corruption is something the elites do and blame the system. But the system is us.”

We’re all for more people playing board games, especially if they can develop important skills or values. In the past we’ve written about board games being used to help give refugees in Berlin a sense of community, so it’s great to find another example where the humble board game is doing more than just entertaining.

Of course, we’re also all for a bit of entertainment, especially when it involves our impressive collection of Guild Ball tokens.


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