Co-opoly, The Game of Cooperatives
Co-opoly, The Game of Cooperatives, follows in direct lineage from the seminal Monopoly, which was originally called The Landlord’s Game. Designed by Elizabeth Magie in 1902, The Landlord’s Game sought to teach about the dangers of massive accumulation of wealth by a few landowners — and present an alternative that kept the economic value of land and natural resources for the benefit of all. Similarly, Co-opoly turns the unique circumstances of starting and running a cooperative and democratic business into a fun and easy game to play.
In Co-opoly, you win when you have accumulated enough resources to start another co-op. You lose if you can’t pay your bills or continue to run your business. Decisions about pay scales, investments, insurance coverage and price setting are all on the table. These decisions are made by the players together, as everyone is on the same team as part of the same co-op. More challenges are embedded in the game through mini charades, drawing contests and fun bits that bring out a wide spectrum of skills (or lack thereof, somewhat hilariously) in your fellow employees.
Play this game with three to six folks (the more the merrier), and cooperate to build up the co-op’s resources — since everyone wins or loses together. Allow at least an hour and a half to get all the way around the board once, and more if you are set on succeeding in starting a new co-op. Players are given model personas to frame their participation in the tasks and challenges presented, as they travel the path of cooperative business life. If members complete challenges then everyone benefits — a clear way to learn about issues of solidarity and democracy within a cooperative economy.
Co-opoly also gets plenty of points for ethical production, with a majority of components produced by cooperatives and printed on recycled paper.