5 Board Games to teach Social Responsibility in this period of Quarantine

5 Board Games to teach Social Responsibility in this period of Quarantine

Over this April 2020 period in Singapore, due to the worldwide pandemic, all in Singapore have to stay at home on government orders. That being said, it is quite clear that there are some in society that just can't understand that a temporary inconvenience is for the greater good for all including themselves. Easily unessential reasons to leave the home are veiled in needing "essentials" conveniently regularly or "bumping" into friends while exercising in which they even post about their outings on social media.

Now as the founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, once said, a person by around 30 years or so will have their personalities pretty much set. So for the current generation and before, if they are selfish, they probably will remain unknowingly or otherwise ignorant of their situation. Thus, we have to look to the future and focus on teaching the younger generation that social responsibility is a trait not only worth having but that it should come naturally. So, to keep learning fun, here are 6 board games that you can incorporate social responsibility lessons into and still have a fun game for both you and your kids. 

Klask/Klask 4

One might be curious about how Klask or its 4 player set, Klask 4 can be a good lesson in social responsibility but as someone who has worked quite a bit in a board game store, it can and let me explain why.

So in TOYTAG's showroom, there is a copy of Klask 4 that people can demo play. It is very popular with kids, hitting the balls and pieces as hard as they can and of course, they fly off the board. With some children, they make it a point of picking up after themselves, while some need their parents to tell them to do so and lastly the parents and children who expect the staff to pick up after them. 

Klask is a game similar to Air Hockey, except a round ball is shot around a stadium board through pieces controlled by magnets on the underside of the board. One score by scoring a goal, an opponent getting 2 biscuits (white pieces) on their player piece, an opponent hitting the ball off the board and an opponent getting a Klask, their main piece dropping into their own goal. 

Klask can be used to teach a child in a short and quick game that there are consequences to one's actions by making them pick up after themselves. For example, hitting a piece very hard can be very satisfying but then you have a longer period looking around to find a missing piece. Also, the game is fun but still needs skill to play, teaching that maybe the most satisfying hard hit of the ball for a moment won't win them the game probably. Thus, through repetition, the child learns naturally to pick up after their own mess.  

Pandemic Rapid Response

To teach social responsibility and how the effects of one will affect everybody else, of course, you have to include a cooperative game. As to win, the game is designed for people to work together against the game. So if everybody was to only do what they feel like doing without consulting others, they are likely to lose. Basically, a chain is only as strong as the weakest link. 

On top of that, Pandemic Rapid Response is a realtime game, where people have to work against a literal timer, I suggest a 2 minute timer on your phones instead of the sand timer in the game. Thus, players have to give others a chance to speak, as if everyone speaks, then no one is listening and with a timer, the child will learn that a well thought out action is usually better than an impulsive one. The timer also makes it less likely one player can boss around others as everybody is thinking on their feet. 

Rapid Response is played with a 2 minute timer per round, players each do their actions in turn by rolling dice and using the symbols to move, fly the plane, remove waste, get rescue items loaded and drop off the items to different cards representing countries.  Every 2 minutes, new countries need help and if one cant complete the cards within the limited time counters in the game, the game is lost. If the players complete all the cards, they win.  

Related: The Benefits of Board Gaming Cooperatively in this Isolation Period

The Legend of the Cherry Tree that blossoms every ten years

Learning about social responsibility is a holistic lesson that must start with the person themself. Also, I do not know anyone who likes to be preached at. Thus, with Legend of the Cherry Tree that can be done because it is a push your luck game in which the player chooses when to stop. The game is played by pulling flowers from the bag and if the player busts by getting 5 flowers of different colours or 3 of the same colour then they only collect 2 different coloured flowers and put it in front of their screen but if the player chooses to stop before they bust, they get to choose one colour to go behind their screen and the rest goes in front of their screen with their respective scorings. 

Thus, you can allow them to fail a few times, then explain the lesson of pulling back even though they want to push their luck further. Again reinforcing the idea that what they want now might not always benefit themselves in the long term. Thus a win for themselves and society as a whole. 

Concept Board Game

No lesson can be done unless there is communication between the teacher and the student. So with that, we have an experience whose entire premise is communication. 

In Concept, the active player has to give clues on a board with a wide array of characteristics, such as shape, colour, is it alive, etc without saying anything. The faster another player can guess, the better the score. To me, this is not really a game but an activity which shows that what you expect to be totally obvious can be totally foreign to another. For example, I played with a person from America who thought of Singaporeans like people from China when he worked there and thought how we could possibly know who Colonel Sanders was. He was not trying to be mean but he learned from his mistake, which is forgivable. 

Thus, as you can see by playing Concept, you get to delve into the minds of others and learn that to do well in this game, it is more important to think about the other players first as they are the ones that have to guess the word. Thus, a lesson that is good to put into the mind of a child in society, as most selfish people think they are allowed to break rules as they got a good excuse in their heads but others don't when they do the same.

Pandemic/Pandemic Legacy Season 1

The last game on this list is really very poignant to the current situation and the obvious game about working together as it is the game that made cooperative games a worldwide phenomenon. 

Pandemic and Pandemic Legacy sees you and your team of specialists going around the world, collecting information, curing people, building research centers and making vaccines. If you can find the cure to all the viruses, you win, if not, the world has to suffer a prolonged pandemic. Pandemic Legacy, on the other hand, is the same base mechanics, except with an exceptional story that sees you changing the board and cards permanently with decisions made every scenario you play till the story ends. 

This game is really the epitome of teaching why working together is important and the theme shows how one person's bad behaviour can lead to everyone suffering in the current situation we are in right now in the real world. Thus, how could I not put this game on the list. 

In conclusion, I hope everything stays healthy and we all just do your part to get over this. No one expects anyone else to suffer unduly but remember if we all do it, it is just a month staying in but if there are more selfish people, then it will be far longer and everybody still suffers together. #StayHome, Stay safe. 

Email: huibin@toytag.com
Zhou Huibin is a smith of words who majored in Philosophy & History from the University of Western Australia and whose life has followed the flow of his hobbies. He seeks continual contentment in his ponders, reading, writing, painting and board games which fills almost all of his time.
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