The Landlord Game is a free educational board game designed to help faculty gamify the economic dimensions of social justice for their students.

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About the Game

Hearkening back to Lizzie Maggie's The Landlord's Game, an ur-design of the game we know today as Monopoly™, the game leverages players' knowledge of Monopoly, complicating its reductive economic model which equates economic success with ‘winning’, depicting it as the survival of the fittest in an otherwise egalitarian setting.

Unlike Monopoly, which assumes a level socio-economic playing field, Landlord more closely reflects actual inequities under the current American economy. Players quickly find that on the gamut of roles from Owner to Manager to Employee to Unemployed, it is increasingly difficult to avoid bankruptcy as the game progresses. In Landlord, this is precisely the point! By adjusting these and other rules to effect real-world economic disparities at the start of the game, Landlord aims to stimulate a frustration so comically absurd that gameplay evolves into a discussion among the players around the systemic inequities of contemporary capitalism.


Game Designers

Many thanks to Dr. Julia Douthwaite, Professor of French, whose 2018 exhibit Money Worries at Notre Dame's Snite Museum was the impetus for the development of this educational game. Nor would this project have been possible without the support and contributions of my colleagues at the Hesburgh Libraries, including Psychology Librarian Cheri Smith, who led the design of the properties schema. My deep thanks as well to the domain experts, below, with whom I worked to develop the learning objectives and game content.

Dr. Randal Sean Harrison

Game Designer

Emerging Technologies Librarian
Hesburgh Libraries
University of Notre Dame

Dr. Arian Farshbaf

Domain Expert

Assistant Professor, Economics
Business and Economics
St. Mary's College

Dr. Sianne Vijay

Domain Expert

Assistant Professor, Economics
Business and Economics
St. Mary's College

Dr. Connie Mick

Domain Expert

Associate Director
Center for Social Concerns
University of Notre Dame


News

Check it Out

October 4, 2018

4 copies of The Landlord game have been made available for checkout at the Lower Level Circulation Desk of the Hesburgh Library. Ideal for the flipped classroom, the game affords a fun way to have students explore concepts from socio-economics and poverty studies. Students may check out the game to play in the library in groups and perhaps write up their play experience for class.

Conference Presentation

May 16, 2018

Presented on The Landlord Game at the innagural Teach, Play, Learn conference on June 22, 2018 at Indiana University South Bend (IUSB). A great experience all around! If you're interested, have a look at my presentation slide deck.

Have Game, Will Travel!

April 3, 2018

I have been having an amazing time playing The Landlord Game in a number of classes at Notre Dame and St. Mary's, including:

  • The Moreau First Year Experience Seminar, Notre Dame (Harrison, Monroe, Morgan, Outlaw, Vecchio)
  • Confronting Poverty: Bringing Service to Justice, Notre Dame Summer Scholars (Mick)
  • IDS 30995: Social Inequality, Notre Dame (Toro)
  • FTT 40108: Interactive Storytelling, Notre Dame (Payne)
  • ECO 252: Principles of Microeconomics, St. Mary's (Vijay)
  • ECO 352: Intermediate Microeconomics, St. Mary's (Vijay)
  • ECO 354: Development Economics, St. Mary's (Vijay)

The number of strategies with which the students negotiate the purposefully flexible rules, creating the game as they play, continues to amaze me.

Landlord Featured in 2018 Money Worries Exhbit

Jan 30, 2018

The Landlord Game may be played as part of the interactive component of the Money Worries exhibit at the University of Notre Dame's Snite Museum (through Mar 25, 2018).

The exhibition aims to disrupt visitors’ received attitudes toward money, wealth, and poverty by examining various forms of antique and modern currency and anachronistic juxtapositions of historical and contemporary depictions in art of financial transactions, allegories, and portraits. Visitors will also have an opportunity to play digital or board games that challenge assumptions of “fairness” both in the artificial environment of the game and in life.

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