STRIKE! The Game of Worker Rebellion
A fast-moving cooperative game with community organizers rallying against a heartless corporation.
- Extremely relevant subject matter today
- Fast-playing and easy to learn
- Replayable with different character options
- “Disassemble” action feels counter to peaceful protests
- Main opposition feels like soulless robots instead of soulless people
The TESA Collective is a group that develops games, tools, and programs for social change. As part of a collaboration with Jobs With Justice, TESA has recently started shipping copies of STRIKE! The Game of Worker Rebellion, a cooperative game that pits you as community organizers working against the game as a mega-corporation that is trying to take over their community.
Joining the fight against HappyCorp are a diverse group of people such as a university student, a firefighter, a medic, and a factory worker, each with their own skills and abilities to help grow the ranks of strikers, mobilize protesters, and organize peaceful actions to sway public opinion and prevent the corporate control of their community. STRIKE! feels quite relevant today, being released during a period of international Black Lives Matter protests: HappyCorps’ rhetoric eerily mirrors governmental and right-wing messaging while the strikers’ profiles and actions echo the voices of those taking to the streets of many larger urban centers.
As to the game itself, this feels a lot like TESA’s Space Cats Fight Fascism, with a board of twelve locations, various actions your Space Cats/Strikers can take such as removing fascism/drones, and the spread of fascist/corporate influence via a deck of cards that spout propaganda throughout the galaxy/city. However, in STRIKE!, your character is an off-the-board personality that guides up to ten strikers throughout the different city areas instead of having a single character travel around doing everything. You have a limited number of actions on your turn to move strikers to locations, gain more strikers, remove drones from the board, and claim a victory such as setting up a medical tent or marching on city hall.
While Space Cats is a fun game, it seems to me that STRIKE! is a faster-playing game that feels like an improved, tighter game with cleaner artwork and a more serious subject. Also the components are much nicer.
A few things do seem out of place, such as when a drone appears in a location with a striker, you remove a striker from that location, which feels somewhat like the striker was converted to a supporter of HappyCorp (or even murdered by a HappyCorp drone). Also one of the actions is disassembling the drones, which sounds like a violent action that destroys property, which — when compared to current BLM protests — seems antithetical to the goals of the protests. Perhaps reframing these as “propaganda” and “public support for HappyCorp” might work better. But these are minor quibbles. The game itself plays well and is challenging — in our games on a normal difficulty, it really did feel as if there was pressure from the HappyCorp side that could have stopped us.
Described as “a being of distilled InDesign coding, smoke, and visual lyricism, with a hint of a velvety ghost of cognac”, Thomas designs the look and feel of some of your favorite roleplaying games and boardgames. He lives in a spooky forest near the edge of civilization.
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