Disparity Trap: The Social Conscious Board Game provides an easy way to have the hard conversations around race & privilege in America and how they impact society in systemically dominant (SD) and systemically non-dominant (SND) ways. The game play is like many of its kind, where your individual goal is to accrue as much wealth as possible. But where it differs is that you can have a team goal as well where you work with your fellow players to dismantle the Disparity Traps seeking to keep everyone in poverty. Within this game you also have the opportunity to step into someone else’s shoes; to experience the disparities within an identity different from your own. Throughout the game, the dice roll correlates your identity in the game to real life statistics.
So like life, the dice are in your “hands,” but the odds are not.
How to Win
Competitive Play: Be the first player to reach the Top Tier and make it completely around the board.
Cooperative Play: All players must make it to at least Tier Three and obtain at least 3 wealth tiles in order for the group to win. Optional: Add a timer for added challenge.
How to Lose
Competitive Play: Another player makes it completely around the board before you
Cooperative Play: Everyone loses when there is more than one tier separating any two players (example: separation between Tier One & Two is okay, but Tier One & Three means you lose the game).
Path to Winning
Players must accrue enough tiles to achieve the Tier Goal and unlock the next Tier.
Tier One Goal: Obtain a Job or Startup Tile or ONE Wealth Tile.
Tier Two Goal: Obtain a THIRD Wealth Tile.
Tier Three Goal: Obtain a FOURTH Wealth Tile.
Tier Four Goal: Obtain a FIFTH Wealth Tile and reach the START space (to win competitively) or help other players reach at least Tier THREE (to win cooperatively)
Assign player identity: Place the same number of Privilege cards face down on the table as there are players (as close to equal number blank and arrow cards), mix them around, and have players grab one card each, at random. Blank cards = systemically non-dominant (SND) identity. Arrow cards = systemically dominant (SD) identity.
To start the game, everyone places their pawn on the START space.
Decide which of the systemically dominant players go first. Continue to play clockwise.
On Your Turn
Every turn you must roll one die and move forward before you pull a card. You must move forward at least one space, or up to the same number of spaces rolled on the die.
If you land on a Preparation, Opportunity, or Event icon, you must pull a card from that corresponding deck. If the space is blank, you can choose from any of the three options
If you choose not to play the card, your turn is finished. Unless you are a SD player and want to use a Privilege token for a Second Chance.
Some Preparation cards have qualifiers in order to play them. If you qualify, you can choose to play the card or put in discard pile to end your turn. If you don’t qualify, you must return the card to the deck.
Some Preparation cards have a “pathway” (indicated by small alphabetized circles), which means you must roll multiple steps in order to complete the card.
If the first roll is successful, immediately roll the next step.
If the first roll is unsuccessful, you must return the card to the deck.
If the next step roll is unsuccessful:
- Your turn is finished and you must wait until your next turn to try again. As long as you don’t abandon the pathway, you can continue from the step you are on.
- If you choose to play that card later in the game, you must restart that pathway from the beginning
Some Opportunity cards have qualifiers in order to play them. If you qualify, you can choose to play the card or put in discard pile to end your turn. If you don’t qualify, you must return the card to the deck.
If you choose not to play the card, your turn is finished. Unless, you are a SD player and want to use a Privilege token for a Second Chance (see page 7 for more details). Once done put in discard pile to end your turn.
With Event cards you do not have a choice and must play the card (the qualifier on the card will indicate if its meant for just one player or all the players).
Some Event cards have a “pathway” (indicated by small alphabetized circles), which means you must roll multiple steps in order to complete the card.
f your first roll keeps you on the pathway, then roll the next step and continue until unsuccessful.
If the card is for all players, everyone must roll in clockwise order for each step. Players that miss the roll must stop rolling. Continue to the next step until no players remain or the card is completed.
Once done with the card, return to the discard pile.
Unless you use a privilege token, you cannot abandon the Event card pathway by choice. You must play out the pathway steps listed above.
Play a Personal Privilege token
Use this token to help yourself or another player in the game. See Page 7 for details on Privilege token options.
Once played, the turn is finished.
The receiving player can deny it, or accept token and hold on to it until ready to use it.
The receiving player must play token before entering a new tier or they forfeit token.
End Your Turn
If you reach the end of a Tier and have not completed that Tier’s goal but have Privilege tokens, you can ‘cash them in’ by pulling one Opportunity card per token into your hand, all at once, plus one additional card since you are on the Opportunity space. From that hand, select one card to play and discard the rest.
If you do not have any Privilege tokens, you must play the Opportunity space and pull one card.
If after playing the Opportunity card you are still unsuccessful in reaching the Tier goal, you must roll one die and move back that number of spaces on the Tier.
If, at any time, you end up back at the START space, you must return a wealth tile. If you do not own a wealth tile, you must skip a turn.
Types of Tiles
This tile helps you secure a job, and improves your chances of obtaining wealth tiles.
Graduated: Acquired when you’ve successfully graduated through a Preparation card. Skill: Acquired when you’ve successfully gained experience through a Preparation card.
With this tile, you have more wealth tile opportunities.
Hired: Acquired when you’ve successfully gotten a job from a Preparation card. Promoted: Acquired when you’ve successfully gotten a promotion from an Opportunity card.
With this tile, you have more wealth tile opportunities.
Startup: Acquired when you’ve successfully played a Startup Preparation card or Opportunity card. Investment: Acquired when you’ve successfully played an Investment Opportunity card.
Wealth tiles get you closer to your Tier Goal and are acquired through an Event or Opportunity card. The dice roll required is dependent on your identity in the game and the associated Disparity Factor on the card. You cannot have three of any kind of wealth tile. If awarded a third, you must exchange it for another wealth tile of your choice.
You may exchange some tiles for another. See below for options:
Two Graduated tiles for a Job tile
Two Skill tiles for a Job tile
You cannot roll for a 3rd wealth tile of the same kind but if awarded a 3rd tile, you can exchange for another wealth tile.
Event cards for a single player, or the whole table, that make it more likely for players to fall into poverty.
Opportunity cards where privileged players have an inside scoop on additional avenues to obtain wealth.
Change the Rules
Preparation cards where a player can hold a table vote to eliminate the Disparity Factor on any of the game tiles.
The holder of the Change the Rules card selects which tile to remove the Disparity Factor from. After a brief discussion, those who want to approve must raise their hand. Vote requires a majority to pass. If it passes, place the card face up on the side with the tile chosen as reference of the newly changed rules. Those who voted must move back 5 spaces on the board, regardless of vote outcome. Those who didn’t vote don’t move.
Personal Privilege Card
Having this card signifies your identity in the game as systemically dominant (SD). You get additional opportunities, including one extra Privilege token at the beginning of each Tier, starting with Tier One.
Given to players at the beginning of a new Tier, starting at Tier Two (two tokens for Tier Two, three tokens for Tier Three, four tokens for Tier Four). Use to help yourself or another player. All tokens must be used before entering a new Tier or the player forfeits the tokens.
Deflect Disparity Traps: Any player can use a token to deflect a Disparity Trap that would impact them. They cannot deflect a Disparity Trap for another player.
Second Chance (Pre-Roll): If an SD player does not wish to play the first card pulled, they can use a Privilege token and pull a second card from the same deck.
End of Tier: A player can pull an extra Opportunity card per token into their hand, all at once, plus one additional card for being on the Opportunity space. From that hand, they must select one card to play and discard the rest. Network Privileges Opportunity cards where privileged players have an inside scoop on additional avenues to obtain wealth.
For Another Player
Must be in Tier 2+ to give. Costs one Privilege token:
Job Referral: Recipient gets to skip the Apply step and rolls to get a Hired tile.
Must be in Tier 3+ to give. Costs two Privilege tokens:
Promotion Referral: Recipient skips the Apply step and rolls for a Promotion tile.
Job Offer: Recipient skips all steps and receive a Hired tile.
Promotion Offer: Recipient skips all steps and receive a Wealth tile of your choosing.
Startup Offer: Recipient skips all steps and receive a Startup tile.
Investment Offer: Recipient skips all steps and receive an Investment tile.