Unsettling Settlers: Intervention Game Night

‘Settlers of Catan’ is a popular board game that encourages players to employ colonial settlement strategies on an unpopulated wild landscape. Relying on the colonial settler narrative, ‘Settlers of Catan’ does not include in its infrastructure representations of the many nations of indigenous people that preexist colonial settlement, narratives of the global migrant and conditions of conflict that arise with colonial expansion. Instead ‘Settlers of Catan’ and it various permutations and expansions rely on the common fallacies of colonial development.

Unsettling Setters: Intervention aims to interrupt the game space in order to employ strategies that strengthen our ability to imagine and practice critical alternatives and counter hegemonic action. Included in the game are new game pieces, cards and rules to be played out on the Settlers of Catan board game. Unsettling Settlers: Intervention allows for players to work through strategies of repatriation by collecting non-extraction resources, building treaties and reclaiming land on a virtual landscape.

Golboo Amani views games as readymade sites for informal pedagogy. Many of the strategies employed within education are related to games. As one of the oldest leisure activities, designed to develop specific skills of strategy through social engagement, games are sites where imagination, social practice and pedagogy collide. ‘Settlers of Catan’ is a recently popular board game that encourages players to employ colonial settlement strategies on an unpopulated wild landscape a common fallacy of colonial development.

I would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

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This project has been supported through funding by the Toronto Arts Council, funded by the City of Toronto.

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