Seven Levers for Social Change Through Games: From Settlers of Catan to Autonomía Zapatista




Game-Based Revolution, GBR, Social Transformation, Catan, Autonomía Zapatista, gamevironments


Games have an ambivalent relationship with reality. On the one hand, playing allows us to simulate ordinary life situations without their consequences. On the other hand, playing makes it possible to imagine new worlds. Games train us for real life and help us to create new scenarios. For these reasons, we believe that games can act as levers for social change. In this report, we analyze two very different board games, Settlers of Catan and Autonomía Zapatista, at seven milestones in their development (context, purpose, design, production, distribution, play, and expansion) to highlight their possibilities as tools for social change. Finally, we offer this methodology of analysis, the keys of Game-Based Revolution (GBR), to assess the transformative potential of other games, both analog and digital.

Author Biographies

Cati Hernández

Cati Hernández has a diploma in social education and a degree in psycho-pedagogy with more than ten years of experience in socio-educational spaces for children and families.

Pablo Garaizar Sagarminaga

Pablo Garaizar has a PhD in Computer Engineering and a degree in Psychology. He works as a associate professor and researcher at the University of Deusto. He has developed educational apps such as Social Lab, Kodetu, Make World or Lempel and board games such as Moon, Archers de Nand, or Nobel Run.

Noemí Blanch

Noemí Blanch has a degree in Psychology, Master in Ludoformación, Master in Gamification and Transmedia Narrative, Master in Organizational Development and Process Consulting, Agent of Equality and studying Master in Women's Studies, Gender and Citizenship.

Emiliano Labrador

Emiliano Labrador has a PhD in gamification and user experience. Master in multimedia creation and design and Master in user experience. Industrial design technician and multimedia graduate. Currently lead user experience design analyst at everis.