Jason Morningstar on “Shoutdown to Launch”

Today, #Feminism’s own “Shoutdown to Launch” designer, Jason Morningstar, tells us a little about his vision for the game.

When I sat down to really think about what form a game that addressed some aspect of feminism would take, my first thought was to build a game playable by a big group that offered empathy without being particularly grim. My guess was that the anthology would have plenty of small, very serious games. I wanted my game to be simple and easy to run but address a real issue in an active way. Working in academia, I’m acutely aware of and enormously irritated by gendered interruption, which seems endemic. The fact that I work in a nursing school that flips the traditional gender ratios and power dynamics among faculty put this into sharp relief for me. It seemed like a great topic for me to address since I encounter it frequently and often find myself deliberately countering it in meetings.

So–a big game about gendered interruption. The approach I arrived at was to sort the players into roles with discrete rules for communication that would illustrate the concept through play without being overly didactic. The basic rules sort of wrote themselves. For a theme, I combined my abiding love for the Rocketdyne J-2 engine, for which I happened to have wonderfully cryptic blueprints, with a scenario that conveniently provided built-in time pressure for the game. As a side note, I feel like “Shoutdown to Launch” also quietly honors badass engineers like Katherine Johnson and Galina Balashova who surely endured many, many meetings like the one the game presents.

Have you played “Shoutdown to Launch”? Share your experiences in the comments.

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