Games are everywhere, from the daily commute and at work, to in the pub over a pint. They forge friendships, improve empathy and can teach us how to play again. Branch is a game about having conversations with strangers and reclaiming your local area. The city is the board, the players are everywhere and the game is yours for the taking.
Using sets of question cards, the game gets people who live or work in a certain place talking to visitors, passersby and other residents. The aim is to give local people the chance to have fun with their neighbourhood and to push understandings in a new way.
Dreamt up through a collaboration between UK based Blast Theory and Mesa e Cadeira in Brazil, the game was created as a way to let a place and its personalities come through – because, as project founder Ju Row Farr describes, places and people can be other than what they first appear:
“It is always a challenge to measure or quantify impact from an art work, but I think this work has the potential to change how people see a neighbourhood and other people in that neighbourhood and it enables members of the public to question how and why they start a conversation with strangers, and under what circumstances.”
The Branch game can be downloaded in Portuguese and English, and played anywhere in the world – at a school, as a part of a festival or event, by a group of friends or neighbours. It is adaptable to different places so you can create your own questions, set rewards if you want a winner or change the starting and ending.
Using one of the oldest forms of social interaction, Branch uses local narratives, locations and people who may not normally get a voice, to encourage a different type of exchange.
To find out more about Branch or to download the game including full instructions, cards and customisable cards, go to branch.co
Ju Row Farr, Blast Theory and Isabella Nardini, Branch project
Brazil (São Paulo)