Trading Races is an elaborate PAPER-BASED role-playing game set at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus in April 2003. Players in Trading Races take on the roles of real historical characters and multi-ethnic and multi-national members of an imaginary University of Michigan Student Assembly.
Each player is assigned the detailed role of an undergraduate student character, who may diverge from the player’s actual race, gender, political orientation and sexuality. For example, a male African-American player who is highly conscious of race and ethnic history and philosophy may be assigned to play a conservative white woman character informed by a very different political ideology.
By making players assume the ideological worldviews of people different from themselves, the game encourages players to “trade races” intellectually and emotionally. A electronic simulation of this paper-based game is being planned for the future.
In Spring 2013, Trading Races was playtested in Eileen Cheng-yin Chow’s undergraduate class on Global Chinatowns at Duke University and Sharon Musher’s advanced history undergraduate seminar at Richard Stockton College. Contact Adeline Koh at adelinekoh at gmail dot com if you are interested in playtesting the game.