The Cultural Exchange Game

I am revisiting this game board that I made while in Australia 2001 or 2003. I was attending a basket conference and was invited to use whatever I wanted in the abundance of basket materials and found objects. I tried looking around at what each of the others was making so I could follow along. It struck me how much those of us from somewhere else would very much like to fit in – sort of be one of the group. I looked across the room and took in all our similarities. We were basket makers, we spoke the same language (albeit some of Australian slang terms still escape me), most of us were women wearing casual comfortable clothing that appeared either hand sewn, dyed or decorated in some way.

I was asking questions about them and they were asking questions about me. It was the getting to know each other that prompted me to start making small stick figures. There would be a tribe of three each placed at opposite ends of a board game. And they would leave their little pod shoes behind in an attempt to get to the other end and fit themselves into the others’ shoes. How fun is that? Here is the result and rules of the game that are written on a scroll within the board/box.

Cultural Exchange Game set up lo res

Cultural Exchange

Read completely before playing

The rules of Cultural Exchange are based on the ideas of awareness, acquaintance and acquisition. First we see (through our own eyes) that which is appealing and compelling. Our desire to go toward is further enhanced by a recognition of the familiar and need to experience another’s place or point of view.

In Cultural Exchange we will do this by traveling across the board on a designated and well-worn path to experience the other point of view through the wearing of the “others'” shoes.

The cultural “tribes” at each end consist of threee members – each with their own pair of shoes which they leave behind in an attempt to get tot the other end and position themselves in the “others” shoes.

All members of the tribe must be “wearing” the new shoes and be seeing from this new point of view before being declared the winner.

Two players control the moves of their chosen tribe by rolling the stone. The number which is uppermost will determine the number os spaces any tribal member may take along the prescribed path.

If a space is occupied it can be counted as one and tribesman pass by if he has rolled a higher number than one. If there is no space beyond he must then count out his rolled number forward and then backwards. This is typical of cultural exchange – advances of bad starts with good intentions.

If the stone shows a picture of a shoe in the uppermost position, then the tribesman may immediately advance to an empty pair of shoes at the other end – and stay put.

But if somewhere on the board a member of a tribe lands in a place with a black “X” by, arbitration occurs. This is a decision made by the “Jimmy” – a referee of tempered disposition who will decide whether the tribesman may stay or is sent home to contemplate his errors of judgment and start again.

“Jimmy” is so named for Jimmy Carter, a former US president and popular world choice for occasions of arbitration. He is placed somewhere near the center of the board in anticipation of interference.

to determine “Jimmy’s” decision, the player whose tribesman is caught in the difficult position of an “X” marked spot, will shake the black spotted stone and toss it into the rounded dish. If the black spot is up, he must return home. If not, he may stay there and continue onward in turn.

When a winner is declared or boredom sets in, all pieces are to be carefully gathered up and placed within the game box – where they may all experience an un-officiated co-mingling of views and shoes.

Play fair.


Cultural Exchange Tribe A shoes lo res

Cultural Exchange Tribe B shoes lo res