New website coming soon! In the meantime, check out the latest version of our toolkit at

“It’s the Whole Earth Catalogue for politicos.”

Wes “Scoop” Nisker, author of Crazy Wisdom

Beautiful Trouble: The game

Contributed by on

Strategy Game

The change-making game for game-changers”

Imagine taking the greatest movement victories of the last 100+ years and teasing out the core strategies and tactics that made them successful — then adding in the most contagious solutions people are working on today to make the transition to a just and sustainable society. That’d be a pretty great toolbox or two right there. Now imagine a deck of cards and an online gaming platform that allowed you to play with these ideas in different ways depending on the challenges you’re facing. Strategy games. Campaign planning games. Action design games. All equipping change-makers with the strategic and tactical know-how to break through activist malaise and effectively and creatively up-end the status quo.

Through our ongoing “Beautiful Rising” partnership with ActionAid, we stumbled into designing an early prototype of such a game, which we’ve been testing all over the world, from Burma to Zimbabwe, Bangladesh to Brooklyn. Everyone loves to play games; many more people will play a game than will read a book. It’s a great way to disseminate these ideas and get people applying them in practice, thus contributing to a deeper culture of strategy and analysis. And we’re finding that people are immediately drawn to the deck of cards — it’s tactile, versatile, and fun. They feel like they have the movements’ wisdom of the ages in their hands. They immediately want to flip through the deck and see what treasures lie waiting — and what they can do with them. In Amman, workshop participants invented new ways to play the game; in Yangon, they organically incorporated the cards into their own strategic planning process, then challenged the facilitators to a head-to-head match, on their turf, addressing their issues!

We’ve taken the game through its first phase of development, but there’s still much work to do to test and refine rules, commission beautifully designed game cards, coordinate production, build an online platform, and get this tool into the hands of activists the world over. We’re perfectly positioned to carry this out: our globally dispersed writers, editors and trainers are working with a brilliant design team. We have already developed a rudimentary deck of cards, and are on version 3 of the game rules. To deal these cards out to large numbers of troublemakers, however, we need to up the ante.

Help us infuse strategic thinking and creative play into social movements at every level. We are currently seeking funding partners — contact us at team at beautifultrouble dot org if you are interested.