ROLEPLAY DESIGN
How to truly discover yourself through living another's role?
creating an alternative reality
Game design is creation of a space where life becomes flexible, and the boundaries of roles and identities are changeable and unsteady. Through a game we understand rules of reality and we find ways to change these rules. We cease to be passengers of reality and become its creators. The game presents us a choice – who to be and how to act. The same choice that we meet every day, but in the gameplay we recall that this choice is ours.

Gameplay for We Here team is friendship between external reality and roleplay spaces which we create for ourselves and others. Each game carries specific message, has its own tactics and technique and explores the context where it takes place.
Eternal festival
Communicative live-action game was made as part of the a large festival Potok. That game explores the topic of interaction between diverse communities and the process of making complex decisions collectively. It corresponds to the values and challenges of one of the main themes of We Here – social diversification.
Played during the festival, it had a strong and surreal vibe. Players entered the space of the "eternal" festival where time is looped and every next day is a repeat of the previous one.
Players had to figure out together the situation and its causes and make a global resolution for everyone's benefit.
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What are games created for?

Game design is art, the way significants insights happen between creator and.. not spectator but co-creator! In our game labs the players were creating the game together with the master - everyone with their own actions and decisions.
Starting point
We Here journey started in the fall of 2018 with a meeting of a small group on the island of Gotland. It was a joint search of ways of interaction and meanings that laid foundation of the thematic Islands (see list of themes we work on).

In one year, in September 2019, we met in a larger group of 70 at the event called "Starting point. The launch of a joint time". Many activists and change-makers teams came together to see what must be done together. The process was created on the edge between a game and the real assembly. The core process was the convergence of "tribes": everyone joined a group with whom their worldview is in tune. We called it a reconciliation of grounds and told each other our Big Stories – the worldviews on which we base our lives and activism.



Next was the question about the possibility of starting our joint story and the course of our time" now and here" despite the difference in the background.
The "Culmination moment" was a mystery/game, with the purpose to create space for the transforming the past reality into a new common picture. There were no leaders in this process, but instigators who started the process and then, along with everyone, lived through what was happening. The process itself was aimed at inner journey – it was a search for some point in the past that determines life in the present. This was symbolically performed through unwinding of long tangles throughout the whole property of the village where we were staying. It is indeed impossible to describe this living process.
You can touch the experience through this symbolic piece:
"We met at the night of the Transition, in September.

Like a harvest for the celebration table we brought here tangles of our lives.

And time was a witness.

We performed a ritual dance, tiptoeing over our own abyss.

We have unfeld a memory labyrinth, went to its end and back to the present.

Like a Gypsy Tabor we were rushing through Life-Death-Life.

Celebrating."
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Why do we make games?

A roleplay is not a collision of situations and characters in which you can observe yourself and associate your life with the narrative, it is living the Life in a moment, from within the experience. Decisions are typically made in controversial ethical situations replicating the life choices.
Rebellium
At the very end of the project, the role-playing game "Rebellium" was born. The game emerged as a culmination and a natural conclusion from a long reflection on the topics of Freedom, Choice, Force of the Word and Community." All these topics had been explored by We Here during the two-year journey.


The game turned out to be strong and share. Players had to make decisions not only for themselves, their group, but for all of the humanity. In the fall of 2019, we held two games and plan to hold at least three more games in 2020.


In order to imagine the gameplay, we suggest you read the plot and try on these circumstances. What would you do in such conditions?
In 2023, a world-wide event took place - the first contact with extraterrestrial civilization.

Horrified by how we live, the aliens offered to share their technologies to improve humans' lives – with a condition provided that there is someone who will take responsibility for the fact that all the transferred technologies will serve only for the benefit of the mankind. And so it happened.

The powerful corporation "Alba" has concluded a contract with aliens to use their technology for the benefit of all earthlings.

For three years, life on Earth has changed beyond recognition!

Starvation, war, crime, terrorism, xenophobia – all this and much more ceased to be part of our reality and moved to the section of human history.

The era of prosperity has come on earth.

But at what cost ......?
"Smart machines" or simply "MINDS" (UM), as people called bioelectronic mechanisms that monitor everything that happens on Earth. No more people can take a step without the smart machines assessing the level of danger of all actions, of all people, on the whole Earth ...

If some action is considered by MINDS as dangerous, it is immediately gently nipped: a person freezes for a while in motionlessness or falls asleep, and MINDS rushes to the scene to eliminate the consequences.

When it all began, this state of affairs did not suit everyone, but the cries of protests drowned in the general noise of glee. And those who protested were immediately accused of activities against the World and Humanity. As the program started, any resistance became meaningless. All communication channels were monitored, and MINDS acted instantly and flawlessly.

Therefore, only a miserable handful remained of those who disagreed. And until the last day they were scattered. Until an unknown genius invented a cryptographic code that even MINDS could not decipher.Having contacted each other, the most desperate scheduled the first meeting of the rebels ... You are among these brave humans.
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A game opens an opportunity to gain an important experience – to see what choice in a particular situation one would make. Or to be in the role that the player is different from one's routines. The player sees others too: experiencing an internal conflict, going towards each other, ready to trust or lie, doubting at the time of a difficult choice.
Solovki 2040
A model communicative game for designing a strategy for the complex development of the Solovetsky archipelago. It was held as part of a summer school in the Solovetsky Islands in August 2019 for students and professors of NArFU.
The main criteria characterizing both the game and the strategies that were developed in its process was compliance of the proposed changes with local living conditions of this remote island. This criteria also determined the atmosphere of game locations. So, players could obtain resources by sorting out White Sea algae or building towers from Solovetsky stones. It is the originality of the projects that was evaluated by experts, keepers of local meanings. The ideas, different in content and scope, reflected the mosaic and diversity of opportunities and communities working in Solovki. An additional difficulty was to balance the multidirectional strategies in the conditions of island life, which required the introduction of a measurement of human co-responsibility into the game space. This feeling has become unifying for masters and players, as the participants noted during the reflection.
The game process implied the passage of all the game locations by the teams and it was divided into tacts that represented five-year periods. The teams created projects that should be reassured by experts - specialists in Solovki development, such as local residents and researchers.

In the evaluation of the projects two indicators were taken into account:

- the identity of the project, its correlation with the local current, historical, natural and cultural context;

- the impact of the project to the dynamics of sustainable development of the archipelago, reflected on the stabilometer.
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We Here is a cultural movement on the freedom of being oneself, supporting each other's uniqueness and building the shared responsibility for the world we live in.