Dana Gold is Chief Operating Officer of Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh, where she supports the work of professionals resettling refugees, helping detained immigrant children, feeding the hungry, finding people jobs, caregivers and guardians and encouraging people facing every manner of life’s challenges. Dana is a member of the 10.27 Healing Partnership Steering Committee which is organizing the response to the Tree of Life synagogue attack. In this quick Q&A, she tells us about a board game she's created called "Broke."
Poverty can be fought by people with the passion and will to make change.
— Dana Gold
Broke is a highly engaging, empathy-creating game that is easily adaptable from home play to multiple learning environments – from boardrooms to classrooms. Broke pits players against poverty with a deck that is literally stacked against them. Broke provides an eye-opening exercise for educators, social workers, police officers, mentors, volunteers, youth group leaders – you name it!
What motivated you to create Broke, the game?
Dana Gold: After growing up poor and working for decades in shelters and halfway houses, I created a board game to help people of good will understand how families get ensnared in poverty and how difficult the struggle is to overcome structured inequity.
The first version of the game was a sheet of paper and movers I swiped from my kid’s Chutes and Ladders game. The finished board game, now called Broke, creates empathy for people who are poor by giving players the opportunity to experience the stress and frustration of making high stakes decisions with competing priorities and not enough income.
Poverty can be fought by people with the passion and will to make change. Playing Broke not only informs but, I hope, creates the will to make system change a reality.
What happens in the game?
The game induces the stress and pressure experienced in the extraordinarily difficult process of attempting to overcome poverty in the United States. Broke gets players thinking and pushing the boundaries of their preconceived ideas about poverty in the U.S.
How long does it take to play?
Broke, the app, is designed to be played solo. Playing as one of the characters (single parent, homeless, undocumented, etc) takes just about 15 minutes to play.
Broke, the board game, is designed to be played in groups of 4-6 players. Each game, along with the debrief discussion questions, can be played in 45 to 60 minutes.
What are you hoping people learn from playing?
Broke gives players the opportunity to navigate life as either a farmer, single parent, senior citizen, or someone without citizenship documents or living in a homeless shelter. Players develop empathy by experiencing the stress and frustration of making high stakes decisions with competing priorities and not enough income.
I hope everyone who plays Broke has their perspective enlarged about the system of poverty in the United States and the individuals who struggle valiantly to live within it on a daily basis. Teachers who have played Broke have expressed a renewed sense of compassion, curiosity, and understanding toward their students and their families. Systems within schools have been re-examined and overhauled because of Broke gameplay and the insights it brought to teachers and administrators.
Thank you for sharing this game with us, Dana.
Thanks again for spreading the word about Broke and helping to "change the world one GAME at a time"!!