Game Play

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In Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives, players must collaborate to found and run a democratic business. In order to survive as individuals and to strive for the success of their co-op, players make tough choices regarding big and small challenges while putting their teamwork abilities to the test. Go here to buy the game!

This is an exciting game of skill and solidarity, where everyone wins – or everybody loses. Will the Point Bank continue to dominate the players’ lives, or will they break free and take control by jump-starting the movement for a truly democratic and cooperative economy in their community?

By playing Co-opoly, players discover the unique benefits, challenges, and operations of the cooperative world – as well as the skills needed to participate in a co-op!

Co-opoly is for ages teens and adults.

Below is a detailed write up of Co-opoly’s game-play.

Cooperatives are democratically owned businesses and organizations. There are many types of co-ops with different types of owners (called members): consumer co-ops, worker, producer, etc. For example, a “worker co-op” is a cooperative that is owned and managed only by the workers. Co-ops strive to make the economy, communities, and lives of their members more just and cooperative.

In Co-opoly, you and your teammates found your own cooperative. You must survive as individuals and as a group in the face of big and small challenges. As with all co-ops, the players must discuss issues and then democratically make decisions on challenges that will ultimately lead to your co-op’s survival or failure.

Just like in the real world, in Co-opoly, the cards might be stacked in your favor or against you – making it easier or harder. That means each time you play Co-opoly, it will be a different experience.

In Co-opoly, everyone wins or loses together. Your goal is to start a successful co-op, to survive as individuals, and to develop the “cooperative economy” in your community.

Therefore, you win Co-opoly by starting a second cooperative in your community.

To start the game, players determine what their cooperative is going to be and what it will do. This adds a very fun story element to the game, which Co-opoly’s game cards draw out and help players build on.
Each player randomly draws a “Character Card.” Therefore, every person plays as a different “character” that has different income needs (a “Cost of Living”) and a different amount of starting points. In addition, every Character has a different background story. In this way, every player has a different set of needs and interests that they must address throughout the game.
All members of the co-op move across the board with the SAME piece. Players take turns rolling the die, moving the token, and picking up cards.
There are four types of cards players will draw throughout the game if they land on their spaces:

  • World Cards can positively or negatively affect players or the co-op. World card topics range from sickness to new business, damage to the co-op, having a child, and more. These cards force players to balance the well-being of both the individuals and the co-op. Some of these will ask players to make democratic decisions about how they will address a situation.
  • Resource Cards are resources your co-op can choose to purchase, such as “new equipment” or “healthcare.” These can be risky purchases, however, and some will pay off while others might end up being a major burden. Therefore, players have to be strategic about what they get. Some resources might benefit some players but not others, so everyone must work together to determine what’s best for individuals and the co-op. For example, an Insurance card costs a lot of money – but will protect players from having to pay major fees, and this might especially be needed by players with a high Cost of Living.
  • Challenge Cards present either major hurdles or big opportunities for your co-op that players have to decide how to act on. This might be a major storm that has damaged the co-op, a crashing economy, a rival corporate chain that has moved into the co-op’s community, and more. On the other hand, opportunities include major options to expand the co-op’s business – which is always a gigantic risk and could sink the co-op if not done properly. These cards can drastically change the dynamic of the game.
  • Work Cards are the main way co-ops earn points in the game. Depending on the card the team picks up, players will play a mini-game of “charades,” “unspoken,” or “drawings.” If they are completed successfully, the co-op earns points. If they are failed, the co-op loses points. In addition, some World, Resource, or Challenge cards will significantly increase the tension on these Work cards by making them incredibly valuable – or life threatening for the co-op if they are failed consistently. These cards are a lot of fun but also require skill and teamwork.
Points are the currency of Co-opoly. When players pay fees, they go into the Point Bank. When the co-op spends, makes, or loses points, they come out of or go into the Point Bank.
The cooperative’s points belong equally to all of the co-op members, so everyone has to agree on how they are used.
When moving around the board, the co-op must land on these spaces. On Pay Day spaces, the co-op pays players their “salary.” This is the main way players earn points. At the start of the game, all players begin with a salary of 12 points – but this can be changed throughout the game.
On End of the Year spaces, players must pay their Cost of Living. Throughout the game, all players’ Cost of Living increases – so the co-op will need to be performing well to allow players to survive.
If either the players’ cooperative or one player goes bankrupt (meaning they lose more points than they have), everyone loses and the game ends.
Players win by helping to start a second cooperative in their community. Some of the “Challenge” Cards in Co-opoly allow players to try to start this second co-op. None of the “Starting a New Co-op” cards are the same. Some are very expensive but are low risk, while others are cheap but very risky.
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