Uganda Village Board Game Convention 2018

by Ben Parkinson in Gulu

We did it
On 2nd May 2018 we successfully raised £4,040 with 185 supporters in 56 days

Uganda's Second Village Boardgame Convention teaches children from remote villages how to play the latest international and local boardgames

by Ben Parkinson in Gulu

 New stretch target


All of the participants have said they would like to go for an extra day, so our last appeal is for some money to cover food and extra expenses for a fourth day - about £600.

Can we make this final push?


Our young team have met up today and we have discussed how we might enhance the camp further, with a focus on making it more fun for its participants.

Mangoes become ripe about the time of the camp, so we want to be running some activities, to enable children to go search for and consume what is likely heir favourite fruit - mangoes!  We'll also cook them as part of the evening meals.  We'll make a game of collecting and cooking mangoes!

Our LARP activity is very basic at the moment and we would like to make monster masks, weapons and shields ahead of the camp and also make some additional props on site, such as tree houses, which will require purchase of wood and perhaps some binding rope.  We are still to finalise the LARP story, so there may be some additional items that need purchase.  Some examples right here:

- wood and foam for 40 swords

- water balloons

The LARP story will be published here shortly...

We'd like to make a clay oven on site - there's no gas or electricity - so that we can bake.  We'd also like to make our own soap and moisturising cream for the children at the camp and show them how they can make it themselves during the event.

We'd like to include a campfire on the last night to include everyone and add sports in the early morning and evenings before it is dark.

With some additional contingency we believe that £3,400, should be enough to cover these additional items.

Two weeks to go - can we make it?


We have discussed what we could achieve if we raised more money again and the key benefits would be for us to improve the residential facilities and increase the numbers of tables and chairs for visitors to the convention.  Buying lots for a one off event does not make sense, so we are going to buy tables and chairs that can be used in the nursery that we have on site during term time and improve the sleeping failities, so that they are more secure and help prevent mosquitoes.

Tables will be purchased at 60,000 for two (£6 each), but we will acquire 40 tables - £180

We will also need 20 benches at £6 each - £120 - to handle additional paricipants and these will also help the nursery children after the event has taken place.

One of the existing rooms will be closed off with a door, to make a sealed room, that we can use at the Convention for the game design workshops and championship games.  This will later be turned into an additional classroom for the nursery after the event. Estimate £100.

Lastly, we will add a door and windows, to improve security in he main dormitory building.  Estimate £350 for this.  After the Convention, the work will contribute towards the cost of the secondary school that we plan to open in 2019.

We said that if we reached our target, we would start to extend the Convention to other more remote areas, where we are already working or nearby districts.


This weekend we have been training up Jane and Joseph, two young adults, who are going to be starting up clubs in Agago, Pader, Amuru and Nwoya districts.  Joseph is handling Agago and Pader and Jane Amuru and Nwoya.  

So, the second stretch target is to cover the costs of Jane's two new clubs to travel to the convention in Koro and be supported while they are there, with food and accommodation.

More information on Jane and Joseph in an update coming soon.


Last December, we visited Agago, which is near the Karamoja border and Pader with the Gamechangers Road Trip.  We met many children there, many of them friends of our young trainees, as they also come from this area of Uganda, and their response to the games was very positive.

So, our priority group will be the Pader and Agago boardgame groups.  If we can find a further £500, then we can transport and feed this group on our home site.  Agago (Kalongo town) is around 100 miles away across very poor roads, so it is a very remote place.

Please help us reach this target, so we can enhance the event with more enthusiastic young boardgamers.

In May of this year, we hope to host the second Village Boardgame Convention in Uganda, following on from last year's amazing event.  At our remote rural centre in Koro, near Gulu in Northern Uganda, we have a children's activity centre, where we plan to bring children and youth from multiple districts of Uganda with your help.

This event is part of an initiative by UK charity CYEN, which trains teenagers from remote villages to be social entrepreneurs, young people who can catalyse change in the most disadvantaged parts of society.  We believe that boardgames can effect change in these young people by teaching them skills, which they would otherwise find difficult to learn.  For instance:

a) Games can teach young people about the outside world in fun ways, which will stimulate their interest and ambition

b) Winning games can build confidence, when often schools have few mechanisms to boost the confidence of their pupils

c) Most games have a planning or memory element, which can help their players think in different ways, when often children might live day to day for their survival 

d) Many games are creative and help inspire problem-solving, which is key in seeing change occur in these remote places

e) We hope to inspire new game designers from communities, who can then earn money that can help enhance local school or health provision.

f) Co-operative games can inspire teamwork and partnership, a factor often needed in impoverished areas.

The initiative is called Gamechangers and was launched in August last year with a Crowdfunder and support from Hub Games, the makers of Rory's Story Cubes and other creative games.

CYEN also believes in running youth-led events and last year we founded the Uganda Boardgame Pioneers, a group of talented young Ugandan teenagers aged 13-16, who have developed experience in board and roleplaying games.  It is this group that will steer the teaching of the new games, together with our Gulu and Kampala staff team and the latest group of 13 young people we call the Cohort 4 Butterflies, a group of teenagers from Pader and Agago District in Northern Uganda.

Their programme will include the following elements:

1. WORLD FIRST - Molerats in Space Tournament, supported through Matt Leacock and Peacable Kingdom.   Matt Leacock, the designer of Pandemic, has developed some rules for one of his other games Molerats in Space, which he designed specially for Ugandan rural children to learn to work together to reach objectives.  In this game we will be asking different districts in Northern Uganda to put together a team, which will be timed in sending their molerats into space, just like in the Pandemic Survival tournaments.   Check Matt Leacock's blog soon for more information on this event.

2. Boardgame Tryouts - we will have a hundred or more games that we can teach during the event, from the simplest "Hungry Caterpillar" game to modern classics like Terraforming Mars and Legends of Andor.

3. Dragon and Flagon Tournament.  This is a fantasy bar room brawl game, where you gain points (reputation) for connecting with one of the other seven opponents.  It's fast and furious and the winner will advance to the next round.

4. Dungeon and Wilderness Tournament.  We will teach the basics of roleplaying and see how far each team can progress down the adventure.

5. LARP (Live Action Roleplaying).  We will be making some foam weapons and implementing an imaginary battle, with face paint!

6. Omweso Championship.  Omweso is Uganda's national game and many children are taught how to play when they grow up.  Last year's tournament was hotly contested and we expect this year's to be even more so.

We hope to also include Art Arena games, a kind of teamwork art game, which we piloted in August last year and produced fascinating results.

Lastly, we will end with an overnight session and evening film and barbecue, for those who paricipated in the event.

We need a minimum of £1000 to put the event on, but hope we can raise more than this, so youth from other areas of Northern Uganda can be be invited.  For each further £500 raised we will be able to extend into a new district and youth organisation in Northern Uganda.  

We also plan to finish building our secondary school this year, so any surplus money can also go into this project.  This school will give access to a range of boardgames to its students, when it opens next year.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£5 or more

Boardgame treasure hunt

Your name will go on a boardgame treasure hunt card, which will be spread across the Convention site. The children who win the most cards will win books for their schooling and we'll do a special photo of them with the cards and put it on he Gamechangers web-site

£20 or more

Listing on the Convention Programme

Your name will be listed in the Convention Programme for all to see. A PDF of the programme will be up on-line on the Gamechangers web-site

£50 or more

Signed Molerats in Space Presentation Photograph

We will send you a photograph of the Molerats in Space Presentation, signed by the Uganda Boardgame Pioneers

£100 or more

Video credit

We'll list your name in he video credits for the event video made and send you an email to the link

£250 or more

1 of 10 claimed

Prize named after you

When we are awarding the prizes for the tournaments, one of the prizes will be named after you or your company

Got an idea like this?

Over £200 million has been raised from our crowd to support the projects they love! Plus tens of millions more unlocked by our partners.