Uganda Village Boardgame Convention & Science Camp

by Chrysalis Youth Empowerment Network in Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom

Total raised £1,660

Gift Aid
+ est. £130.00
£3,900 target 33 days left
42% 26 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 16th August 2024 at 10:57am

In 2024 we will be focusing on science and international citizenship for the rural children, broadening horizons through boardgaming.

Project by Chrysalis Youth Empowerment Network

This is a youth-organised project, with a team aged from 11-20, who will firstly learn hundreds of boardgames between them, then be ready to teach them to others.  This year we are targeting to have 400 children at the Convention with a team of 80 youth and teachers available to teach the games.

In 2023, we under-estimated the needs of the 400 children and were running out of water in the evenings.  We also lacked sufficient bathroom facilities for so many participants, so we plan this year to build some additional bathroom areas - don't worry the cost will not be too much - which will also help the school.  We will also need some more tables this year, since some of last years' furniture have become ruined.

Our students have had a whole year to develop their knowedge of boardgames and during this term, they are expanding the games they know on the Friday night boardgame sessions.

This is our sixth event and each year has been more impactful than the previous one and this year we are homing in on the power of boardgames to teach particular skills, such as teamwork, mental arithmetic, word skills, planning and strategy, social and persuasion skills and more.  We will be dividing the games into the following categories:

Word Games

For the first time this year we are going to be featuring word games, most specifically Scrabble, since it is a well known game in Uganda and we're going to have a tournament.  We will be adding other games like Codenames, Lexicon and Letter Jam to the mix.


Clearly word games help develop spelling and vocabulary and this will help encourage more reading at the school, where we have an extensive reading library of teen fiction, many by African authors.

Maths and Science Games

Chrysalis would like to see Uganda lead the way in science and technology as we can see the incredible ability of some of its youth in this area.  We support our Maths teaching at the school utilising the software from and attendees will also have a chance to trial this learning web-site.

Chrysalis students and teachers are huge fan of games like Power Grid, which relies so much on finance planning and we have added a whole lot more games this year to encourage the participants to improve on their mental arithmetic.  This year we are also adding Acquire and Robo Rally to the games for the Convention.1718699420_1718699420077.jpeg

We have also add some games like Earth and Search for Forgotten Species into our science game library, which already includes Terraforming Mars, CO2, Cascadia, Photosynthesis and others.


Co-operative Games

The key to success for the training we do at Chrysalis is teamwork and developing trust in the skills of others.  We believe that co-operative games can underpin this training, by demonstrating what can be achieved when working together.  A good example of this was the game Daybreak, which we were amongst the first to play at our Convention last year in 2023.


This is a brilliant game to help our students to understand the means to mitigate global warming.  Omoro (where the COnvention takes place) is constantly under the threat of famine, as climate change has caused reduction in the amount of rainfall in Northern Uganda and this has meant that many families have decided that they can no longer afford to send their children to secondary school.

We have a number of other co-op games - Robin Hood, Pandemic, The Forbidden series, the Grizzled, The Mind, Ghost Stories, Gloomhaven Jaws of the Lion, Robinson Crusoe, Solar Storm and others.


Solar Storm in 2023 Convention

Social and Party Games

Many of the children coming to the Convention have never played a boardgame before and have thus never experienced the excitement of playing a game which uses their intellectual capacity to beat others.  This can be extraordinarily powerful, as many children in Uganda perform badly at school simply because they do not attend for enough of the term (due to non-payment of school fees) and thus they have not learnt as much as the other children.  These games level the playing field and can develop confidence and self esteem, as they beat others that traditionally might beat them in class.


Last year we found Cluedo to be very popular, but the social aspect of an 8-player Dragon and Flagon game is always very rewarding and confidence-building for the winner, in a different way.


This year we are adding some more party games, such as Scruples, Apples to Apples, Werewolf and Avalon.

Simple and Abstract Games

The most popular part of the Convention last year was the simple and abstract games, as we had a larger number of younger children than usual.  So this year we have decided to boost the number of simpler pre-Gateway games, including their favourites like Ludo, which is massively popular for children and adults in Uganda and Snakes and Ladders.

Last year we played a variety of simpler games


Botswana (with their own specially made animals)


Looks like a Bingo-type game


We have a large library of jigsaws

Euro/Strategy Games

Euros give children a chance to explore their ability in thinking ahead, optimising resources and using social skills to win.  The children have liked games like Nusfjord, FIelds of Green and Agricola, where the themes are more familiar, but this time we are going to be bringing Grand Austria Hotel, Hansa Teutonica and Guildmaster to add to our collections.


Great Western Trail barely fitting on the table!


Nusfjord - seems we need more tables!

Games to introduce cultures in other countries

Our world is struggling to learn to live together in harmony and learning about other cultures can help promote peace and even mitigate the negative effects of tribalism and inter-clan violence in Uganda.  Geography is a key subject in our school and we show a lot of films, highlighting different cultures throughout the world.  We will be showing a variety of films during the evenings of the Convention, but example games we will play during the day might be as follows:


Fresco was a very popular game which encouraged the studying of art and made the players aware of the history of painting in Italy


Ocean Pods introduced the idea of marine life preservation


Goa introduces colonialism and spice trading

SciFi and Complex Games

Only for the few, we tend to stage demonstration games of the large SciFi games, like Twilight Imperium.  However, quite often we have discovered teenagers in the community that really want to be boardgamers and will try everything placed in front of them, however difficult.  Obviously not all SciFi games are hard to play and we have a few games like Skorpios Trader and Intrepid that we are bringing this year.

On the complex side we have Netrunner, Android, Eclipse and others, if people want to play them.


A game of Twilight Imperium III

Roleplaying games, hopefully with a diorama, built by the kids

We will also be giving our students a chance to design and play their own games during the Convention.  We'll be providing materials so that they can make their own boards etc. and there will be a prize for the best game  brought to or designed during the Convention.

Thanks to Battlesystems, we are planning to set up a fantasy diorama, similar to the one from their web-site below and set up a battle using some Pathfinder pawns we have.  Likely it will be goblins setting fire to the village or something similar.  Maybe our kids can build a more African setting, but this one looks great!


There will also be some extra events:

Science Experiments

Throughout the Convention, we will be performing interactive science experiments that the participants can do while at the event.  The objective is for children to realise that they can handle science, when so many are under-performing in this area nationally and Chrysalis aims to be the leading school in science in Uganda.

Last year a team of our teachers and A level students handled the science experiments and we had a variety of explosions, colour changes and exothermic reactions for the kids to observe:


Preparing for the experiments


Bubbling before an explosion!


Later on we taught the children how to make organic fertiliser

Live Action Roleplaying

This year, we will invite the senior boardgamers to devise a fun LARP for most of the Convention members to participate in.  We will make swords and shields out of foam rubber, so many can cosplay and develop their imagination.

Learning Whist and Bridge

We had a great time recently playing duplicate whist and the students at the school have been demanding more of it.  We have now acquired the proper equipment for duplicate and enough packs of cards for 64 players and we will have a learning day and then a tournament day, where pairs can compete in a championship.  Afterwards, we'll run some Bridge workshops for the older children and also talk about some strategies like cross-ruffing, endplay and finessing.

Chess, Draughts and Othello

A number of our teachers are interested in chess and becoming proficient, so we will be teaching and playing chess throughout the Convention.  Draughts is also very popular and can be played using bottle tops.  We'll also be introducing Othello this year, as the kids can take bottle tops home and play.


A chess-teaching session in 2023

Indigenous games

Every year we have a major omweso tournament, where children can win their own omweso sets to take home.  This is a game which most of the children know and they can play by digging pits in the ground and finding red beans or stones to play with.


Last year we had more than 150 entrants for the omweso competition, giving out two sets as prizes.  Once again our youth planned and organised the tournament.


New boardgames - £350

Sometimes games need to be replaced or the kids have specific games on-line which they would like to try.

Boardgame shipping (new and donated games) - £300

We use a specialist shipping agent for sending from the UK to Uganda, which is very reasonably priced.  If any would like to donate games for us, then we can still take them.  Contact me on [email protected] for more details. 

Food budget for the Convention - £1500

All of the participants require food for the entirety of the Convention and, of course, we do not charge for entry, as we are based in an area of high poverty.  If we do not reach our target, then we will have to reduce the planned numbers of children appropriately, but we are aiming for 400 children, who will sleep in the school dormitories and some in classrooms.

Mosquito nets - £800

To protect the children while they sleep, it is important that we acquire mosquito nets and after the Convention we can hold these as stock for our students at the school and also for other events we might host during the year.

Collecting children and returning them home - £400

This is just a fuel cost for our minibus, as most of the children come from local areas.  If need be it might cover some repair costs, as local roads can be very challenging.

Prizes and resources - £150

This includes the costs of small prizes for the tournaments, but also a banner, materials like cardboard for notices and that for the science experiments.

Additional Bedding - £200

This includes additional mats and the means to put up the mosquito nets.

Medication and Emergency - £200

We will need medication for malaria and a provision for transport to hospital or local clinics

TOTAL: £3900 without stretch goal

Last year we struggled to have enough water on site for bathing and this meant water shortages.  To alleviate this we need to build an additional water tower on the site, ideally two.

Also, our bathing areas have become too small for the number of people on-site, so we need to build an additional one for girls and also one for boys.  This will also help us provide better facilities at the school during term-time.  

2 x bathing areas - £500

Water towers - £600 x 2 = £1200

We clearly need more tables and chairs this year, since last year we ended up using school desks.  For the duplicate whist we need small square tables, which need to be ordered ahead of time:

20 x square tables - £600

50 x chairs - £400 

Total Furniture and construction - £2700

PA System - £400

This will give us announcements throughout the Convention and support the development of the school, as we need this system on an ongoing basis



This will be the sixth year of operation and we now know how to put on an effective Convention, which can broaden the horizons of rural-based children and also provide something for them to look forward to each year, which is important to develop their aspirations.

We have excellent connections with the local authorities here and the equivalent of the District Mayor visited us recently to come to understand the versatility of boardgames and what teaching they can offer.  It may be possible for him to visit and inspire the children that attend.


District Chairman (Mayor) observing "Tribes" being played at the school

We will be giving access to computers at the Convention, giving many of the children a first taste of using a computer and a mouse.  In other local secondary schools, there are either no computers or no teachers available to teach them.  Chrysalis also has excellent internet connection, so we can be able to play MMO games too.

Each night we will be showing an inspirational film, which will provide the participants with new information about the outside world and the lives that children have there.  Some will be African, others will be from other continents.

If we reach our target, we can even include some international food, to whet the appetite of the children that attend.  For some this can be the highlight of their stay at Chrysalis and we have seen many children turn into chefs, when they realise how much exciting food there is to eat.


The Convention has become an extension of the Chrysalis vision that "all children can reach their potential, wherever they live in Uganda" and the Chrysalis School espouses this vision through the activities we do regularly on Saturdays.

Inspiring to work on Space Tech

Chrysalis has worked closely with NASA staff recently, in order to broaden the horizons of its students.  In the most recent talk they gave through Zoom, the discussion was aboutcolonising the moon!

Inspiring to work in TV Special Effects

We were privileged to have a session with Emmy Award Winner Adam Howard, who became interested in the work we are doing on Star Trek at the school.  He presented the work of his career and encouraged students to develop an interest in special effects.

Inspiring to be Engineers

Our young people love making models and costumes and recently their work went viral on Star Trek Channels.


Inspiring to be Musicians

Chrysalis is one of very few schools that teaches music and our aim is to identify and enable the most talented musicians in our area to have a music career.


Identifying talented musicians at local music events

Inspiring to be athletes


Chrysalis supports world class age group athletes, with many nearing world best times for their age (9-17).  We have a track on our site, to help support their development and employ the best coaches.


If you are interested to sponsor a student at the Chrysalis School, it costs £50/month with £95 for the first month (for uniform.) Primary student options are available from £25/month for young athletes.  For more information, please go to our web-site 


Matt Leacock has offered an amazing Mystery Prize Box, including a unique copy of his latest game, Daybreak, with the rules signed by Matt Himself and co-designer Matteo MenaPace.  Daybreak has been nominated for the Kennerspiel of the year and is a "must have" game for those who want to learn about the ways to mitigate global warming, as well as co-operate to beat the game in a huge number of fun and exciting ways.  It is one of the most favourite games for the kids at the Chrysalis Secondary School, who are some of the victims of global warming, as they are threatened with famine and starvation every year due to unreliable rainfall.  Matt has promised a whole variety of items to add to this game to make up a mystery box and we will be revealing items in this box, as the fundraiser progresses.  To participate in the prize draw, you can buy a ticket for £10, or five tickets for £50 and all the money will go to our Convention fundraiser. Please note that you will have to list your address in order to win the prize draw, as we will need to know to where it needs to be shipped. 



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

£50 or more

£50 Five tickets for Matt Leacock's Prize Draw

You will be awarded 5 tickets to go into Matt Leacock's Prize Draw for a Mystery box, including a unique copy of his latest game, Daybreak, signed by Matt himself and his co-designer Matteo Menapace

£10 or more

£10 One ticket into Matt Leacock's Prize Draw

You will be awarded one ticket into a prize draw to win Matt Leacock's Mystery Box, including a copy of his latest game Daybreak, signed by Matt himself and his co-designer Matteo Menapace

£80 or more

1 of 5 claimed

£80 Reward - 10 Convention Chairs

We will buy ten Convention Chairs for each donation. Each will be incribed with "Donated by [Your Name]" to remind us of your generosity.

£150 or more

0 of 4 claimed

£150 Reward - 5 Convention Tables

We will buy 5 square gaming tables for each person donating £150. They will be inscribed "Donated by [Your name]" so we remember your generosity in futre years.

£250 or more

0 of 2 claimed

£250 Reward - Bathrooms

We will build one bathroom for boys/girls to handle the extra numbers at the school during the Convention. We will add a notice onto the finished bathroom, which states "Donated by [Your name]" so we can remember your generosity in years to come.

£600 or more

0 of 2 claimed

£600 Reward - Water Tower

We will buy and install a water tower, which will ensure that we have sufficient water during the Convention, when numbers on site will be very high. Your name will be put onto a plate on the site, so we can remember your generosity.

£400 or more

1 of 1 claimed

£400 Reward - Public Address System

We will buy a PA system for the school, which can be used for functions and events, as well as throughout the Convention. A notice will be put up in our Hall stating "Donated by [Your name]" so you will be remembered for your generosity in years to come.

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