Chrysalis Youth Empowerment Network

Gamechangers Uganda

Gamechangers is a new project from Chrysalis born from its recent Village Boardgames Convention, made possible through the support of these founders.  Children from villages have been clamouring to play the games and, of course, there is no place for them to play or even buy boardgames, were they able to afford them.  However, we see a future time when boardgames will be more readily available in Uganda and believe that there is much change that can take place through giving access to a range of boardgames.

Firstly, the lives of children growing up in villages follow a set of rules and this project aims to facilitate the changing of at least some of these rules, by creating changemakers.  Using games, young people can gain personal development skills, which can help them find solutions to problems in the communities.

Our aim with this project is to create a regular games event every Saturday afternoon at our rural centre near Gulu, where we encourage bright youth to come and launch the Gamechangers with four days training and teaching of new games this August.  Boardgames take while for children in this area to become familiar, but once they do, then they will play on their own and usually are very good at looking after components.

Gamechangers will also incorporate other key skills and talent development, using gamification, as style of teaching, which changes learning into a game and this has proved very successful throughout the world.  We plan to turn planting into a ball game, dancing into hopscotch.

In May 2018, we are launching our second Uganda Village Boardgame Convention – we are all looking forward to this amazing event, which will include boardgames, LARP, RPG, drama and game design sessions.



Gamechangers needs people and this year we have launched The Boardgame Pioneers Uganda, a group of young people, who love to play boardgames and they want other young people in Uganda to learn about them too.  They’re also intent in encouraging boardgame companies who think young Ugandans can’t handle the most difficult boardgames that they can play even the most complex games, though they want more accessible games for young people too!

This year they planned and implemented a unique event – a Boardgames Convention in remote Koro, a village area in Northern Uganda – where these games, like RoboRally, Cosmic Encounter, Alhambra, Codenames and many others – had never been seen before.  It was an immeasurable success, both for the young people who organised it and the children and youth who participated in it.  You can see the video about it here

Taught by staff at Chrysalis how to play the boardgames they know, they realise the value in teaching them resource management, planning, maths, social, creative and problem-solving skills and they decided to set up a podcast, where they could put together some of their ideas on boardgames from their own unique perspective.  You can view their first effort here.

Our girls group also enjoy boardgames, with a particular favourite for Codenames and also Forbidden Isand.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Boardgame Designer Matt Leacock, BoardgameMonster and InfoPerfected for supporting us by sending boardgames to Uganda, where it is impossible to buy modern boardgames.


 We had around 50 visitors this year and played around 25 different games.  Much to aim for next year!
 SOM Chess Academy (Queen of Katwe Chess Club) joined us at the Games Day, as we visited the Queen of Katwe Chess Club earlier in the year and taught some of their chess players how to play other board games.
In December 2017, the team went out into their communities and taught children in very remote villages how to play boardgames.  We travelled to Pader and Agago District in Uganda  Here are some of the photos that were taken at the event:

Blooming Gardens Card Game – a favourite in the rural areas

The Da Vinci Code Game – an unexpected “easy to learn, hard to win” tile guessing game

Bang the Dice Game – a firm favourite with Ugandan kids

Oddville – also an unexpected favourite. This is a small but quite tricky game about managing resources to gain the highest points.