I was thinking the other day about creating a board game for middle school and high school students called "The Game of Life on a Diet". Yeah - weird I know - but those are the kinds of things I think about.
You start out with your player, riding a bike (because kids can't drive). At the fork where you are supposed to choose between going to college or getting a job, the player can choose, "Go on First Diet" or "Live Free".
If they choose "Go on First Diet", they get a "Diet Culture Lifetime Member" card. For "Live Free" they get a card worth 20 extra years of their life that they won't have wasted dieting.
On the diet path, they will run across spaces on the board that say things like: "Start Bingeing Because You are Starving, Lose a Turn" or "Lose Your Period, Lose a Turn", or "Deprive Brain of Essential Nutrients and get Depressed, Lose a Turn."
There will also be classic spaces like: "Gain back 5 pounds, Go back 2 spaces", or "Internalize Oppressive Messages and start hating your body, Go back 5 spaces." Or how about "Have no energy from lack of food, fall off your bike, break an arm, Lose 2 turns."
On the Live Free path there will be: "Eat out at great restaurant with friends, advance two spaces", or "Have some birthday cake for your Grandmother's 80th party, spin again". Or "Get all A's on your report card because your brain has nutrients and energy, advance 5 spaces."
Live Free will also have: "Your mental health is rocking, advance 2 spaces", or "Positively model acceptance of all bodies for your friends, advance 5 spaces." And of course, "Gain weight during puberty, celebrate being able to create a life, spin again and collect $100,000."
On the diet path there is a special Weight Watchers card that comes up during play, you will get rewarded by getting a "Lose 10, Gain Back 20" bonus card. You will also lose 5 turns since you will be busy counting points and going to meetings for awhile.
On the Live Free path, there will be options to take an art class, sing in the choir, play sports, get your Masters degree, plant a garden, volunteer, or learn how to weave baskets because you will have so much time on your hands when you are not dieting.
On the diet path you will land on spaces where you gain more weight than you lose and move your set point weight up, lose a turn. You can also land on the bariatric surgery space and spin the spinner. If you get 1-5, you survive and if you get 6 or above, game over.
On the diet path you can also choose to eat clean or follow a healthy lifestyle but you won't advance because it's all the same thing.
During every turn, you can choose to switch to the Live Free path if you are on the diet path. This option is rarely exercised since you have to give up your "Diet Culture Lifetime Member" card and most people don't realize that this card is worthless. The joke is on them though, because you will lose points if you still have this card at the end of the game.
No one on the Live Free path ever chooses to switch to the diet path once they have been on the Live Free path for a few turns.
On the diet path, every other space will say "Go back to Start".
You win the game when you reach the finish and you have your self worth intact. (Spoiler alert - no one who chooses the dieting path ever wins the game.)
What do you think? Will Milton Bradley want to help me with my project?
What things have you given up during "The Game of Life on a Diet"?
Are you ready to switch to the Live Free path?