Potlatch, the game

is a strategic, educational card game based on indigenous philosophies. It is designed to meet K-12 educational standards for teaching about native history, economics, culture, and government. Potlatch, the game,  was developed as a community effort with local elders and language experts. The game is written in both English and Lushootseed, the indigenous language of the Pacific Northwest. Game mechanics are based on sharing resources to meet other players’ needs for food, materials, technology, and knowledge.

Potlatch, the word

comes from Nuu-chah-nulth via the commerce language knows as Chinook Jargon.

Potlatch, the event

is a ceremonial distribution and re-distribution of resources, property, food, knowledge, and wealth to affirm social status via the historic economic systems of subsistence, prestige, and sharing. Individuals, families, or communities host potlatches and planning takes a year or more. Potlatching is practiced by indigenous peoples of the Pacific NW coast of the U.S. and Canada. Historically it supported a large socio-economic system to maintain a high level of food production and to equalize food accessibility. Skagit elder and historian, Vi Hilbert, wrote “Public acts of distributing valuables to guests were the ultimate confirmation of a host’s achievements and personal high-status in their family and community.”

What players have said about Potlatch: A Card Game About Coast Salish Economics…

  • “A big change in thinking from other games. I started out thinking about what I was getting and by the end it was more important the way I was sharing.”

  • “I had a great time working with my team on group effort strategies as means and goals.”

  • “A complicated learning curve but it became much more intuitive as it progressed.”

  • “Great model of the reality of social dynamics.”

  • “Players learn how complicated the Potlatch is and how status is important.”

  • “I love the reciprocity factor and the realistic element of what Potlatch truly is.”

  • “It is accurate in teaching disbursement of resources to community, like real potlatches.”

  • “Absolutely loved using an indigenous language.”

  • “The group win or group loss is powerful!”

  • “Potlatch lets us think about how to play a game in a totally different way.”

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