Private Matters

Linda Bussell
Teri Graves
Tammy McCabe

Instructional Objective Learners will be able to prevent their privacy from being invaded by correctly matching the appropriate privacy protection method to the given situation.

Learners/Context The learners are consumers, or potential consumers who are interested in learning how to protect their right to privacy. This game may be played by learners with little or no prior knowledge of privacy rights protection, as a means of becoming aware of positive actions they can take in various situations. It is also appropriate for players with some prior knowledge of the subject, serving as practice and reinforcement.

This board game addresses issues of privacy in several areas of everyday activity, such as personal, workplace, medical, insurance, government records, credit information, and banking practices.

Rationale Technology has expanded the amount of personal and financial information readily available to any interested party. This game presents a variety of privacy invasion scenarios and gives protection solutions. The players are presented with situations describing violations of consumer privacy rights and learn which methods will best protect their privacy rights.

Number of players 2-4

Materials needed Game board

Rule sheet/Answer sheet

Four tokens

Two six-sided dice

Situation Cards/six decks

Privacy Protection Cards/one deck

Rules The goal of the game is to be the first to match one Privacy Protection Card with one Situation Card correctly in every building on the board.

Preparation * Each person chooses a colored game token and places it in the

matching colored Start space located on a corner of the board.

* The dealer shuffles each Situation Deck and places it face down in its corresponding Building space.

* The dealer deals everyone three Protection Cards. The players hold their cards privately.

To begin * Order of play is determined by roll of the dice...highest number

on the dice goes first. Players take turns clockwise. The first player rolls the dice and moves across the spaces in the direction of a building where a Privacy Protection Card can possibly be matched to a Situation Card.

* A player rolling doubles wins another turn.

* A player must decide before rolling the dice if he or she wishes to use a Secret Tunnel or remain in a building for a second turn. (See next section, "Moving into a room".)

Entering a building * Buildings must be entered via the marked entrances, a "Secret

Tunnel", or by "Challenging the Situation". It is not necessary to roll the exact number to enter the Building. A player uses the Secret Tunnel by jumping diagonally from corner building to corner building without using the dice. For example, a Secret Tunnel exists between the Business Park and the Mall, and another Secret Tunnel exists between the Bank and the Government Offices.

* A player may remain in the same room for a second turn (but nomore than that) if a match isn't obtained on the first turn. A player may not exit and enter a room on the same turn.

Handling a situation * Upon entering a building, the player picks up the top Situation

Card from the deck within the building and reads it aloud. The player then looks at his or her Privacy Protection Cards to determine if there is a suitable match held in hand. If there is a match, the player "wins" the situation in that building. The player reads the solution aloud, replaces the Privacy Protection Card on the bottom of the Protection deck, and keeps the Situation Card, placing it face up for all players to see. The Player then draws a new Protection Card from the top of the deck.

* The solution is verified by checking the Answer Sheet. First locate the Situation number on the sheet. The corresponding Privacy Protection solution number(s) are displayed next to it.

* Beginning players may check the answers before searching for the solution; more advanced players may choose to verify the answer after they have chosen.

* If the player determines that a match cannot be made, the Situation is open to all players. The first player who announces he or she has a suitable match moves into the Building, and follows the above procedure for winning a situation.

* If no player has a match, the Situation Card is placed at the bottom of the deck and play proceeds to the next person.

Leaving a Building * A player moves out of the room on his or her turn by a roll of the

dice, or by using a Secret Tunnel.

Gaining additional * A player may gather an additional Privacy Protection Card by

Protection Cards landing on a Protection space (marked by a "P").

* A player landing on a Star space may draw two (2) Privacy Protection Cards.

Wild Cards Cards displaying the 800 number for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse may be used as Wild Cards, winning the situation in any building.

Winning the game The first player the first to match one Privacy Protection Card with one Situation Card correctly in every building on the board wins the game.

Board Design The game board represents a "town" with a matrix of hexagonally-shaped "cobblestone" spaces broken up by six "Building" spaces and a Privacy Protection Card area in the center. Most of the buildings represent categories of organizations that compile, use, sell, and trade various kinds of personal and consumer data, often without the person's knowledge. The "Home" is used as a catchall for situations that would normally arise at home, such as the bombardment of junk mail received after ordering something by mail, or the issue of cordless phone eavesdropping. Other buildings in the town are the "Medical & Insurance Complex" (Medical symbolizing anyone with access to medical records), the "Business Park" (symbolizing the workplace), the "Mall", the "Bank" (symbolizing all financial services), and the "Government Offices (symbolizing all local, state and federal agencies).

Each corner has a color-coded "Start" space for each token. Scattered over the board are "PROTECTION" spaces, which allow the player to pick up an additional Privacy Protection Card, and "STAR" spaces, which allow the player to pick up two additional Privacy Protection Cards.

Card Design Each of the six buildings of the game board "town" have a deck of associated Situation Cards which are to be placed face down on the board within that building. Each of these Situation Cards has an associated Privacy Protection Card which describes appropriate action(s) to be taken by a consumer placed in that situation. The players will begin to see common patterns of action which apply to various situations.

Design Process The design process was made more difficult by the diversity and complexity of the content. Our team went through many iterations of rules before finally settling on a game that "felt right" in terms of simplicity of play, content coverage, and positive slant.

We decided early on to use the old favorite "Clue" as a model for our board and a starting place for our rules. We chose this game as a model because it is familiar to many people, and because it requires that the players combine pieces of data to form a solution, which maps closely to the concept of combining data about a person to build a profile.

Our first few trial designs attempted to combine the goals of protecting one's own privacy while trying to find out information about the other player or players. The benefit of this approach is that it would keep all players actively engaged or "in flow" even between turns, as they would be planning their strategies. This design was finally rejected, partly due to the difficulty of coming up with an elegant way to organize and track the personal data. Ultimately it was rejected due to our uncomfortable feeling that we were encouraging people to be sneaky, rather than empowering them by teaching them methods they can use to protect their right to privacy.

We see the ARCS model as applying more directly to our game than the Flow model. While there is an element of strategy which could be developed as the game is repeated, the game is really intended for people with little prior knowledge of the content area, and, at least at this point, the game doesn't adapt as the player's skill grows. The content is inherently interesting and relevant, because it directly applies to the learners' lives in so many ways. As the game is played, the continuing stream of information should help keep the players engaged, along with the impetus of trying to win the game. The rules are simple and quickly mastered, adding to the player's confidence level.

Future Development This game is still under development, and our team has already identified some areas needing refinement. The dimensions of the buildings need to be measured in whole hexagons. The intersection of the rectangular buildings with the hexagons create some partial spaces, and it can be confusing to the players. What percentage of a hexagon qualifies as a space? To clear up some of the confusion, the entrances are clearly marked.

Although we haven't created all of the cards yet, we're already seeing similarities in the solutions that may reduce to general guidelines. Perhaps rather than having specific Clout cards for each building, we will have cards that fit more than one situation. After we have more of the data in card format, we're expecting to see the structure of the game evolve. For example, buildings that don't have many cards may be eliminated, and the information incorporated into another building.

Revision history 10/92

Since last week we have incorporated into our game some of the suggestions made by our classmates. As we suspected might happen, the players were somewhat confused by the intersection of the hexagons with the Buildings. The new, improved board more clearly delineates the Building areas.

* One building, the DMV, was eliminated due to lack of use.

* The Protection Cards are more generic now, rather than specific to a particular building.

* Once the total number of different solutions is determined, the total number of applicable solutions will be indicated in each Building, giving the players an idea of the odds of winning that Building. For example, if there are three possible solutions for a given room, and two are held in hand, the odds are pretty good (2/3) that the player can take that Building.

* All players are now allowed to play on a Situation once the player drawing that Situation decides to pass on it.


Additional refinements were made to reflect feedback received from Dr. Dodge, and other changes were made as a result of further play.


* Another room, the Credit Bureau, was eliminated, as any consumer interaction with credit agencies are normally due to a situation initiated somewhere else.

* The Hospital and Insurance Buildings were combined into one building, the Medical & Insurance Complex.

* The Government Offices was added, bringing the final number of Buildings to six.

* It became evident after play that the Building odds hint listed above wasn't necessary.

* The purpose of the Star spaces was changed, from a forced trade of Privacy Protection Cards among players, to an opportunityto draw two protection cards from the deck.

* The "Join the Foreign Legion" cards were changed to hotline cards for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

* An Answer Sheet was provided, and the matching solution numbers were removed from the Situation Cards. This eliminated the danger of the game degenerating into simply a "number matching" game. It also makes the game usable for reinforcement and practice as well as for teaching. Beginning players may check the correct solution before searching their hands; players with prior knowledge may search their hands first, then check the answer sheet to verify their responses.