This month, our columnist checks out the game that promises to help you reach your full potential
The Transformation Game pitches itself as the board game ‘that can change your life’. A bold statement you certainly wouldn’t get with Monopoly. The game took ten years to devise and was created at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, where people go for retreats, spiritual conferences or go to get in the Eat Pray Love zone. You won’t find this in your local toyshop and my hunch is it won’t be in your local pub either, although that’s not a bad idea.
So, I went online and found a shop that sells ‘everything’, and the purple box arrived a couple days later. I’d read a couple of reviews, so by the time it landed on my doorstep I felt mildly anxious. One described it as ‘dangerous’, others warned it was ‘to be taken seriously’. I suddenly felt like I was 12 again setting up a Ouija board in the kitchen, while trying not to snigger in case the demons would curse me.
Anyway, I had a deadline, so I pressed on and roped in a pal to join me. This is not a game to play with one eye on the telly – but perhaps that’s half the point. It’s not about winning or even competing with others; it’s about your own journey, but one you explore with another human present. And is based on generating more connection between players, on all levels.
Spiritual (some might say New Age-y or Buddhist) in set-up, the game starts with players rolling a dice to be ‘born’ into the Physical Level. From there, you fill a scorecard, which enables you to move along your life path through the Emotional, Mental, Spiritual Levels until the player (either the first one or each subsequent one if they wish to finish) becomes Enlightened.
To get there, everyone needs to answer questions, act under certain circumstances, make decisions and express support towards others participating, all the while holding attention on a ‘problem’, situation or habit they’d like to fix/change/get clarity on. The game includes various decks of cards, including Angels, Insights and Setbacks, accompanying the movements on the Board, and describing what needs to be done at each step (it makes Trivial Pursuit feel like a drinking game).
You’re encouraged to write down or follow the ‘insights’ learned throughout the game, and there are both good and bad events chucked at you along the way. Perhaps the very act of being open and vulnerable with people is the real key; you find out things you might not have known about your partner or friends, and also stuff you forgot about yourself. Not only are pals helping you through the game, but you’re also supported by different angels (represented in an angel card deck).
I don’t know if it’s going to magically fix you or your relationships, and I suspect it won’t replace therapy, but it’s an interesting way to gain clarity on some issues, resolve conflicts, and perhaps just a novel way to while away a Wednesday. That’s if you can get your head around the very complex rules…