A game of Suffragetto Mrs Pankhurst?

2018 is the 100th anniversary of the victory of women suffrage in obtaining the right for women to vote in the UK.  Before 1918 no women were allowed to vote in parliamentary elections. There were two main groups active in the campaign for women’s suffrage, a term used to describe the right to vote.  These two groups were the ‘suffragists’ who campaigned using peaceful methods such as lobbying, and the ‘suffragettes’ who were determined to win the right to vote for women by any means. Their militant campaigning sometimes included unlawful and violent acts which attracted much publicity.

We couldn’t think of a better or more appropriate way for miskatonic.co.uk to recognise this anniversary than to direct people to a board game from around 1907/1908 which raised both funds and awareness for the movement. “Suffragetto” was a board game based on the battles between radical suffragettes and police constables in London.

The game is a simple one, it is an “area occupation” style game with movement rules akin to a game of checkers or draughts.  For two players, taking on the roles of Suffragettes and the Police.  The goal of the Suffragettes is to break past Police lines and enter the House of Commons. At the same time, The Suffragettes must also prevent the Police from reaching their goal and entering the Albert Hall, an oft-used meeting space of the Women’s Social and Political Union.

Much has been written about the game over the last twelve months and for those who would really like to know more we would direct you to the excellent Suffrajitsu website where you will not only find lots of intriguing information about the Suffragetto board game including links to a playable online version but also links to Georgia Tech’s Suffragetto website which has downloadable “print and play” files available.

Whilst we might find Suffragetto an amusing game to play, and smile at its quaint and simple rules, we should think hard about what it represents.  This board game as a truly subversive and radical piece of propaganda for a militant movement challenging the state for the fundamental rights of women.  Its is a symbol of a deep and powerful struggle for equality.  A struggle which, looking at the press today, 100 years on is – to our shame –  still not fully resolved.

Have some thoughtful fun.

Derek.