Who Are We?
Dr. Brian Kaufman is a retired Industrial Psychologist with 25 years’ experience teaching Diversity courses and facilitating Gay/Straight Alliances (GSA’s) for college and community groups. Martin Swinger is a Nationally Awarded singer/songwriter/arts educator who worked for 20 years leading songwriting activities at all school levels (often with a theme of bullying). He was a songwriting workshop leader several years for the Maine Civil Rights Teams Annual Conference. As life-partners for 35 years, Brian and Martin have championed and encouraged young people to recognize and respect LGBTQ+ peers and community. Together they created a simple board game they wish had existed when they were growing up.
Who Will Find 'Rainbow Quest!' Meaningful?
‘Rainbow Quest!’ is valuable tool for mid-teens and grown-ups alike. This is a great inter-generational activity! GSA’s, diversity classes, public libraries, PFLAG chapters, churches, community centers, support groups, family gatherings, school councilors, whole classrooms – all can benefit from what ‘Rainbow Quest!’ offers. The game is a collaborative and effective vehicle that educates, entertains, and accelerates establishing a safe place where players can share information and learn from each other. ‘Rainbow Quest!’ board game makes LGBTQ+ history and culture compelling and engaging while it nourishes inter-personal and intra-personal skills, self-esteem and self-empowerment.
What Benefits Does ‘Rainbow Quest!’ Offer?
As more and more states legislate the need to acknowledge LGBTQ+ leaders and history-makers, the task falls on teachers and institutions to invent new lesson plans and syllabi which reflect that legislation. ‘Rainbow Quest!’ is a ready-made solution that can be used instantly and repeatedly, offering new insight and knowledge each time the game is played. ‘Rainbow Quest!’ educates players about historic and current LGBTQ+ leaders, revolutionaries, movements, slogans, organizations, famous personalities, plays, movies, books, songs, historic events and locations. Essentially, it is comprised with the fabric of the LGBTQ+ experience.
How Can 'Rainbow Quest!' Be Helpful?
GSA’s are started with important goals and the best of intentions, but program activities and resources can be hard to find and be even harder to maintain long-term. ‘Rainbow Quest!’ offers an inspiringly simple, quick or extended activity which is different every time it is played with over 500 prompt cards in the game box.
Participation in the game ingeniously offers the opportunity to safely share coming-out stories, exchange problem-solving ideas, practice respectful listening, focus attention inwardly and outwardly to develop emotional growth. Players may be asked to imagine themselves in a uniquely LGBTQ+ situation. Also, discuss possible resolutions to a predicament they have not yet encountered, but surely will face in their lives of work, social, political, personal and public relationships.
Why Is ‘Rainbow Quest!’ Necessary?
Our LGBTQ+ children are naturally involved in discovering (and often hiding) personal sexual identity as it evolves. There are very few guides that offer goals or vision of a life lived in dignity and pride as a one of a different kind. Being a teenager is hard enough. The ordeal of growing up ‘different’ in a society with no obvious support, role models or community relevance can be daunting at best and is deadly far too often. (Teen suicide rate is highest among LGBTQ+ youth.)
It’s a fact that LGBTQ+ people have historically been an important and successful contributing sector of human society but our current education system has ignored or hidden their identities from students. Through a variety of playfully thought-provoking activities, ‘Rainbow Quest!’ assures understanding that being ‘different’ is a natural expression of the human spectrum that should be appreciated, honored and respected. It can lead to successful, healthy and fulfilling lives well beyond the often traumatic teen years of self-discovery and personal expression.
How Is ‘Rainbow Quest!’ Played?
The colorful game board visually reflects the ancient concept that ‘Viking’ is an action verb describing an adventurous journey of discovery. The game is played by rolling dice and moving playing pieces around a colorful path of flags which begins in a black-and-white (binary) ‘Bleak World’ of loneliness and fear, travels with each roll of the dice to the next insightful assignment and on toward a more ‘Colorful World’ of inclusiveness and safety.
The Game Path
The path is made of icons representing varied activities such as
- ‘You Think You Know Me’ (players predict other players response to hypothetical situations)
- ‘Just Between Us’ (share discretional and non-threatening personal disclosure)
- ‘You Can Quote Me’ (guess which famous person made this statement)
- ‘UnPinkable’ (respond to fortunate and unfortunate situations)
- ‘Did Ya Know That?’ (answer multiple choice, yes/no, true/false)
- ‘You’ve Got Talent’ (charades – communicating with no words)
- ‘Freehand’ (clues that may only be drawn as pictures)
- ‘The Closet’ (an opportunity to share ANY kind of ‘coming out’ story – and YES, even straight people have experienced situations where they chose or were forced to reveal more about their personal lives than they expected!)
The 500+ prompt cards are easy to comprehend and offer insight and background into why each factual bit of information is included and important.
The Game Goal
The goal of the game is not ‘to win’ but to encourage sharing the journey of one’s lifetime with peers. ‘Rainbow Quest!’ is a game for everybody, not just the LGBTQ+ community. Allies, heterosexuals, and un-initiated find themselves on a level playing field of stimulating activities that demand creativity, listening, expression, imagination, empathy, exploration and authenticity.
Rainbow Quest! can be played ANYWHERE! The game is completely inclusive. Everything you need is in the box making it perfect for classroom, library, travel, home or outdoors! The game is not waterproof and requires moderate or facilitated reading skills.
The Game Participation
Participation in the game ingeniously offers the opportunity to safely share coming-out stories, exchange problem-solving ideas, practice respectful listening, focus attention inwardly and outwardly to develop emotional growth. Players may be asked to imagine themselves in a uniquely LGBTQ+ situation and discuss possible resolutions to a predicament they have not yet encountered, but surely will face in their lives of work, social, political, personal and public relationships.
What Does the Game Box Include?
The game box contains a sturdy playing board, 8 colorful pawns (to represent each player or team of players), dice, a 90-second hourglass timer, several pads for drawing, pencils and sharpener, a ‘Quick Start Guide’, game rules, charades instructions and a deck of 500+ prompt cards in a file box. Everything you need to play is right there in the box!
What Are The Sources For The Prompt Cards?
News articles, historical documents, online research, community forums, personal conversations, peer experience, LGBTQ+ community gatherings, cultural magazines, psychological research, interviews, social and literary advisors, diversity trainers, professional LGBTQ+ organizations, LGBTQ+ teachers, workshop facilitators, and test players of all ages and orientations have contributed to the wealth of information included in the game.
In What Way Is 'Rainbow Quest!' Effective?
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) annual board games convention in 2017, participants repeatedly praised ‘Rainbow Quest!’ for being a rare and important resource that actually teaches people how to ‘be’ in the world. At the 2019 Connect-i-Con, international games convention in Hartford, CT, organizers strategically placed the Rainbow Quest! booth directly by the front door of the convention hall in order to assure attending gamers that the LGBTQ+ community is valued and celebrated there. Players enthusiastically engaged, lingered to chat and play, then would move along only to return with parents and friends to play another round – even enlisting curious onlookers to join in.
Other game exhibitors expressed amazement to witness gamers spontaneously hugging each other and the facilitators, thanking and congratulating Martin and Brian for creating a game that celebrates THEM. This is not ‘normal’ behavior for gaming conventions where most games make players competitors against each other for resources or treasures. Rainbow Quest! is an all-in, everyone is included in each players’ turn and stands to benefit from attentive participation.
The results of playing ‘Rainbow Quest!’ include improved inter-personal and intra-personal social skills, increased historical and cultural knowledge and perspective, empowered comfort in discussing the unspoken or blatant ‘Taboo’ of being Out, inspired healthy strategies for responding to difficult situations, heightened awareness of supporters and allies among peers and community, enlightened understanding of the value of diverse experiences, discoveries and personal backgrounds, encouraged and expanded possibilities and hope for a fulfilling and successful future.
When Is ‘Rainbow Quest’ Available For Purchase?
The prototype game board and cards have been fine-tuned by professional artists, marketing and manufacturing advisors and went into print over the Winter 2019. It became available for sale and distribution in the Summer of 2020 online and at events.
‘Rainbow Quest’ has been in development for 10 years and been through several iterations. Different prototypes have been played at hundreds of GSA’s, family game nights, LGBTQ+ support groups, gaming research facilities, educational and community gatherings, parties, PRIDE festivals, Equality Education conferences, libraries and private functions to gather player feedback and ideas, but the game is invariably declared ‘Brilliant!’ by participants.
How May The Game Be Acquired in Bulk?
Rainbow Quest! is a product of Pickadilly Specialties, a 501C3 non-profit organization whose goals include improving social, interpersonal and intercultural communication between the minority LGBTQ+ community and the majority population for the purpose of sharing life experiences and perspectives surrounding the broad spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity.
As a 501C3, Pickadilly Specialties is dedicated to making Rainbow Quest! available to interested groups for the powerful, life affirming resource that it is, regardless of the groups’ ability to purchase the game at full price. Donations are gratefully accepted to help defray those costs and may be used as a tax deduction.