user's avatar
Taht El Balata: Board game on Financial Literacy
Taht El Balata is an educational board game for Egyptian students from middle school and upwards that helps them foster a better awareness of social and financial realities that exist in their country that they might not get acquainted to prior to having to deal with, and giving them insight on developing a collective decision making process to deal with these realities and situations.

The slang term Taht El Balata literally translates to “Underneath the floor tile”. It is an Egyptian idiom that’s used to refer to individuals saving precious possessions and money somewhere that is safe, to save them. It was chosen as the name of the game to refer to the financial nature of the game, as well as it being one that teaches principles of wise spending and saving habits of money.
To kickstart the idea behind this project, there were a few inspirations that have been 
on my mind based on observations of norms that are imbedded deep within Egyptian culture & society.
It came to my observation the vast amount of Egyptian fresh graduates who face a shock with reality after they graduate, 
where they expect themselves to be able to afford a dreamlike living standard within a short period of time. Of course, this is due to the fact that Egyptian youth have very little time and chance to get acquainted to the financial situation of their country. For instance, it is not preferable for the young of age to get summer jobs with little pay, which can provide an early chance for them to experience with independent finance before delving into it in their late twenties.

Another problem was how specifically with some ranges in society, there’s very little awareness on the complex social structures of the country and
in the meanwhile, people tend to adopt rather text book definitions of “social class” deeming people into degrading measures of identification only because of how much they’re earning, instead of evaluating people on how well they’re using the resources they’ve been giving, and utilizing them to better themselves and their lives.
In turn, I have decided that my bachelor project would be an experience that could help Egyptians explore the social and financial structures of
their country at an early stage of their life through teaching them principles of decision making and critical thinking both in groups and individually, all in relation to situations and stories inspired by Egyptian families and their struggles.
Taht El Balata comes stored in an A4 sized box, compact enough to maintain the game’s several contents as well as be easy to store in quantities for school usage. All contents of the box and the box itself were created by hand with assistance of the wonderful Gina Nagi, bookbinding workshop supervisor at the GUC. On opening the box, one is faced with the board that the game is going to played on, which is an A2 board folded into an A4 format.
The board is broken down to six months of the year from 
March to August that one has to financially pass in order to win.

For each month of the six, there is a period of fifteen minutes that one can not exceed. 
Both the timing & limit of months was to keep the game accessible during class times at school.

According to the surveys that were done with parents during planning the game, 
August has become a quite difficult month to manage, where it features Ramandan, Eid & Schools.
The game requires a set of 10 players on each table for each board. 
3 teams representing 3 families, each family containing 3 students.

In addition to the student players, a teacher participates to be in charge of
the banking aspect of the game, moderating, monitoring, and regulating the
game process as it happens.
For each family to know their identity, the game comes with a set of three notebooks
that are anonymous, each family picks one to reveal their identity.
The families and their incomes are unknown to the players before they pick out their 
anonymous families to symbolise how we have little control over our paths and fates in life
In each booklet there’s a description of the family members, their story, and income. Then what comes is a description of the end goal for the family that they want to achieve, and what it requires them to have saved by the end of the game play. 
After each family knows their identity, each student gets to represent a member of each family. 
Each has choices to make and roles to play no matter what.
To make moves & mark your location on the board, each family gets a 
flag shaped game pawn in the color code of their designated family.
After we’ve defined how each player gets to know their role, it’s time to define what is required from 
each team as a family to complete during each month of the game to move on to the next step.
Each family gets a dice, shaped like a triangle, to allow for less chances of bad luck, 
making the game play easier. You roll the dice and get to withdraw a number of cards from the three decks in front of you.
Bad luck cards are ones in which a bad situation happens and one needs 
to react right away to that situation of loss or damage.

Good luck cards are ones where good events happen and 
one gets to gain something as an outcome of said events.

Choice cards in which one faces a dilemma between two decisions that 
would cost them the same price, but have different value.
The game hereby tries to teach the player that decisions that you make have to
be meticulously calculated: the choices you make do not just affect your finances.
The finances are controlled with paper money that is acquired and traded back and forth throughout the game.
Physical and mental health, however, are ruled by the life panel that is given to each family, 
each decision tells you to move forward or backward on a life panel. 

This is to add another dimension to the game that assures students 
that our decisions have effects on beyond just our money and belongings.
Winning the game is not about who gets to the finish line earlier than the other, but rather depends on who is closer to their own financial goal at
the end of the game, which is different from one family to another. The point of the game is to teach students that it is not about “finishing”, but it is about reaching the finish line with the most effective use of time and resources that assure they are closer to their goals and realising them.

This game is meant to encourage a culture of teaching by doing in our school systems. It is meant to introduce how we could teach our students about finance and sociology through interactive mediums that encourage them to do more than just memorise or learn, but to engage and experience with situations and learn how to deal with them both collectively and individually.

This project was supervised by the incredible Ghalia ElSrakbi + Ahmad Saqfalhait.
Taht El Balata: Board game on Financial Literacy

Taht El Balata: Board game on Financial Literacy

Taht El Balata is an educational board game for Egyptian students from middle school and upwards that helps them foster a better awareness of soc Read More
Attribution, Non-commercial, No DerivativesAttribution, Non-commercial, No DerivativesAttribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives