Game has Pittsburgh mayor's race go around a board to bring home election
A week from now, it's likely Councilman Bill Peduto will be mayor-elect, but Tuesday he and others on council recognized a pair of young politicos for a game that gives ordinary Pittsburghers a chance to seek the title.
Alex Pazuchanics and Adam Shuck created Ninety, a board game simulating a breakneck contest for mayor of Pittsburgh, inspired by their love of Pittsburgh's 90 neighborhoods and their political work.
Pazuchanics is legislative assistant for state Rep. Erin Molchany, a Mt. Washington Democrat. Shuck is communications manager for Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, a Brookline Democrat.
“The idea for us was about getting people to break out of their neighborhoods, out of their mold; giving people a reason to learn more about these other neighborhoods and their communities,” said Pazuchanics, 23, of Brookline.
The game's not for sale yet. Pazuchanics and Shuck are working out production details.
It puts two to five players in the role of candidates jumping into the mayor's race just days before the election. They have 15 turns to build support and attend unique events in each city neighborhood, raise money Downtown to spend on ads and subtract other players' supporters by mudslinging. When Election Day draws to a close, supporters in each neighborhood are counted up to determine the winner.
Though Shuck and Pazuchanics admitted to being political junkies, capturing the character of the city was also a goal. They researched every neighborhood to fashion the game's special events from real life, such as the Mexican War Streets House Tour or the St. Maria Goretti Festival in Bloomfield.
“We're pretty well versed in Pittsburgh politics, and we spent a lot of time combing through local message boards to find events for every neighborhood,” Pazuchanics said.
They dug into the history of Pittsburgh politics to come up with many of the 15 candidate cards the player can draw at the beginning of the game, including “the sports legend,” who gets a bonus for name recognition; “the grandma activist” whose gossipy knitting circle can win supporters through negative campaigning; and “the bicycle advocate,” who can avoid traffic to move faster among neighborhoods.
“They're based loosely on Pittsburgh archetypes. Maybe even a few are based on real people,” said Shuck, 27, of Lawrenceville.
A $1,000 grant from The Sprout Fund helped the duo commission and print game boards with art by Carnegie Mellon University graduate Tara Helfer — earlier versions of the game had been play-tested on an oversized city planning map. One condition of the grant was that the makers would hold open game nights around the city, so they invited players to try the game Monday night at Cannon Coffee in Brookline and Tuesday night at Bar Marco in the Strip District.
City Council brought the men to council chambers on the guise that Shuck had to do an errand for Rudiak and Pazuchanics would attend a presentation about the South Side. Council's proclamation declared Tuesday “‘Ninety Day” in the city.
“I played a prototype ... at my house on a Sunday afternoon, and I won,” said Rudiak. “It definitely gave me confidence in my fundraising and schmoozing abilities.”
Shuck said the next steps will be setting up more neighborhood game nights and working toward mass-producing the games for sales. Information about future game nights will be posted at ninetypgh.com or facebook.com/ninetypgh.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Sports Deli is latest tenant to say goodbye to Parkway Center Mall
- Package thefts can be prevented, police, experts say
- Woman shot in shoulder during McKeesport fight
- Muslim civil rights group seeks investigation into shooting of Pittsburgh taxi driver
- Security policies limit ‘insider threat’ at airports, TSA says
- Pittsburgh nonprofit 412 Food Rescue takes surplus food to needy
- Newsmaker: Norman L. Bier
- In letter, Plum school superintendent reassures parents on safety
- Alpine touring skiing movement faces uphill climb in Western Pa.
- Pet chiropractic more popular in Western Pa., but doubts linger
- Downtown holiday parade festive, but weather dampens turnout