Dezeen Magazine

No Worries if not board game by billie and little troop

"Unwinnable" board game No Worries If Not explores sexist double standards

Body care brand Billie has developed a limited-edition board game that explores the contradictory expectations and demands placed on women in a patriarchal society.

No Worries If Not mixes elements of popular board games like The Game of Life and Snakes and Ladders with a hyper-vivid colour scheme to reflect the satirical tone of the game.

An advert for the No Worries If Not board game by billie and little troop
No Worries If Not is a limited-edition board game

Although presented as fun and optimistic, Billie devised the game to be rigged against the player, who is faced with impossible double standards and pointless solutions such as over-apologising, people-pleasing and overthinking.

The mechanics of No Worries If Not are based on interviews with groups of women about the pressures and challenges they face in their lives.

The board game presented on a table
The game spotlights the sexist expectations and challenges faced by women

"We found a lot of shared experiences, but some of the most salient consistencies were around the contradictions and extraordinary expectations women specifically are held to," Billie co-founder Georgina Gooley told Dezeen.

"We considered a number of ways we might shed light on this but kept coming back to the idea that existing as a woman in today's world can ultimately feel a bit like you're playing a rigged game that you can't win. So we decided to turn it into one."

A closeup image of the No Worries If Not Game by billie and little troop
Players encounter a number of "pitfalls" including Self-Doubt Spiral

Gooley says that the first step in developing the game was to work out its mechanics, as it needed to be both "creatively compelling but also strategically sound in order for it to be functional".

"We test-played quite a few games to see what we liked and took inspiration from a few different places," she explained.

The back cover of the board game
The game was developed to be "creatively compelling but also strategically sound"

"Then we partnered with a set of game strategists to put the pieces together," she added. "Collectively we mapped out the general framework including gameplay, components and goal."

The game works similarly to a traditional board game in that each player starts with a token, which they can move across the board after rolling the dice.

Close-up of game tokens by billie and little troop
Users pick a token that they use to move across the board

Along the way, they encounter a number of "pitfalls" such as The Wage Gap, Smile More Street, Self Doubt Spiral and Fertility Forest. Throughout the game, players also pick up cards, which arbitrarily set them back or move them around the board.

The aim is to reach the final destination called No One's Man Land without getting knocked off the main path, although Gooley says the game itself is designed to be pretty much "unwinnable".

Closeup photograph of the board games' cards
The game includes a series of cards that can move the players backwards and forwards

"We hope that by pointing out the absurd and contradictory cycles of judgment women face in everyday life, this board game helps women feel a bit more empowered to tune out external measures of their worth," she said.

Other game designs that combine play with social critique include LifeCredit, which envisions a dystopian future ruled by a social credit system, and the Minecraft library built by Reporters Without Borders, which provides gamers with "a safe haven for press freedom".