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Democracy and Games: Let’s Play - Democracybarometer

We provide tools to playfully explore what democracy means and what constitutes the quality of a democracy.

Quote from the project aims of Let's play Democracybarometer



The project

Within the project Let's play Demokracybarometer, we developed three analogue democracy games based on the research project Democracybarometer. The democracy barometer is a scientific instrument that measures the quality of established democracies and thus makes them comparable. In a playful way, the games make the findings of this research project accessible and learnable. The game cards (including the rules of two game variants) are available as print & play templates for free download.

LogoDBThe project and the development of the card games (DB Blueprint I & DB Kniffel) was funded by the Centre for Democracy Studies in Aarau, ZDA (Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau, Switzerland). All numbers shown on the cards are based on the Democracy Barometer project data set. The project team created further sets on their own initiative with financial support from the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA).

Also after the completion of the Let's play project in 2019, Demokrative continues to be active in the area of game-based learning in civic education, for example in the Demogames project.


The games

The game variants DB Happy Families and DB Top Trump enable different teaching and learning goals depending on the educational level and target group.

The games are particularly suited as

  • a playful introductions for people without explicit previous knowledge
  • a starting point for controversial discussions about democracy and different forms of democracies
  • an in-depth study of the democracy concept of the research project Democracy Barometer

More background information about the different game variations and the thematic background are summarized in the manual (currently available in German only). The rules are included in the card sets.


'Print-and-play' game templates for download

All card sets and the game rules are available as free downloads.
The game cards can be printed out individually and prepared with or for the learners to play.

 Available games in English language:

  • "DB Happy Families Cards, Global South Set” (PDF-Download, Game Rules & 32 Playing Cards)
    [Printout: DinA4 landscape format, colour print, 1 page per sheet, both sides (flip at long edge)]

  • "DB Happy Families Cards, Blueprint I Set” (PDF-Download, Game Rules & 32 Playing Cards)
    [Printout: DinA4 landscape format, colour print, 1 page per sheet, both sides (flip at long edge)]

Democracybarometer-Informationen «DB Happy Families Cards»: The cards include graphic representations of existing democracies (democracy spiders) of eight countries per set at four different times each, as well as a classification of the respective democracy in the corresponding year on the nine democratic functions (function values) of the project.

The 'Blueprint I Set' covers information on the following countries (in alphabetical order):
Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland.

The 'Global South Set' covers information on the following countries (in alphabetical order):
Argentinia, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, India, Mexico, South Africa, Uruguay.

Please note:
Please change language settings of this webpage to access information in or download documents in German. There are different games and documents available on the German and English websites.


Project team, rights of use and contact

The project team consists of Saskia Ruth-Lovell, Rebecca Welge and Robert Lovell. The project team owns the rights to the materials. All materials may be used in their present form by third parties, in particular for use in classroom teaching, non-commercial educational events, at universities, as well as for the training and further education of teachers and trainers in the field of democratic learning. If you are interested in using the materials in other contexts, or in further developing or changing them, please contact one of the project managers. The same applies if you want to use the materials in a commercial context.

Please reference these materials:

Ruth-Lovell, Saskia; Rebecca Welge; and Robert Lovell (2019) "Democracy and Games: Let's Play Democracy Barometer, print & play materials", Demokrative - Initiative for Political Education, [].

If you have questions about the project, please write an e-mail to Rebecca Welge: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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