Over the 4th of July weekend, Ben and I traveled up to Putney, VT to spend sometime with F/friends. While Ben and I had heard of the Quaker Card Game Unable, Unwilling from Robin Mohr's twitter feed, this was our first time playing the game.
All I know of the game is that it was created by British Friends. Folks in New England Yearly Meeting tell me that they are in conversation with the British developers of the game to see if an American version can be made. There are some vocabulary and spelling differences that would make the game more applicable to American Friends.
In 2005, when I was planning the World Gathering of Young Friends with planners from around the world, it was the vocabulary differences between the British and the American Friends that caused the most problems. At one point during a business session, a confused conflict broke out as American and British Friends argued over tabling a topic. Finally, grace prevailed as we realized that for British Friends to "table a topic" means to bring up a topic to talk about. For American Friends to "table a topic" means to put the topic on the table to deal with later.
While there aren't that many cultural differences in the card game, there is definitely ways to make the game more applicable to an American Audience. Terms like Warden, Overseer, and Elder have somewhat different meanings. We have "Peace and Social Concerns Committees" rather than "Peace and Demonstrations Committees" while some of the more ridiculous committees in the game should stay for the sake of humor.
A British Friend, Ben Jarmen describes the game in more detail:
"The humour of Unable, Unwilling is recognisable to anyone who has been a part of Quaker nominations. Each player draws cards and attempts to nominate other players to jobs in the Meeting, ranging from the realistic (Clerk, Overseer, Treasurer, etc.) through the sublime (‘Quaker Concern for Random Left Wing Causes Rep’) to the ridiculous (‘Solidarity with Antarctic Friends Committee rep’). Each job comes with a certain number of stress points; once you have been nominated to jobs totalling fifteen stress points, you have lost the game, burn out, and write an angry letter to The Friend about overwork! There are also cards that enable you to deflect a nomination (for example, by pleading overwork, or by nominating another ‘worthy Friend’ to your left, and so on). Even the nominations process is accurately modelled, with names being put on the Noms Committees’ agenda for consideration. The games I played at YMG were an excellent ice-breaker with Friends I hadn’t met before, as well as causing much laughter because of the shared recognition of what was being mocked. It stands up as a game, too, though it is probably not as enjoyable outside Quaker circles owing to the subject matter. But it’s a loving send-up, and manages to poke fun at Quakerism without traducing it – a fine line to tread." Ben Jarmen, http://www.nayler.org/quaker-games/
In general , this game is hilarious.
I hope that it takes off in the Americas maybe with an American version or even a Spanish language version eventually. I hear that Friends United Meeting is working to have it available on their website, so there's one place you might be able to find it soon. I'm looking forward to playing is more at Annual Sessions in August. So bring on the nominations!