About the Game

Players start the game by creating a character with a unique background and identity by customizing attributes such as one’s gender identity, socioeconomic status, or social relationships. Gameplay is based on taking turns playing cards that represent different actions someone can take to escape an abusive relationship, with the goal of moving one’s token to an end point on the game board.

Different actions have varying levels of risks, and many often risk detection by one’s abuser. As players take action, they draw Abuse Cards that result in harm to a player’s relationships or well-being. Abuse cards are based off different red flags and behavior patterns an abuser embodies. As the game progress, the cycle of abuse causes the severity of these cards to grow, reflecting real life patterns of abusive behavior..

Accessible and Tested

The gameplay of Ending the Cycle is designed to be accessible for a variety of ages, gaming backgrounds, and knowledge about domestic violence. For many people, the game can be an excellent first introduction to topics of unhealthy relationships and red flags. The game is also complex enough to spark conversations on the structural and systemic problems of unhealthy relationships, such as legal discrimination, access to resources, and economics.

The game has been frequently tested for a year and a half with a diverse group of playtesters, often including counselors, college students, community activists, and even survivors of domestic abuse. Adapted specifically for educational settings, Ending the Cycle is excellent for use in workshops, college campuses, and counseling settings.

Customizable and Modifiable

To better demonstrate the system of domestic violence, Ending the Cycle includes different ways of modifying the gameplay experience. While the basic version of the game is very accessible, additional features such as a shelter mechanic, events, and post-escape scenarios expand the complexity of the game, making it perfect for a second play through. Cards have are included so players can develop their own scenarios for the game. A facilitator’s guide is also included wih the game, so that integration into a workshop is as easy as possible.

Real and Relatable

Below are cards from the game. Please keep in mind that some of these cards may be triggering for others; use discretion when viewing.

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