Bhamini Lakshminarayan | M2015MC013
Dr. Sunitha Chitrapu

Media Studies: Political Economy of the Media
27 September 2015

Rainbow: The Game

: A Guidebook to the Game

Rainbow: This game is one in which the contemporary Indian feminist movement is poised against the dominant hegemonic discourse of the capitalist heteropatriarchal essentialisation of gender and sexual identities.


The game is for 2-6 players. Each player picks one of six counters (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) which will mark their position on the board. There is one six-sided die for game play.

There are 4 main types of cards: Identity Cards, Cause Cards, Boss Cards, and This Day in Your Life. Separate these four types of cards.

Separate the Identity Cards into Personhood Decks, Experience Decks, and Career Cards.

The Personhood Decks consist of 3 decks: Biological Sex, Caste, and Sexual Orientation.

Ultimately there will be 8 different decks: Boss Cards, Identity Cards (3 Personhood Decks, 1 Experience Deck and 1 Career Deck), Cause Cards, and This Day in Your Life.

Place each deck facedown near the gameboard.

One player either volunteers or is chosen to be the banker. This player is in charge of all the money paid to and from the bank. The banker separates the money according to its denomination, and then gives each player Rs.1000/-.


All players roll the dice. The player with the highest total score on the dice takes the turn. Game play then continues in a clockwise direction.

Before play begins, each player will draw four cards from the Identity Decks. 3 will be from the Personhood Decks: 1 from the Biological Sex deck, 1 from the Caste deck, 1 from the Sexual Orientation deck. I will be from the Career deck. These form their Identity before the game begins.

Each player also draws two cards from the Cause Deck and selects one to keep. This card will give the player their primary cause that they are fighting for within the LGBTQIA+ movement. To make the cause felt in the public sphere, the player must earn the amount of money indicated on the card. The player must also amass the points that are indicated on the card, keeping in mind that certain causes require only certain identities to fight for them (so that their voice is not co-opted).

All cards drawn by the players throughout the game are kept face-up so that the other players can also see them.

On a turn, roll one die. Move your counter the number of spaces indicated by the die. Always move forward along the path. When you land on a space with an instruction to draw a card on it, follow the instruction. After completing the instructions on the card, your turn is ended.

As you move along the path, you will notice seven different types of space colours. Each colour represents a different type of instruction, as follows:

Red – Boss Battle! Draw a card from the Boss Deck, construct an identity, and defeat the Boss Card.

Orange – Reinvent Yourself. Burn any Identity Card of your choice, draw two from the relevant deck, and then keep one (these can be either Personhood Cards or Career Cards).

Yellow – We’re All in This Together. Help another player who has been unable to pass their Boss Battle.

Green – Pay Day. Draw your salary as indicated by the Career Card from the Bank.

Blue – Draw an Experience Card. Draw from the Experience Deck.

Purple – This Day in Your Life. A special experience occurs. Draw a card from the This Day in Your Life deck. Follow the specific instructions.

Black – Neutral. These spaces do not have specific instructions on them, except for the first and last squares (Start and Where We Stand/Stop).

Throughout the game, the player draws cards that add to their identity.
The deck that they draw from is determined by the instructions on the space on which they land.


Each Personhood Card has an aspect of identity on it.

Biological Sex: Male/Female/Intersex
Caste: Upper caste/Lower caste
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual/Homosexual/Bisexual/Asexual The identities on the cards are surrounded by a coloured box that can be yellow or green. It is important to make note of these colours in order to use them in combination with the Experience Cards.


Each Career Card has a career on it. These careers determine the amount of money that the bank gives the player on Pay Day.

Certain careers might be closed to certain identities, in which case the desired Identity Profile is indicated on the cards. In this case, the player can choose to drop the card and draw another card instead, while missing their next turn. Alternatively, they can choose to pursue the career anyway, and risk losing the job if their identity is discovered.


Experience Cards describe the experiences that the players have. Players draw from this deck when they land on blue squares.

Each card describes the experience, as well as has two numbers surrounded by a coloured boxes, one yellow and one green. It is important to make note of these colours in order to use them in combination with the Personhood Cards in the BOSS BATTLES.


Players engage in Boss Battles when they land on red squares.

The Boss is a representative of the capitalist heteropatriarchal forces that attempt to enforce normative behaviour. On each card in the Boss Deck is an idea that has been expressed by these forces through the media.

Each card also has a number on it – a score from 10-100 that represents the strength of the idea. This must be defeated if the player is to move forward.

In order to defeat the cards drawn from the Boss Deck, one must construct an identity that defeats the idea that is expressed in the Boss Deck. The player constructs an identity out of 3 cards that they have drawn – of which at least one has to be a Personhood Card, while the other two can be either Personhood or Experience Cards.

Based on the nature of the identity in the selected Identity Cards, the number of points with which they can attack the Boss is selected from the Experience Cards.

After the cards are used in a Boss Battle, they are burned – or discarded. New cards will have to be drawn to replace the Personhood Cards which have been used.

Certain Boss Cards will demand that only certain identities can attack them (so that the voices of this identity are not co-opted). In this case, the player can request that another player with this identity play their turn for them, and pays them Rs. 10,000. Alternatively, they can choose to play the round anyway with their own identity, and pay the bank Rs. 10,000.

If the player does not have this sum of money, they can either take a loan from the bank, or drop one Personhood Card and draw two from the relevant deck, from which one is selected. The player misses this turn and is only allowed to fight the Boss in the next round.

If the Boss cannot be defeated, the player cannot move forward. The other players can choose to help the player who is stuck when they land on certain spaces that allow them to do so. Alternatively, the player is allowed to pay another player Rs. 10,000 to defeat the Boss for them.

FULFILLING CAUSESCauses are selected at the beginning of the game.

Each player has a particular cause that they must keep in mind while playing the game. At the end of the game, they must see if they have fulfilled the money requirements of the cause (so that it is featured extensively on the media), if they have won enough Boss Battles (totalling the number of points on the defeated Boss Battle cards) and if they have enough representatives of the cause (identities that can be constructed from their cards, which will be specified by the Cause Card). The representative identities can be drawn from across all the players of the game. Thus, to defeat the overarching capitalist heteropatriarchal Boss, players must keep each others causes in mind while burning their cards while engaging in Boss Battles or while discarding cards on Orange spaces.

Players must check to see if they have fulfilled their causes when they reach the last square, Where We Stand. Players cannot leave the board until all other players have also reached that square, when they will all check to see if they have fulfilled their causes together. Thus, players are advised to bring their fellow players forward along the path when the instructions on the board allow them to do so.


Players draw from this deck when they land on the purple squares.

Each card describes a particular event that the player engaged in on that day. Players can either win money or lose money, gain or lose turns, or must fulfil a series of actions based on the instructions in the card.


The objective of the game is not to beat other players, but to beat the Boss together. This takes place in two ways – Boss Battles and Fulfilling Causes.

The game is won when all Causes have been fulfilled on the final square, Where We Stand.

The game is truly won when all players realise the navigation of the LGBTQIA+ movement based on the different intersections of caste, class, gender, sexual orientation, and biological sex.

The LGBTQIA+ movement wins when these players keep these ideas in mind in their approach to the movement.



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In the making of this game, numerous news sources such as the Times of India, The Indian Express, the Hindu, and Frontline were consulted. The news articles are cited alongside the events that they refer to on the sample cards.


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