Facebook rejects ads for popular board game Votes for Women: ‘[It] may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation’

Votes for Women is a board game about the women’s suffrage movement in the late 19th and early 20th century USA. It’s both a card-driven strategy game and an educational tool to teach players about the struggle to ratify the 19th Amendment, and it proved popular enough that the first edition sold out. Historical board game publisher Fort Circle is currently crowdfunding a second edition on Kickstarter, which it tried to advertise on Facebook. “Tried” being the important word.

As BoardGameWire reports, Facebook rejected Fort Circle’s attempt to buy ads publicizing the Kickstarter with an automated response explaining it was because the ad “mentions politicians or is about sensitive social issues that could influence public opinion, how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation.” This form response includes an option to request a review of the decision, which was also rejected.

Perhaps someone should explain to Facebook’s owners at Meta that the 19th amendment guaranteeing American women the right to vote was ratified in 1920, and that Votes for Women is not likely to “impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation” unless one of the stretch goals includes a time machine.

While the videogame audience has cooled on Kickstarter, board game players remain enamored with the platform. Beyond its ability to raise money, Kickstarter remains a valuable tool for publicizing board games. As Fort Circle’s founder Kevin Betram said, “The campaign is a modest success—we should finish at about $120,000—but we are missing out on a huge potential audience and this may cost us as much as $60,000 in funds raised. Most Kickstarter creators will tell you that Facebook advertising is a crucial piece of the crowdfunding puzzle.”

Tory Brown, designer of Votes for Women, added that, “If you’re concerned about the outsized role that huge corporations like Meta now play in who gets to be heard, consider joining or supporting an organization like the American Economic Liberties Project, Public Citizen, or the Open Markets Institute.”

The value of board games as educational tools goes way back, with even Monopoly beginning as an attempt to teach players about the single tax movement. More recently we’ve had Brenda Romero’s The Mechanic is the Message series including Train, and Academy Games’ Freedom: The Underground Railroad. The Kickstarter for the reprint of Votes for Women has already raised over $135,000 with 11 days to go. 

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