Rising Waters – Print & Play PDF Edition


Press Product Code: CMUP102e


A Scholarship and Lore: Games for Learning Series Game of Central Michigan University Press

It’s Spring, 1927. While Americans dance the Charleston and drink bootlegged liquor, the Mississippi Delta faces a flood of epic proportions. If battered river levees collapse, everything important to you will be washed away.

RISING WATERS is a cooperative board game built around area control, set collection, and variable player power mechanics where players experience life through the lens of African American plight. In the game, you will confront two forces – racism from white landowners and the power of nature. Persevere by drawing on your community’s courage and strength from your family, church, music, farming, and education.  Can you manage the rising waters to stay alive?

RISING WATERS is a 2-4 player game of the strength of community, methods of resistance, and the struggle against nature suitable for both classroom use and casual play from Central Michigan University Press.

2-4 Players      60-90 Minutes      Ages 14 & Up

Educational goals

RISING WATERS helps educators expand the perspective of the 1920s. The game centers African Americans to help players understand and empathize with their plight during the 1920s environmental disaster. Racism appears in the game through the appearance of Landowner cards like “threats,” “force,” and “race hatred.” Since landowners also controlled the labor in the area, the cards include “job offers,” which players can use to build or raise levees to protect from floodwaters. As another source of protection, relief camps helped African Americans gain access to relief supplies but were also some of the most racist spaces during the crisis.

Yet African Americans weren’t solely victims in the 1927 flood–as always, they maintained a sense of agency and sources of power to survive. In the game, this comes from the Community cards, which include blues, farm animals, church, garden, family, and education cards. The cards help players upgrade their abilities during the game as well as resist racism. RISING WATERS serves as a powerful illustration of the difficulty of African American lives in the Jim Crow South. Through the game, students and teachers will be able to have challenging conversations about the endemic nature of racism and how it complicates life during a crisis.


The print and play version of the game comes with 9 PDFs containing the following items ready to print:

  • File 1: 100 Card Community Deck
  • File 2: 10 Community Goal Cards
  • File 3: Both the 1926 and 1927 Versions of the Game Board
  • File 4: Printable Game Components (including Blue Water Level Tokens, Brown Levee Tokens, Raft Tokens, Blue Flood Hexes, Relief Camp Hexes, and a listing of additional components that will need to be sourced elsewhere)
  • File 5: 100 Card Landowner Deck
  • File 6: Loose Cards (the First Player Marker and the Player Aid Cards)
  • File 7: 36-page Game Manual
  • File 8: 6 Player Boards
  • File 9: 77 Card Weather Report Deck
  • Game Design and Development: Scout Blum
  • Game Card Art: Lamaro Smith
  • Layout Design and Editing: Andrew D. Devenney, Associate Director, Center for Learning through Games and Simulations, Central Michigan University
  • Copy Editing: Jennifer Peterson


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