A BOARD game centred around the first Cymdeithas yr Iaith protest in Aberystwyth is set to be released to mark the event’s 60th anniversary.

’63 is a board game centred on the Pont Trefechan protest organised by the Welsh Language Society in 1963.

This event saw members of the society gather at Trefechan Bridge in Aberystwyth to block the way in response to a radio lecture given by playwright Saunders Lewis about the fate of the Welsh Language.

The lecture, prompted by statistics showing the proportion of Welsh speakers had declined to only 26 percent of Wales’ population, led to the establishment of Cymdeithas yr Iaith and a number of protests across the country.

Trefechan protest Cymdeithas yr Iaith
The protest on Trefechan Bridge was Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s first (Geoff Charles/National Library of Wales)

Ted Parry and Ianto Hammonds, designers of the game, were inspired after Ted had studied Welsh politics at Aberystwyth University. Speaking to the Cambrian News, Ted said: “’63 is a two or three-player game that takes as its central idea Welsh politics from the early 1960’s onward. It’s a game of pure skill, in that it does not use dice or cards or any other chance mechanisms. It’s played across a stylised map of Wales, with the rail network closely approximating the shape of the network as it was before the ‘Beeching axe’.”

The game will see its players represent either the Welsh national movement, the socialist movement and Labour Party, or the Conservative Party and British state.

Ted explained that coming up with the idea for the game wasn’t as simple as some might think. He said: “It’s kind of a process, the two of us were working on a different game together and it just didn’t work, it was too complicated. But that went a long way to allow us to make a game which does work.

“When I was studying we played a few games but before that it had never occurred to me that gaming could be a way for people to get involved with politics.”

The pair have now been play testing the game for 18 months and soon hope to open their Kickstarter for people to support the project.

“We’re running a Kickstarter in September. For people who buy the game, we hope to get the game to them by 2 February next year, the 60th anniversary of the protest. However, there will be opportunity to play the game sooner than that. We are giving a teaching copy to Gamepark in Aberystwyth in the next few weeks for people to learn how to play the game.”

The pair also plan to do a tour of Wales, offering people the chance to play through the game with them. “We will be travelling round Wales doing public and recorded play-throughs. However, this will be announced closer to the time on our social media.”