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Votes for Women’s second board game print run stymied by banned Facebook ads

Publisher disappointed at Meta’s lack of communication over repeated banning with no explanation.

Screenshot of Votes for Women board game from BoardGameGeek user Scott Mansfield
Image credit: Scott Mansfield/BoardGameGeek

Votes for Women’s publisher is fighting a baffling spree of Facebook advertisement bans for the second run of the historical board game. The social media platform owned by Meta has left all parties involved completely in the dark.

As reported by BoardGameWire, Fort Circle Games has tried in vain to advertise a second print run of the excellent two-player title since the beginning of 2024, but every paid sponsored post is immediately denied. Founder Kevin Bertram told BoardGameWire in an interview automated messages informed him the denials could be caused by his ad’s “sensitive social issues that could influence how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation”.

Facebook implemented this automated message following the 2016 US elections and now requires users to verify their identity and disclose who is paying for the ostensibly political advertisement. That’s all well and good, but Votes for Women is funding a modest board game reprint and not running for public office, and yet the team is nonetheless snagged in the massive platform’s net.

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Bertram attempted to contact Facebook for more information and requested reviews on all the flagged ads, but those too have been denied so he can’t be sure whether a human or some overzealous AI has torpedoed the posts. “We are missing out on a huge potential audience and this may cost us as much as $60,000 in funds raised,” Bertram told BoardGameWire. “Most Kickstarter creators will tell you that Facebook advertising is a crucial piece of the crowdfunding puzzle.”

Votes For Women is a genuinely excellent board game, designed by political activist and communications strategist Tory Brown, that pits two players as opposing sides during the US’ suffrage movement. One player rallies the states to ratify women’s right to vote, while the opposing side embodies the hegemonic forces standing against progress. Cards and implements do a wonderful job teaching the lived experience of suffragettes and activists in the 19th and 20th centuries without bogging down the tight competitive tug-of-war over territory and influence.

The Kickstarter campaign for Votes for Women's second printing runs through January 26th, and a free-to-play version is available online through Rally the Troops’ website. It’s a bitter sort of irony that a board game steeped in the history of enfranchisement would be shot down by Meta, a company with a long history of manipulating political messaging across the globe. Dicebreaker reached out to the social media giant but did not hear back before publication.

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