Witness is a collection of artificial islands floating on the ocean of a climate-ravaged Earth, but more than that, it is a collection of possible futures for humankind.
While deeply interconnected, each of Witness’s habitats, or “distrikts” is guided by its own unique philosophy and outlook. You might think some of these distrikts are paradise, and you might think others are a dystopia. But on some level they must all find a way to survive the challenges of an uncertain world.
Which future will you choose?
Working together, our collective can achieve anything- if we feel like it. The Assembly is the ultimate artistic collective, with no need for archaic, centralised structures that place power in the hands of a few. Instead of taxation, there is crowdfunding. Instead of banks, there is a form of socialised blockchain. The Assembly is a place where each individual is expected to be a polymath, working collectively for the common good. But issues that can’t summon public interest are at risk of neglect. If everyone pursues their passion, who will deal with the most boring dangers?
Monastic life for Industry 4.0. The Covenant is an enormous floating monastery, and in terms of economic productivity it outstrips Witness’s most intense industrial collectives and its most laissez-faire capitalists. The Covenants fraternities and sororities are inspired by the Benedictine tradition, working to bring themselves closer to serenity, and to ensure the economic sustainability of the Covenant itself. The wealth of that work goes not towards the owners of production, or to be parcelled out piecemeal among the workers themselves, but to the ultimate glory of God. It’s a system built on the faith of its citizens- but how can that system deal with doubt?
Providing for everyone’s needs, no matter how much bureaucracy it takes. On paper Hygge gets everything right- and Hygge makes sure that everything is down on paper. Every citizen has their basic needs met- accommodation, power, water, food, healthcare. Nobody goes without. The economy as a whole, thanks to prudent public investment, shows steady if unexciting growth. Hygge is stable and prepared for every foreseeable eventuality- but can they adapt to unforeseeable?
Play the game!
The Witness card game lets you build your ideal economy and government, imagining viable alternatives for societies, economies and technologies against the backdrop of a global climate crisis, and testing it against real world restrictions.
Witness was never meant to be an online-only project. We’re looking for ambassadors to host local games around the world. As a host you will invite and engage players in the world of Witness, but you will also document the games and the discussions and ideas that arise from them.
Witness tournaments are an opportunity to build your utopian society and set it against real world challenges, testing your ideas through play and discussion. Part card tournament, part roundtable, Witness is a project to find real solutions through play. Check out our opportunities to play online, or to register for local events!
Witness is a rich and fascinating sci-fi world. Underlying Witness: the Game is a robust wiki of worldbuilding. So much of the minutiae of a society, especially its economics, are sketched out in more detail than most fictional universes. But this lore isn’t set in stone: it’s open source, and we want as many storytellers and artists as possible to help build it! Take part in our writing competition. Come add to the lore and the human stories of Witness.