Molly House is a historical board game about queer joy

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In Molly House, players compete for queer joy against a backdrop of hate in 18th-century England. Acclaimed designer Cole Wehrle teams with rookie Jo Kelly for a daring new historical experience.

After more than a decade of unprecedented growth, the audience for tabletop games keeps getting more diverse. So too is the subject matter of popular games, which increasingly include environmental and even social themes. But absent a few notable exceptions, historical games — that is, games inspired by real-world historical events — have lagged somewhat behind, with designers seemingly satisfied to simulate the same conflicts over and over and over again in miniature. In 2021, a blue-ribbon panel of industry experts decided to do what they could to change that. As a result, the Zenobia Award was born.

Open to anyone from an underrepresented (non-white, non-male) group, “including women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people,” three winners received a cash award for their mechanical marvels based on novel historical themes. But the real gift was the promise of mentorship from those same judges.

Now one of the most outstanding and daring board game pitches made during the event will be brought to life soon thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign. Polygon recently sat down with the team behind Molly House, a hidden-role game set among the queer community in 18th-century England, to learn more.

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