'The Period Game' is here to bust menstruation myths

Aunt Flow, girl flu, shark week, code red, that time of the month.

There are plenty of “code words” used to describe a woman’s period.

But two Rhode Island School of Design students want women to start calling “it” what it really is.

“I learned about periods first from my mom,” Daniela Gilsanz, 23, told Refinery29. “But then, in 5th Grade health class, our teacher made us chant ‘vagina’ as loud as we could… it was a little shocking… it definitely helped lighten the mood and make us all more OK to say words we weren’t that comfortable with. I don’t think I realized how lucky a learning environment that was and impact it had on the way I approach periods, until way later.”

That realization led her and her 23-year-old business partner, Ryan Murphy, to come up with a board game called The Period Game.

Talking to Teen Vogue Gilsanz said, “We both remember how menstruation was taught in school – everyone was so afraid of it, so afraid to ask questions. We want to change that.”

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Their goal with the game is to change the way tweens are taught about periods, making it into a fun and positive learning experience.

Here’s how it works:

Before the game begins, players choose one of five pawns: a pad, underwear, menstrual cup, tampon or super tampon.

Sitting in the middle of the white, pink and red circular board game are two ovaries. Players spin the ovaries until a marble comes out. Three marbles are clear and one is red, which serves as the metaphorical period. Clear marbles allow players to move forward a space while red marbles send you to the next “period” space.

Along the way, players collect protection, preparation and specialty cards – like “Oops… You Leaked. Go to the nurse’s office and skip next turn” and “Take a cozy hot bath. Play this card when you land on PMS” – that teach them everything about menstrual cycles, feminine products and more.

If a player gets confused about what they’re reading, they can consult a reference guide that will give further explanation.

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The objective of the game is to be the first one to make it around the circle and finish your period.

“It’s designed in a way that a lot of the game play is based on chance so there is no embarrassment associated with not coming in first,” Gilsanz told Fusion“However, it is still fast-paced, fun – and a little competitive. We think it’s great when someone can excitedly shout, ‘I need a tampon!’ very loudly in the middle of the game.”

Feedback to the game has been mixed.


The game has won a Red Dot Design award, an accolade that recognizes the best in design and business. Gilsanz and Murphy are in the process of securing partners that will help take their board game to market.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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