Fair Trade was designed with the theme first principle to illustrate the relation between producers and consumers from a fair trade perspective. So how well does the game do this?
From the producer perspective, it shows the relation between high costs and fair production. The more you invest in environment, salaries etc., the more fair is your production. However, in the real world there is a threshold that a producer must reach to earn the fair trade mark whereas in the game, there is a bidding procedure, where you may end up investing a lot of money and still not earn any fair trade mark.
From the consumer perspective, it shows that you have to pay more for fair trade goods. Again, the game has a bidding procedure rather than a threshold for buying fair trade goods, making the highest bidder the "most fair consumer".
However, one can also argue that commodity speculation eliminates all such thresholds - the prices
are simply too fluctuating to predict and it's often the farmers that end up on the losing side of the deal by
not getting a fair return on their investments so in that sense, Fair Trade is thematic.
The different player symbols (animals) and market symbols (fruits and vegetables) are more linked to the theme. The animals are all endangered due to our way of living whereas most of the fruits and vegetables are produced in developing countries where our consumption pattern may make a difference.
Hopefully the main message of the game comes through: fair trade products are more expensive for a reason and we as consumers must be prepared to pay a higher price to contribute to a better world.