Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Mix index cards and sorrow to make game

Sad Things on Index Cards is a tiny RPG/Storytelling Game/social activity by Ben Wray and Marshall Miller. The closest thing I can classify it as is a Game Poem but it has less context than I’m used to seeing in a Game Poem, which seem to have some kind of narrative involved.

The game consists of either writing down sad things on blank index cards or editing sad things written down on index cards to make them sadder. At the end of the game, you give cards to other players for them to read later.

I have to admit, when I first read Sad Things on Index Cards, my first reaction was ‘Man, why didn’t I write this?’

While my initial opinion of Game Poems was pretty meh, they have really grown on me. To my mind, the object of a Game Poem is evoke a specific emotional response. Which could be sorrow or wonder or humor or even boredom. 

Sad Things on Index Cards strips away any kind of story and goes straight to the emotion. In fact, it seems less like a Game Poem than the skeleton of a Game Poem, like a model that you can slap any set of clothes on. It’s like a protoplasm Game Poem :D

I can see a lot of fun and value in both using the game as a framework to create a narrative and to just play it as is. It is such a simple idea but I think has a lot of potential and replay value, as well as being an easy entry for folks who aren’t used to unconventional game designs. 

Sad Things on Index Cards is a super simple game that fits on one piece of paper and takes just a few pilfered office supplies to play. However, there’s brilliance in that simple little design.

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