Socializing is difficult, and personally, I try to avoid it. When I do find myself — however accidentally — at a gathering with others, I start in with the usual pleasantries. A bit about my job, company, credentials, and pedigree seems to go over well. But from there, I often start to wonder what's happening online. Which memes or what content might be swirling around in the cloud, gathering steam in my various feeds. Who, for the love of god, is liking my photos?
While technology has the power to bring us together, I have started to notice that it can also, like, isolate us. Sometimes, I can see that others around are itching to check their devices, and sometimes they even do so!
Frequently, a parlor or board game can help spark a little semi-organic interaction. Still, that can leave me cold, having only learned about, I don't know, someone's resource preferences in Settlers of Catan.
What if, instead, individual players and their personalities were a part of the game? That question is what led three tech workers, Kristen, James, and Cory, to quit their jobs at Twitter and Google and launch a Kickstarter for "Know Your Humans," a new game that's kind of like that. Specifically, they wrote to SFist to say that they "decided to devote [their] time to helping people unplug and connect face-to-face" rather than screen-to-screen.
Their game, the group says, "is like Truth or Dare, but re-imagined to bring people closer to one another through great conversation, creative co-op challenges and playful mini-games... "It’s unique among tabletop games in that it puts the focus on the players themselves more than the game, so by the end strangers become friends, and friends become even closer."
You just grab a card from the deck of 53 in one of three categories: Question cards with silly prompts, action cards that ask you to perform *cool* challenges, and battle cards that inspire you to engage in thought-provoking mini-games.
Cory, Kristen, and James just want $7,000 to create their card game, and they're well on their way with more than $3,000 pledged. Of course, that doesn't seem like the end goal. The game is part of their company, Lost Ritual, which has been planning events and other kinds of in-person, structured fun and bonding.
"Although light-hearted and whimsical, our products are grounded in the latest research on human happiness," they write. "We draw upon powerful components of connection such as gratitude, vulnerability, and self expression during the design process. We then extensively field test our products to ensure that they meet our standards of pure fun as well as depth."
We wish them luck, and certainly this won't be the last we'll hear of a new generation deciding that technology is not always good for them, and trying to get back to the fundamentals of human life and stuff. And maybe it'll be like the next Cards Against Humanity, except for nice, earnest people who don't want to talk about masturbating into a pool of children's tears, and such.