Another story created for the same prompt as the one in the first video
What is Situations?
Situations is a game where you and your friends (or acquaintances, or classmates, or family, or mortal enemies) construct the situation of a story together, taking turns adding people, events, places, and so on, and then each player writes their own story by interpreting the web of relationships they just created! It's a way to get creative with your friends, help you find time to write, or force the people around you to figure out how exactly a shark would go to university.
Since the cards are just combinations of nouns and relationships, they can also be used in lots of other ways besides the game printed in the rulebook. Situations can be used as:
- A brainstorming tool for stories
- A prompt generator for improv
- A tool for generating roleplaying game scenarios
- A tool to generate writing prompts for the classroom
- Who knows what else?
How do you play?
It's pretty simple. Everyone (up to 6 people) gets a hand of cards. Most of these cards are blue noun cards - people, places, things, or events. A starting player puts one down, and then players take turns adding noun cards by answering the questions on the sides of the cards.
Players can also use adjective cards (either played with a noun card or on a separate turn) to add flavor to the game.
There are also special cards: And cards and Is A cards. These let you say things like "the Villain is a Ghost" or "The Mentor has a Mullet and a Motorcycle."
The players then use their imaginations to fill out the bare-bones ideas of the prompt into a unique story, written on an index card. If there's a villain preventing a marriage, who is the villain? What makes them villainous? How are they preventing it? (They don't need to use the words on the cards - the cards refer to the concepts that each story should have.)
After everyone has finished writing their stories, the players shuffle the index cards and each person reads a story, keeping secret whether it's their own or someone else's. When all the stories have been read, the players vote on whose story is the favorite, and whoever wrote the most popular story wins the round!
How did this game get created?
Situations sprung fully-formed out of the forehead of Noa Chazan, a recent graduate of University of Maryland's graphic design program. She made the first version for an interaction design class in the fall of 2017, but found that people responded so well to it that she couldn't stop working on it. She has continued developing it since then, playtesting it with friends and strangers alike and getting advice and feedback from a group of luminaries including her interaction design professor Liese Zahabi, fanfiction scholar Alexis Lothian, professional Twitter bot maker Nora Reed, and Noa's 10-year-old cousin Roza (Roza wanted players to have to write persuasive essays for why their story was the best, but after significant playtesting, we decided to nix that feature).
The concept for the game was inspired by Noa not having written anything since her high school creative writing class (Sorry, Ms. Plotinsky!) combined with a deep love of generative art, Twitter bots, and microfiction. Noa figured that the methods used by computers to mash up concepts in Twitter bots and generative art projects could be done with intention by humans to make interesting and evocative ideas. The writing transforms these ideas into stories that reflect the imaginations of each individual player!
A few Situations creations
What's in the box?
(Approximately - design and exact card list is not final)
130 Tarot (2.75" x 4.75") size cards
- 80 noun cards
- 32 adjective cards
- 6 And cards
- 8 Is A cards
- 2 blank noun cards
- 2 blank adjective cards
- December: Crowdfunding
- January: Manufacturing
- February: Shipping to us
- March: Shipping from us to you
- 3,000: Cards come in 2-section boxes along with a pack of 3x5 index cards for writing stories on
- 5,000: We'll add themed expansions, allowing you to customize your game to focus on your favorite type of stories, from realistic fiction to sci-fi to fantasy to horror
Everyone who believed in me and helped me, including
- The University of Maryland Graphic Design faculty, especially Liese Zahabi and Mal Jones
- Dr. Alexis Lothian
- Nora Reed
- Delia Harris, who helped me put this campaign together
- Steven Bower and Aaron Cherian, who even let me use their voices and words in the video
- Everyone who has played my game so far
- Everyone who is going to play my game in the future
Risks and challenges
As a recent graduate, I don't have any professional experience mass-producing and shipping a game. But I do have a network of faculty members with experience delivering on projects, including successfully on Kickstarter, who I will be drawing on heavily.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)