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Emerging out of NYC's improv movement, Humans Being is a belly laugh kind of game where anyone can feel good and be funny.
Emerging out of NYC's improv movement, Humans Being is a belly laugh kind of game where anyone can feel good and be funny.
Emerging out of NYC's improv movement, Humans Being is a belly laugh kind of game where anyone can feel good and be funny.
447 backers pledged $14,323 to help bring this project to life.

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Humans Being, an improv game where anyone can be funny.

$14,323

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Humans Being is a feel good, belly laugh kind of game. Players who have open imaginations, are creative, good at listening and guessing will get a lot out of it. And of course humans wishing to grow in these areas.

Created by Improv veterans Dennis Zavolock (Magnet, Esper Studio) and Amey Goerlich (Upright Citizens Brigade NYC, M.I. Westside Theatre) in collaboration with other talented improvisers, comedians and artists.   

The 9 decks have a life of their own and are packed with over 300 cards. 900+ unique cards were initially created, tested and edited. Of those we've selected the 300 best to be in the final set. 

Ways to play Humans Being Card Game  

Family Night - feel good, fun way to connect with family on a night off. Guaranteed to lift everyone's spirits.             

Parties - tons of twists and surprises in store. Your imagination's the limit.

Testimonials  

"The Human Beings Card Game is full of endless possibilities and hilarious results. I could play this anywhere/everywhere!" Megan Gray, Artistic Director, Magnet Theater

“This is the perfect party game! It gets you up and active and laughing the whole time.” Michael Lutton, NYC Improviser 

“Humans Being is more than a game: it is educational, entertaining and engaging. My acting students LOVE to play. I love that they are also learning how to be better improvisers and better human beings. If you teach Acting or Improv to any teens, you need to add this game to your curriculum ASAP.” Ben Hodge, Drama Teacher, Central York H.S.  

"I hope this is the next Cards Against Humanity and my cousins ask me to do Improv with them at xmas." Joe Wengert, Key & Peele, The New Girl, Krompf

“Was this Improv? All I know is that I won.” Dennis’s mom 

More testimonials further below…   

Origin Story  

Of all the giants who hold up my world, my mom is the chief. On a particularly cold, New York City night in my tiny studio apartment I found myself trying to explain to her what Improv was. "It's kinda like, Saturday Night Live, no but not really.” I started. “The Chappelle show!” I explained, “- or maybe, um, like you know when people just make stuff up on stage.” I continued, “Yes, yes that's it! It's like on-the-spot 'make em ups!' and it’s super fun and everyone laughs because they're in on the joke with you." 

She looked at me with this concerned look, as if I may have hit my head earlier that day. I hadn’t. I considered the idea of bringing out the Improv card game I'd been creating. At the time, it had about 60 cards with a simple setup, you tell the player up top the who/what/where of the scene (the context) and then give them a personal game or challenge to play in the scene.   

It was risky. What if she hated it? What if she hated it so much her hate leads her to anger and her anger leads her to the dark side and she turns into Darth mom? Explaining improv was worth taking that chance! What happened next blew my mind and set in motion the creation of Humans Being Card Game.

(Continued after How it Works and Giving Back)

Game setup
Game setup

How it Works

When we play games we find reading rules as impeding the fun, we just want to play as quickly as possible, so we put ours in comic book form and filmed a short rules video. A brief explanation of the game with examples of cards follows.

The Scene: Players split up into teams. Two players from one team go up and draw cards. First player draws a scene card (blue card in the middle). It has a blank for a suggestion and reveals the setup of the scene that the two players will be doing.   

Examples of scene cards
Examples of scene cards

Second card is the challenge (8 decks of white challenge cards surrounding the center scene deck). The challenge card is a secret and gives one of the players a personal game or challenge to play while acting out the short scene with his/her partner. Examples of challenge cards can be found further bellow. Scene length is 1-2min.  

Guessing: When time sounds, the team that's up guesses what the secret challenge was. Guessing is Family Feud style, with a chance for the opposing team to steal the point if guess is incorrect. The team that guesses correctly obtains the secret challenge card (gets a point). If no one guesses the challenge, neither team gets a point and category is still in play. 

Objective for your team is to collect at least one challenge from each of the 8 categories. More examples of challenges can be found bellow. There are 3 rounds of play, increasing the pace, with each round adding on more challenges. There are also variations to rules and not everyone is required to act out scenes.  

 Examples of Challenge Cards

Mime Card - includes things that you'd have to mime in the scene. Also known as Object Work.
Mime Card - includes things that you'd have to mime in the scene. Also known as Object Work.

 

Genre Card - travel through time, space & movies.
Genre Card - travel through time, space & movies.

 

Random - anything goes, let's get weird.
Random - anything goes, let's get weird.

 

Goal - something you must accomplish in your scene.
Goal - something you must accomplish in your scene.

 

Senses Card - sight, smell, sound, touch, feel.
Senses Card - sight, smell, sound, touch, feel.

 

Feelings - Act out different emotions and feelings.
Feelings - Act out different emotions and feelings.

 

Character - a type of person/thing or character traits.
Character - a type of person/thing or character traits.

 

Physical Card - explore your physicality.
Physical Card - explore your physicality.

Giving Back     

Although this was originally intended to be only a party game, we’ve also noticed that Humans Being inspires confidence and creativity in kids, when we brought it into schools and afterschool programs.  

For every 25 backers we will donate one game to a public school or non-profit afterschool program. If you have one to suggest, please get in touch. 

 

 Origin Story (continued from above) 

First generation of Humans Being
First generation of Humans Being

"Do you get it, mom? Do you understand how this game works?" I said, while nervously setting the clock on my phone for 90 sec.  

"Yeah, I get it,” she replied, “so, um, I can't share this card with anyone?"

"That's right,” I replied, “you just do this scene set-up with Marina (my sister) and do your challenge. Then we’ll try to guess what the challenge was. Just make eye contact before you start.”  

The clock was set for 90 seconds and my mom was unknowingly on the verge of doing her first improv scene. I was nervous, excited, and rooting for her like I've never rooted for anyone in my life.Then it began. A short pause for eye contact and my mom literally transformed before my eyes. 

I think the setup of the scene was a job interview and my mom was the Boss (of course). Her challenge was to act like the Queen and expect to be treated like one. Really simple. She took it so seriously and committed so hard to the challenge that I thought I was gonna die from laughter. She was hilarious. 

But let's put this night in the context of my life at the time. At the point of creating the first deck of this game about 4 years ago (which was only about 60 cards and before Amey got her creative writers brain involved), I was regularly performing at the Magnet Theater on a resident ensemble called Nintendo, a super talented troupe. During the 6 month run, my mom was only able to come to one show. As that night arrived, I had some of the greatest shows of my life. I was ecstatic after it was over and proudly asked her what she thought. She just kinda looked at me, gave me a smile and a little pat of encouragement. After having such a great show, I felt immediately deflated. 

 But tonight, Tonight!! This was something different. My mom was actually improvising! On her own. She'd never even taken a class. Holly Moly! And she was hilarious and crushing it. My whole family was crushing it, including my two sisters! After that initial experience both even enrolled in their first improv classes. My family can be super competitive so they took this game very seriously. I don't think we'd ever all finished Monopoly because one person would inevitably storm out, accusing everyone of teaming up against him/her. Come to think of it, my mom always won monopoly too. 

Funny thing is, for Humans Being, the more serious you are in the game, the funnier it becomes! What seemed like a far fetched dream, suddenly seemed like it could be a reality - that it’s possible for anyone to improvise and be funny, even my mom.  

 Testimonials   

“Fun, Challenging, Inspiring” Jacque Arend, Torch Theater  

“We all had fun! Funniest moment, ‘That is so New York’ scene in Round 2” Lauren Shellenbarger, Improviser

"The game was a big hit in class today. The way things turned out, we only had about 45 minutes to play, but it was loved by all. We kind of lost interest in keeping score, too. It was too much fun to just play." Tom Carrozza, New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts

"The Human Beings Card Game is full of endless possibilities and hilarious results. I could play this anywhere/everywhere!" Megan Gray, Artistic Director, Magnet Theater

"Consider this your Christmas present." Ameys Mom when she asked her to proof read the 900 Humans Being cards.

“This is the perfect party game! It gets you up and active and laughing the whole time.” Michael Lutton, Musical Megawatt Director, Magnet Theater  

“Humans Being is more than a game: it is educational, entertaining and engaging. My acting students LOVE to play. I love that they are also learning how to be better improvisers and better human beings. If you teach Acting or Improv to any teens, you need to add this game to your curriculum ASAP.”  Ben Hodge, Drama Teacher, Central York H.S.   

“As a coach & instructor - these cards can be incredibly useful for scenarios and inspirations… As an ensemble - these cards could really spice up a rehearsal… It can also make a fun party game…”  Jacque Arend, Torch Theater    

“Was this Improv? All I know is that I won.” Dennis’s mom

We hope to offer the game in two colors, black and purple.
We hope to offer the game in two colors, black and purple.

Meet the creators  

Humans Being Card Game was created by Dennis Zavolock (Magnet Theater, Esper Studio) and Amey Goerlich (15-year perfomer at Upright Citizens Brigade NYC, M.I. Westside Theatre), with designs by cartoonist Tristan Scolnick (Vice Media), logo by Marcus Bishop-Wright (instructor, People Improv Theatre) and website by Sean Taylor (instructor, Magnet Theater).  

Really, though, it's been a collaboration with about 15 talented improvisers, actors, and comedians. We all got involved in comedy for different reasons but we've stuck with it because we believe in this art form.

How Dennis & Amey came to collaborate  

Dennis & Amey first met in an improv class that Amey teaches called Krompf (named after her long time improv group from NYC). 

One day while traveling back home from class Dennis and Amey happened to be on the same train. Then they just happened to walk in the same direction to their homes. All of a sudden they were walking into the same building. Unbeknownst to them they were neighbors.  

It was a friendship that was meant to be from the very beginning. Dennis had been working on an improv card game in his spare time and had two types of decks. He invited Amey over to his house for tacos and a proposition (not what you think, both were in relationships at the time). He wanted her to help to make the game bigger, better and more fun. Amey dove right in and got to work on writing hundreds of new cards. 

Through playing and writing and re-writing they both discovered that they could take one of the decks and divide it into eight categories. After this, the game started to develop very quickly. For over a year now they have innovated and brought on other creators and designers. Getting this far could not have happened without the support of our friends and families and most of all our moms (PS Thanks Ameys mom for editing the cards). We thank you all for being a part of this journey we call Humans Being.

Stretch Rewards:

If you pledge for at least one Humans Being Card Game, you will also receive these rewards as we hit new levels.  

> $15,000 raised  

1. Lucky Backers: We’ll choose 25 of our backers at random and offer to host a party as per our $175 Funny Party Host reward. For each of the 25 lucky backers, a host with improv performance experience will come to you and lead a group of 10-20 of your friends, family or coworkers in a game of Humans Being. See reward for more detail. Does not include additional games.  

> $20,000 raised - Above reward x2 (50 lucky backers) and..  

2. Moms v. Dads: In the ultimate showdown and to prove once and for all which parent is funnier, we will produce a video with a contingent of 5 hilarious moms competing against 5 funny dads in an all out Humans Being Game. Our bet is on the moms (but only because we know our moms are reading this).  

> $30,000 raised - Above rewards plus...  

3. Black Plum: We will offer the game in two colors (your choice), black and plum. Personally we love both.  

Finally, along with our Stretch Rewards we will expand our Giving Back Promise.  

Our Current Giving Back Promise: For every 25 backers we will donate one game to a public school or nonprofit afterschool program.  Here’s how we’ll stretch this promise:    

> $15,000 - 1 game donation for every 20 backers  

> $30,000 - 1 game donation for every 15 backers

Risks and challenges

The biggest obstacle for us is to complete and package our game. Funding a bulk order takes capital resources but we will not be defeated and will make it happen. We are in negotiations to team up with Print Ninja for a bulk fulfillment order and expect it to be fulfilled by end of August 2017. We also have two other domestic printers standing by to help meet demand if necessary.

All images and finishing options are in prototype form and may change slightly. While we do not expect any major changes please be aware that the final product may vary slightly.

There are always risks and challenges with any Kickstarter project. However we have additional outside investors and are confident in our ability to deliver the product.

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    Thank you!

    Big Thank you email from our team! Also a personalized category card with your name in it. It will be an emailed version. Fun!

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    Mother's Day Special

    First Edition of Humans Being Card Game (Ages 7+). Available in U.S. only.

    Mother's Day is May 10th. You know you're funny, we know your mom is funny. Start an improv team with your mom is what we are saying. With Mother's Day approaching, what a great way make her laugh and bond with the family.
    (See our origin story for inspiration)

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    The Humans Being Deck (Early Bird)

    First Edition of Humans Being Card Game (Ages 7+)
    To order multiple decks, just add $22 for each extra deck you'd like. (extra shipping charges may apply)

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    The Humans Being Deck (Brunch Bird)

    First Edition of Humans Being Card Game (Ages 7+)
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    The Humans Being Card Game Deck

    First Edition of Humans Being Card Game (Ages 7+)
    To order multiple decks, just add $28 for each extra deck you'd like. (extra shipping charges may apply)

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    Two Humans Being Card Game Decks

    2 First Editions of Humans Being Card Game (Ages 7+)

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    2 First Editions of Humans Being Card Game (Ages 7+)

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    Humans Being Deck + Funny Party Host

    A $500 value. For home or office.
    1 First Edition of Humans Being Card Game (Ages 7+) plus a host with experience in applied improvisation will lead a group of 10-20 people in a game of Humans Being. We'll ease you and your group into a fun and exciting experience for all. Great for team-building, fostering creativity, parties or as an ensemble workshop. Dates, times and location are flexible and can be arranged after purchase.

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    HB Decks + Workshop for NY public school

    2 First Editions of Humans Being Card Game (Ages 7+) to you.
    1 First Edition of Humans Being Card Game to the drama or arts department of a New York Public School of your choice (incl. boroughs of Harlem, Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens)
    Plus 1 professional improviser will lead the kids in an Improv workshop, explain the basics and play the game with them.

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Funding period

- (33 days)