What Is Origin?
Part trivia, part poker, Origin pits buffs against bluffs in a game where collusion and charisma trample the truth for personal benefit. It's been said that if you can master this game, you can run a country. Not an important country, but still... nice to know.
The cards represent historical events, and the object is to win other players' cards by proving your event occurred closest to the date of the judge's event. Of course, since you'll rarely have the right card, the game isn’t about what you’ve got -- it's about what other players think you’ve got. Make it convincing.
How To Play
- Flex your brain to align obscure historical events with your own knowledge
- Bluff and manipulate your way to ill-gotten gains
- Reverse the rules of the game in any given round, using the marker card
- Use your position strategically to control how many points are won
- Learn stuff by accident!
60-Second Gameplay Clip:
These fine folks are debating "the invention of the umbrella" vs. "the discovery of popcorn" as they relate to the judge's "invention of the thermometer" card.
For a lengthier gameplay audio experience, check out this guest appearance on the Pitchwerks podcast (game action starts around 12mins in).
Why are you making this game?
It seems there's no better time than the present to give folks a first-hand glimpse into how easily history can be distorted, which is not often clear when the information we consume in our daily lives comes from seemingly authoritative sources. Basically, Origin is a sandbox for fostering skepticism and critical thinking, which have been core themes throughout my life's work.
Have you created any any games before?
Yes, I co-developed a debate-based game for the transportation sector. I also have experience in instructional design, wherein games are often used to test knowledge. When I reference "we" regarding this project, the other person I'm referring to is the magnificent Matt Strayer, who built our online answer key.
Are there other games like this?
If you’ve played Apples to Apples, you’ll find Origin’s gameplay is somewhat similar with a few major exceptions: 1) the judge has a selfish role rather than an honorable one, and has comparatively little power due to the presence of an actual answer key, and 2) because players can debate and fold, there is a far greater degree of in-game strategy.
If you’ve played Timeline, you’ll find the date-based trivia theme to be familiar, though Origin’s gameplay is significantly more interactive and strategic.
Where does the game get its answers from?
"The Archives", as we call it, are sourced from Wikipedia. This was intentional, as it maintains the subjective nature of the game (Wikipedia's information is neither permanent nor authoritative, yet millions rely on its veracity). In some cases, the card's event itself may be described in a way that is open to interpretation, depending upon how argumentative you’d like to be.
Will I like this game if I'm not good at trivia or bluffing?
Being a part of the action is always entertaining, whether you're in the thick of it or observing from the sidelines. That said, luck is an equalizing factor in this game, so you still stand a chance to win. As long as you like poker, you should be able to enjoy Origin without a brain full of trivial knowledge or a soul full of darkness.
Can I play this without a smartphone?
You'll need either a phone or a nearby computer, but you don't need to download or sign up for anything. The answer key is publicly available on our website. Note there is an alternative way to play the game without an internet connection, which we discuss further in the FAQ section.
Won't this game get old once I learn all the dates?
I've played this game many times now, and even as its creator, I am frequently mistaken when I think I know the dates. Origin's gameplay is designed so that each round presents a unique timeline, and we calculated the number of cards needed to give the game as much replay value as standard Trivial Pursuit. And if you do manage to memorize 120+ important historical dates, isn't that worth $25? You paid a hundred grand to go to college and didn't learn a damn thing.
What's The Plan?
We've been working on this game since 2017, and are happy to say it is now in its final phase; that is, while it's not yet hooked up to ship around the globe in mass quantities, it is indeed a finished game that you can purchase and play.
After producing multiple prototype versions, we landed on the best design & materials, and ordered six copies. In that quantity, each game costs us nearly $50 to produce -- and that's where Kickstarter comes in.
If folks like the idea of Origin and support it on Kickstarter, it solves both sides of our production dilemma: we'd have the funding to produce the game in bulk (which lowers the production cost to ~$10), and we'd have the demand to ensure that we can actually sell those decks to people. Pretty simple!
Of course, we have some grander plans...
The obvious path to Origin's world domination is also the most frequent feedback we got: make more trivia categories. Also known as expansion packs, these additional decks would each dig into a specific category (as opposed to the current deck's general knowledge trivia). What's cool about the way we designed Origin and its online answer key is that you will be able to mix & match expansion packs... if you've got the Romance Movies edition and someone else has the Baseball edition, you'll be able to shuffle those bad boys together and play one unique game.
Last but not least, because there's an online component already, it makes perfect sense to develop this game as a phone app. The good news is, we have experience developing apps, and know a firm who actually turns card games into apps. The bad news is that because we have this background, we know how expensive it is to do, and what kind of success we need to show with the physical game before we can negotiate a dive into the virtual world. So, first things first: sell a card game in real life.
How Can I Support It, And What's In It For Me?
There are plenty of ways to back the project, with any pledge over $25 resulting in you getting the full-fledged game! Check out your options below:
The #1 question we got in playtesting was, "can you make a version for (x)?" '90s pop culture, Shakespeare, sports, WWII... we will happily produce a series of expansion packs -- and they will be interoperable with the original game, not just different editions. This is your chance to vote on which categories come next! You'll also snag a digital copy of our Washington In Space box art, by Josh Perry.
The Kickstarter Edition of Origin is special in a few ways: 1) it has a sweet thank-you card identifying it as the first edition; and 2) I am personally taking on debt (i.e. placing your order before Kickstarter gives me your $) to produce and ship your game in time for the holidays. Keep your loved ones warm this winter with the gift of hot air and heated debate!
Same sitch as the $25 tier, but double the pleasure.
For those of us who are in it to win it, this 3-game reward also comes with my secret Tips & Tricks video, offering insights from playtesting and details that only I know as the game's creator. If your idea of game night is less about having fun and more about crushing competition, you'll want to be one of the 250 folks in the world with this behind-the-scenes knowledge.
Origin has been influenced by (and lauded by) innovative high school teachers. This 5-game pack allows an entire classroom to play and learn. In addition, I'm offering a 30-minute video call to discuss how you can best use this game in class, based on insights from our participating educators.
Got some budget dollars burning a hole in your pocket? Origin is about as unique as client gifts get, and is also a great tool for professional development. In addition, I'm offering a 30-minute video call as an ex-sales trainer to break down how Origin can sharpen your team's selling skills.
Who's the boss? You are! At the $1,999 level, we'll design you a 1-of-1 game based on any trivia category (or categories?) of your choosing. The history of your company? Your family tree? As long as you can point us to reference material, we can crank out a version just for you. (To tide you over, we'll send a standard Origin game in the meantime while you await production of your custom edition.)
Your support is supremely appreciated... if you have any questions outside of the FAQ page, you can find me on most social media platforms as @mitchturck. Thank you!
Risks and challenges
Risks should be minimal given that we took on debt to manufacture the game ahead of the campaign's conclusion -- i.e., we already have the games sitting at a U.S. fulfillment center, ready to ship to you once we receive your address. To ensure we don't bite off more than we can chew, we are only shipping to the U.S. (no customs, VAT or address issues) and have set reward delivery dates we know we can hit.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)