Stack the Deck

Most card games rely on random luck of the draw to create challenge and excitement, and though you’re free to shuffle our games, I highly recommend you stack the deck. That’s because our games are designed to playfully push social boundaries, and taking someone out of their comfort zone is best done incrementally. Both the Wingman and M@NDAYS starter packs have questions that range from casual conversation to deeply personal, and when you’re meeting someone new, starting with a deeply personal question can sometimes make people uncomfortable, creating the opposite effect of what you intended.

When our first professionally-made M@NDAYS prototype arrived, we were so excited to try it out that we didn’t pay attention to the order of the cards, so in our first game, the first two cards drawn were the most inappropriate. I’ve never been nervous playing M@NDAYS...except for that day. We were playing with the owners of a bar, who were husband and wife, and I was convinced that the first two cards were going to get us kicked out.

To my surprise, they not only answered our questions, but they actually had fun doing so. That’s when I realized that we really should have chosen the order of the cards. Thankfully, we didn’t offend anyone, but we actually achieved the opposite effect. This playfully inappropriate couple started referring to M@NDAYS as “that dirty game” and wanted to push the line further. We got lucky that we chose two playful people to play, but we also inaccurately set their expectations about the upcoming questions, which was like putting the climax of a story before the opening scene. They were ready for a sequel before the game had really begun.

Since then, I’ve experimented with the placement of these two wild cards. Sometimes I’ll place them at the end, and other times I’ll move one of them closer to the top if we’re looking for an early spark of excitement. Surprisingly, we’ve only had two people ever refuse to answer one or both of these because they just didn’t know us well enough yet (though they bought the game to share with their friends). If I had only placed them a few cards lower in the deck...

The lesson here is to stack the deck with socially acceptable cards toward the top and more personal cards toward the bottom. This is especially important if you are mixing cards from multiple starter packs to customize your experience. Experiment with people. That’s the spirit of our games, but expect that not everyone will react the same. That’s the unpredictable nature of an experiment. Have fun gaming, and stay playful!

Do you have a strategy for stacking the deck? Have you ever regretted not doing so? We’d love to hear about your experience. Tell us below and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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