When we first played M@NDAYS, we had no rules, and we didn’t know what to expect. We had no way to prepare anyone for what was to come. Product testing has been extremely fun and very informative. I want to share with you the experiences that led to the Mandates and explain why each are important to the outcome of the game.
1) Be playful and respectful. Every person you meet is fighting an internal struggle. Don't make it worse.
This is a value that our group already shares, but it’s a necessary component. There’s a fine line between challenging social boundaries and being offensive. The point of a game is for everyone playing to have fun, so it should never be one-sided. When playing, be mindful of how people respond. If a question makes someone uncomfortable, be prepared to move on to the next. If this Mandate is observed, you may all be able to set aside your internal struggles, if only for a brief while.
2) Ask before you play. Give people a chance to say no. Not everyone you meet will be in the mood or willing to play.
We stumbled through the introduction for M@NDAYS for quite a while. It took some time before we were able to clearly communicate what the game is about and what people should expect. We’ve found that the most effective way to ask involves some variation of, “We like to play a game that asks participants deeply personal questions and challenges them to make accurate predictions about how other players will answer. Would you like to play?”
Most people we’ve asked to play have agreed, but even after fine-tuning our presentation, some have been apprehensive...and that’s ok. Again, games are meant to be fun, not forced. Whether they’re in a bad mood or just tired of putting up with bs from strangers, thank them for their consideration and ask someone else. You never know, their curiosity may compel them to join you as a player instead of the dealer. It happened in one of our experiments.
There were also occasions early on where we would just bust into the game (without cards) during casual conversation with people. This immediately confuses them and limits the excitement of playing. We found that people are much more responsive and engaged when they were introduced to the game and asked to play before the first prediction is made. Follow this Mandate, and you’ll maximize your experience.
3) No penalties for anyone refusing to answer. No shaming. No consequences. No argument.
This is the newest addition to the Mandates, as it’s one that is important to the success of gameplay outside our group. When we started thinking about others playing M@NDAYS, it became very conceivable that people will respond differently from what we’ve experienced. We represent a very small sample size in what we hope will become a much larger experiment in connecting people through play. M@NDAYS was designed to push social boundaries to encourage meaningful discussion about the subtle differences and profound similarities between participants. It’s meant to challenge stereotypes and create a playful atmosphere where people can learn more about each other.
That said, it’s necessary to acknowledge that some people don’t want their social boundaries pushed. They don’t find excitement outside of their comfort zone, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s human nature. Let them play and respect when they don’t feel comfortable answering a question. At the end of the game, you’ll likely find that they told you things they didn’t expect they’d reveal. Then again, they may answer every question, and you’ll never know that they’re an otherwise private person.
4) When a quorum is present, Manday commences with a single shot for everyone at the start of the game. After that, no more shots - no matter what.
In our first night playing the prototype, we had no intention of ordering shots. We all had work the next day, so we didn’t even expect to be out late. But as the night progressed, M@NDAYS really took off, and it started a wave of excitement that we rode farther than we thought possible. What started as a few pints and some happy hour appetizers became hours of laughs and unique experiences.
By the end of the night, the collective mood was celebratory, so it wasn’t surprising when one of our friends ordered a round of shots. That shot didn’t hurt as much the next day as the two shots that followed. Emotion often clouds judgment, so we set a rule - with the majority of members present and before playing the first card, each player shall consume one shot of their choosing and no more for the remainder of the evening. You can enjoy whatever else you like, but after shot one, shots are done.
5) No work or relationship talk. You're in this for fun. Leave your frustrations at the door - you can take them with you when you leave.
We usually relax this Mandate before we start because many of our friends are current or former military BioMeds, so they always have interesting stories to share; however, upon commencement of the experiment, participants should refrain from discussing work or relationship frustrations. Some M@NDAYS questions ask about a player’s job or relationship status. For these, players should only reveal the specific information requested by the card. To make the most of your time together, commit to having fun. You can carry your burdens with you when you leave, if you choose to do so.
6) Tip well. When playing with someone in the service industry, money won during the game is not a tip. You're about to make their day, and they'll talk about your group long after you're gone. Make a good impression.
This is the only conditional Mandate, appropriate when playing at a bar or other location where service industry representatives are working to ensure you have a good time. As stated in the instructions, you should first agree whether you will pay the dealer for correct responses or award them points. Either way, you should first assure them that their participation will in no way jeopardize their gratuity. Declining the invitation to play should also have no impact on their tip. If you decide as a group that money will be awarded during the game, don’t count how much has been won and don’t withhold it from the gratuity. That money was spent enhancing the quality of your game and should be considered an entertainment expense. It’s money well spent for the memories you’ll make and the quality of service you’ll receive. You’re also likely to leave a lasting impression.
We’ve also discussed adding a Mandate to keep a financial hardship from preventing someone from joining Mandays. The group would simply divide their portion evenly and cover it. Unfortunately, our friends are often too proud to let others pay for their attendance. There have also been situations where doing so may create a conflict in their relationship, as it would appear unfair that one spouse would be able to enjoy an evening out while the other could not. We all need to take care of things at home first before we can enjoy everything that life has to offer.Do you have any Mandates you’d like to see added or ones that you’ve found necessary in your group? Tell us in the comments below.