House Rules

The spirit of our games is rooted in the belief that everyone has a story to tell. We all have unique experiences with the human condition that shape who we are, so we designed the predictions in our games to explore the individual perspectives of each player. To embrace a wide variety of responses, the wording of some cards involves an intentional ambiguity that may require some house rules before playing.

The most notable examples from the M@NDAYS Starter Pack are the Tattoos, Surgery, and Athletics cards. To be clear, I have no intention of defining any of these for you because I have found that the collaboration in setting a house rule for a card is an intriguing and valuable process in the discovery of players’ personal values and beliefs. I will, however, offer some of the house rules we created in prior games to give you an idea of how house rules work and why they are important.

When predicting the number of tattoos a person has, we first establish what constitutes a single tattoo. We largely agree that a word, phrase, or image with a unique theme or design done in a single session is considered one tattoo. Any continuations or additions to that tattoo with the same theme or design is still part of the original tattoo, even if the additions were done in a separate session. We also established that two tattoos of different images or themes that were added in the same session would count as two. When we play, tattoo size is irrelevant. A tiny butterfly counts the same as a back piece. These definitions haven’t always been unanimous, but they have helped offer dealers guidance in preparing their responses.

The Surgeries and Athletics cards are slightly less complex but may require clarification before playing. The only defining characteristic we’ve placed on surgeries is that any procedure requiring anesthesia can be considered a surgery. That covers everything from oral and cosmetic surgeries to major procedures. We leave the rest to the discretion of the dealer. Even if they declare something that doesn’t adhere to our definition, we allow it because there’s a story there that they’re willing to share.

As for athletics, there are some people who enjoy a heated debate about the definition of the word “sport.” Is auto racing a sport? What about bowling? Golf? Cheerleading? Weightlifting? Dancing? Rock climbing? There are numerous activities in the history of human existence that require skill and athleticism. We’ve never disagreed with a dealer’s definition of a sport because we’re not looking for reasons to exclude their responses. As a former athlete, I personally enjoy hearing more about how those activities shaped their life.

These are just a few examples of cards you’ll encounter in our games that leave room for interpretation. Last night we celebrated another Manday by playing a round of The Sexperience Project with some of our favorite bartenders and servers. We invited some random patrons to share the experience and met Matt, an avid tabletop gamer (and Star Wars Trivial Pursuit phenom), whose background in software and competitive spirit compelled him to clearly define each card. If you’re as passionate about winning a game as he is (I know I can be), I have one piece of advice to share: play with the goal of connecting with people on a basic human level. Engage them in deep, meaningful conversations, laugh, and have fun. We’re all biologically wired to crave that type of positive personal interaction. That’s just another part of the human condition.

Are there any house rules you’re passionate about? Have you made any exceptions for a dealer? Share your experience with us below and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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