Takes the phrase "waiting game" to a whole new level.
Class: Introduction to Narrative Design - 2018
Instructor: Clara Fernández-Vara
The Golden Card is a card/board game created in a little over a week by
Ian Ouellette, Michael Cleary, and Nick Carbonara, and based on Samuel Beckett’s famous play Waiting for Godot. It’s exactly as absurd as it sounds.
Building a game that evoked a play in which some say “nothing happens” and where the ending isn’t very satisfying meant we had to rethink how a game could be structured. We approached this challenge by centering ourselves on the aesthetics of the original play, the feeling of waiting, and the desperation of having to come up with something to do. Sometimes this meant we had to negotiate between making the game fun and making it true to the original play.
In the end, however, The Golden Card turned out to be fun, silly, and delightfully weird. Players have responded to the game in various ways, from sentiments like, “This is pretty cool and fun” to things like, “I feel like I’m slowly losing my mind.” We take that as the sign of a job well done.
To get a better sense of the game, take a gander at the following image gallery, and check below that for a brief synopsis of the rules, including the game’s special twist:
The objective is to keep drawing cards from a series of decks until one player draws the Golden Card, the special in-game item that allows players to find out how the game ends. Until then, The Golden Card is quite literally a waiting game, where players draw Action Cards containing improv prompts that they must complete while the other players judge how well that player passed the time with their actions. Passing the time well means that players can keep the card containing a given improv prompt as a way to count their successes, but ultimately players discover this isn’t necessarily important. The Golden Card ultimately reveals that players must decide the winner based on anything they choose, resulting in an ending to a game that, much like Vladimir and Estragon’s wait for Godot in Beckett’s play, doesn’t end quite the way players might have wanted.