2-85. Play It Forward


I’m holding in my hand a deck of cards, and they’re wonderful.

The concept of “paying it forward,” where you do something nice for someone in the hopes that they’ll in turn do something nice for someone else, is an intriguing concept despite the imperfect movie bearing the name. You hear about it popping up at Starbucks and Tim Hortons from time to time.

Now, there’s a card game that employs that concept in order to get folks to interact a bit more in the real world.

It started in 2009 when Boing Boing had a contest with the Institute for the Future to design a card game. Henry Lee, then 16-years old, came up with a concept of creating social interactions by completing tasks on cards and leaving them for others to find. Now, Cody Borst has produced a commercial version, and you can buy it today.

The cards give you instructions, and you have to follow them. They can be as simple as “Challenge someone to a duel” (a game of rock, paper, scissors) or “Hide this card in a locker.” If appropriate, there’s a different set of instructions for the person who finds or is given the card. And each card has a unique serial number that allows it to be tracked online. So, if someone finds that card you left in a locker at the Greyhound station, you’ll know about it.

Some cards require a bit more work, like the one asking you to volunteer for an organization you’ve never helped out before, or attending a new class. Some will require you to step out of your comfort zone as you’re asked to “Take a selfie with a stranger.” And some ask you to create things, whether a new poem, handshake, or something out of recyclables. Each of these involves an interaction with another person, which is the point.

This isn’t just about having fun, it’s about spreading the idea that the world is full of riches, and we should be sharing them more often. You can download the free version or you can buy the nicely produced version at amazon.com. Either way, if you care about curiosity, this is a game for you.

Music in this episode:

Acoustic Breeze from BenSound.com

Promote curiosity with this intriguing card game.

Promote curiosity with this intriguing card game.


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