Cards of the Normal Future

A set of cards designed around role-play and accidents in collective futuring sessions.
26 Jun 2015

Cre­at­ed specif­i­cal­ly for world-build­ing work­shops, this 52-card deck is designed for play­ing unpre­dictable char­ac­ters that need to address their most sub­jec­tive needs. Bor­row­ing from role-play­ing games, play­ers here are dropped in the midst of a spec­u­la­tive soci­ety where they have to treat emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies with ambi­gu­i­ty, rather than mar­vel at robot­ics, 3D-print­ing, or space trav­el. Above all, par­tic­i­pants should wit­ness fic­tion­al trends, new cul­tur­al traits, and made up fetish­es emerge in prod­ucts that must seem exot­ic if out of con­text. The game plays as fol­lows:

Your group has decid­ed to branch off from the rest of the city and found its own neigh­bor­hood. Your mis­sion is to not only make it inhab­it­able for all but also enter­tain­ing for vis­i­tors, assign­ing one anoth­er with dif­fer­ent projects. Each of you has lim­it­ed resources of ener­gy and mate­ri­als that can be com­bined to build big­ger or more demand­ing things.

Three types of cards get to be ran­dom­ly con­ju­gat­ed dur­ing the session:

are picked first, one per char­ac­ter. They define what your main obses­sion is e.g., ‘nutri­tist’, ‘gamist’, self­ist’. As the ses­sion goes, more of these get to be picked, thus affect­ing the character’s agen­da.

embody unpre­dictabil­i­ty and get to be picked sev­er­al times dur­ing a ses­sion, some­times dras­ti­cal­ly affect­ing a project. They can involve sud­den envi­ron­men­tal changes, mate­r­i­al con­straints, or third par­ty inter­ven­tions.

… Well, it’s all in the name. Super­spe­cial cards are rar­er and have dra­mat­ic effects like swap­ping projects, giv­ing cards to anoth­er char­ac­ter, or even fus­ing the con­scious­ness of sev­er­al characters.

n.b. Unfor­tu­nate­ly this card game isn’t yet avail­able for pur­chase. But if you’re inter­est­ed in a ses­sion of design, fic­tion, and role-play­ing, we’ve got a pro­gram just for that.

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