As we close on the spring semester of 2018, I am left wondering what will happen with the discussion-based board game, Kairos, that my team and I spent the last 16 weeks creating. Our prompt was simple: help translate Theater of War’s stage performance reading + discussion model into a more accessible and all-reaching medium (more about the game can be read here). Through this prompt I think we managed to create the framework for something very special.
Difficult conversations (about PTSD, mental illness, death, etc.) are hard to discuss about to begin with, but maybe even more difficult to discuss with those close to us. In an open, spacious performance room (like the kind Theater of War does it’s readings in), there is a sense of warm anonymity – one could in theory, pour their soul out into the room and help, as Bryan Doerries quotes, “purify negative emotions” and then leave and continue life. With those close to us, talking about these difficult things will be remembered forever by these people, which makes it scarier, but also potentially more rewarding. The potential for help in this setting is huge.
Is our game a little rough in some places? Sure. The questions will probably always need tweaking, and timer mechanic, while much improved from its inception, still could be worked on.
But the framework is there. If not Women of Trachis, then any other meaningful piece of art. Shakespeare? Sure. Poe? Why not. If a piece of art or a story carries difficult, yet universal, themes that have the potential to help people feel less alone, it can be used in Kairos if further adaptations are made. Want to have a difficult conversation with a family member, but need to be discussing it through these characters in a structured space? Kairos can do that.
It is said so often that “this or that” will make the world a better place, but Kairos actually can. If people give it a chance and the game undergoes further work to perfect some of the way the content is used, it can actually help a lot of people. The human condition, that of struggling with our emotions and often doing so alone, is universal. All we need is a little help to realize that we don’t have to struggle alone.
We don’t know where Kairos will end up, or whether Theater of War will market it themselves. With all of us going onto different projects after this, there won’t be time to perfect it ourselves, at least for a little while. But at the very least, we don’t want Kairos to drift away. We’ve worked too hard and its potential is too great.
Many thanks to the team I worked with. It was filled with some of the most caring, passionate, and dedicate people one might have the pleasure of working with. The game is what it is because we all genuinely cared about the prompt we were working with. I’m gonna miss working you all a lot.