Ami Baio’s first card game helps friends and strangers connect on a deeper level at both game tables and out in the real world.
DISCLAIMER: The writer of the article knew the creator before the Kickstarter campaign and backed the campaign as well. To jump to the full audio interview, click here.
“Party games” are an interesting genre: games prioritizing social lubrication over complex rules and strategies. Many like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity use randomized humor to bring people together, with players submitting prompt answers to a judge to try and gain approval. Though You Think You Know Me could be used in similar situations, it focuses on giving people more knowledge of the people they’re playing with. I interviewed Ami via an online call to learn more about the game and her creation process.
Ami didn’t intend to be a game designer, but when the idea for You Think You Know Me came to her, she ran with it. The game gives short statements to players on colorful cards meant to help people share themselves. Players guess how to complete each question for other players: statements can be as simple as “I know your favorite pizza topping is _____,” or as personal as “I know it’s easy/hard for you to say you’re sorry.” Ever since developing the prototype, she’s carried around a “fruit stripe-colored” box of cards to test with friends and strangers.
“My hope is that You Think You Know Me will bring people together to talk and to laugh, to connect and to see each other in new ways, and maybe see themselves in new ways. I know that’s a tall order, but that would be amazing.” – Ami Baio
During our interview, she talked about how she wants the game to give people common ground, particularly in difficult times. I first played the game at the Tacoma release party here in Portland. Kahlief Adams from the Spawn on Me podcast and Aenne Schumann, writer for upcoming visual novel Arcade Spirits, stood and tried to answer prompts for each other. I’d known both Kahlief and Aenne for a while, but I missed a lot of seemingly basic questions. Sometimes they’d make a statement about me and I had to think about it: did I really want to write an episode of The Office? (Fun fact: I actually did work on a demo script for The Office once.) We laughed together, but we also had moments to pause and be introspective in a way I hadn’t with other party games. It’s the kind of experience I’d love to see more of in games.
A vegan and a CrossFit enthusiast, Ami focuses on helping people find strength and compassion for others. She’s tucked little pieces of herself into some of the prompts of the game, but it focuses on helping players learn about others. Though the cards can be used to play a full “game,” they could also be used as icebreakers for groups of new acquaintances or discussion generators around a dinner table. Baio’s Kickstarter has already successfully funded, so there’ll be plenty of people using the 500+ cards in the game for purposes of all kinds.
To listen to the full interview with Ami, click the play button below. The Kickstarter campaign runs until Thursday, September 28th at 7p Pacific time. To learn more about the game or pre-order a copy, you can head to youthinkyouknowme.cards to see the campaign. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter at @heartshapedsky.