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Elephant in the Relationship

Michael Annetta, Casey China, Joshua McVeigh, Andy Uehara

Elephant in the Relationship is a tabletop game for four or more players in which players try to communicate deeply troubling relationship issues to their teammates. Players take on the roles of two people in a personal relationship and turn interpersonal drama into a fun spectacle for the group to enjoy. The game fuses Pictionary-style drawing and guessing mechanics with elements of doll-play and improvisational theater, asking players to place themselves into a difficult emotional scenario with their teammate. The game includes a whiteboard arena, whiteboard playing pieces (designed to “stand-in” for the players), and dry-erase markers. Using only these tools and their improv skills, a player tries to nonverbally communicate an unspeakable relationship issue to their teammate (for example, “I’m having an affair with your grandfather”). As players struggle to communicate, the game upends the seriousness of relationship issues, making them humorous or absurd. Through this inversion, Elephant in the Relationship inspires empathy between players and loved ones alike.

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