“Tag! You’re It” — That was the first card I drew from the colorful Sneaky Card deck, “Play It Forward”, by game creator Gamewright. My mission, if I chose to accept it, was simple: Tap someone on the shoulder and tell them they’re “It!”. Then hand them the card. No tag backs!
Or, shuffle the deck and you never know what Sneaky Card missions you may draw: take a selfie with a stranger, give an anonymous gift, become a flash mob of one or leave a generous tip. Each card inspires you to step outside your comfort zone and “spread joy, art and intrigue to an unsuspecting public”. Once the card is out in the real-world you can track the joy its spreading online at sneakycards.com.
Rules of the game are simple. “The main object of Sneaky Cards is to get rid of all the your cards. Each card contains all the details of your mission. Play over the course of many days and during everyday life or competitively, with the winner being the first player who completes all their objectives. Get out there an play it forward.” There are five card types: Engage, Connect, Surprise, Care, Grow and Create.
The blue Engage cards encourage and test your audacity and “chutzpah”. Connect cards are red and you have to find things and not just objects. The yellow Surprise cards use your sneakiness and espionage skills. Green cards do good and give to others, thus Care. Purple cards challenge yourself to grow in new and interesting ways, and finally Pink cards create, making art with a purpose. Starting game play isn’t specific, but I simply shuffled the cards and then divided them by the number of people who wanted to play. We set a time-frame of 30 days and on ready, set, go we started “playing it forward”.
However, a few days after I played the “Tag, You’re It!” card at a Starbucks in Reno, Nevada, I noticed they weren’t playing along, or the card wasn’t being tracked online as the inspiring part of the game intended. The problem: tracking the card and seeing how many people you inspire through your play-it-forward-attitude is not as simple and fun as deciding what card to use or choosing the person to pass your cards legacy onto. It requires you to take a photo of your card, so you won’t forget the sneaky card number and then log through a website.
This where I found the game starting to become a little un-fun and unravel the ball of excitement that I was playing with. The website’s user experience isn’t thought through as well as the game rules nor designed as pretty as the game cards. Most disappointing was the lack of a mobile app. I know right, everything has an app these days but Sneaky Cards, and unfortunately it really sours the overall experience of the game, making it less convenient to track new cards and share experiences of cards played, not just by you, but everyone everywhere playing the game. Gamewright really missed a golden and viral-making opportunity. The game felt a little half-baked at this point for me.
Instead of an 8-digit code you had to type into a desktop browser, imagine each card having a QR-code that represented that code and a Sneaky Card app that will sign you up for free, allow you to register a deck and add players to it, see nearby logged cards, scan the QR-code and log a card, submit comments or micro stories with your game play and then share-it-forward using social media. Now, that’s a fully baked game with modern tech flare!
And, here is how the interactive, tech side really works. The first time I visited the Sneaky Card web site to log a card the options I saw were “Track A Card” and “Play Now”. I clicked “Play Now” thinking that this will setup everything up for me, where as “Track A Card” meant I could see where a card has been and not necessarily was to initiate the tracking process. This was not the the experience. As soon as you enter that card number into the form, the browsed requests your location and logs the card. I have accidentally logged cards from my home, in preparation of putting them into play, as well as Starbucks, logging them after they are in play because I have to use a desktop browser. This is the number one reason an app for this game is absolutely needed. With an app, I could have put the card into play and then standing in the same general location immediately logged it with a fun story, as well as demonstrate to someone unfamiliar with the game what it’s all about and how to do it.
The next potential problem with Sneaky Card website is that you can “Track A Card” anonymously. This has its pros and cons. If the site design was focused around tracking cards I think it could actually work, but there is no way to differentiate between tracking and logging. Perhaps including a timeline of tracked cards on the homepage, a standard login box, or a box to enter the card’s code. Currently they are one of the same, so whenever you enter in the card number you create a location based log entry. It also doesn’t allow you to enter notes about your play experience.
To help alleviate some of the confusion you can create an account. When you do this, the cards you “tracked” are displayed on the dashboard in your account after logging in. This allows you to easily view the tracking logs and map of the cards you’ve played. It’s a great idea, but having to visit a website isn’t convenient or as fun as an app would make it.
On December 28, 2015, I played card, A-857380-04 and as of posting date of this review, the young, high-school kids that “I tagged” in a local Starbucks have not logged it, thus most likely ending the cards journey. At this point there isn’t anything you can do. You can’t ping it or put it back in play so it would be nice if the site also let you filter the list by activity. And, just imagine how Sneaky Cards could incorporate Twitter, Facebook and Instagram into the cards life and really bring this game to life!
Unfortunately Gamewright dealt a joker on this version of Sneaky Cards, although the game is fun and the card’s actions are still worth playing and the games mission is still worth sharing, the interactive part isn’t worth the time in its current state. Hopefully version two, or an expansion pack with a new app and QR-codes (fingers crossed) will ignite new inspiration to playing it forward.
Purchased at Barnes and Noble for $8.99
Buy or not buy?
Buy. Even with the poorly designed interactive side of the game it’s fun and not too expensive.