you only LIFE once – melanie, ralph, sylvia

YOLO is a modded version of The game of LIFE. It is a card game that requires resource management of personal values in order to have the most fulfilling life and has optional improvisational storytelling mechanic. The instruction can be found here.

Iterations and goals.

  1. Personal values were introduced to the original board game. Non-normative career cards were added (religious official, revolutionary, Übermensch, etc.), each with their own benefits. Our core theme was non-normativeness and a kind of pointlessness to what appeared to be significant in one’s life.
  2. Branching paths were introduced to #1. Interesting narrative arcs were suggested as the main mechanic. The player should feel like he or she is not playing a game but is in fact participating in life itself.
  3. As we kept adding in card mechanics to the board game, we realized this game could be simplified and be better as a card game. We changed #2 to a card game and tried to adjust appropriately, mainly using resource management. Personal values as a mechanic were fully integrated by this point, and the chaining system as a narrative arc was introduced.
  4. YOLO system was introduced when we thought of what would count as the “win” condition while keeping in line with our core theme. The cash in and chaining systems were finalized with the YOLO points.
  5. Balancing, lots and lots of balancing. Play testing and tweaking numbers, optimizing for three players.
  6. Our final iteration: encouraging players to accumulate but ultimately throw away their personal values for that big moment of living life to the fullest, having only those carpe diem moments matter in the end, while admitting that these moments can only happen when players have something to lose. Storytelling element was for people who wanted to immerse themselves in the life revolving around those YOLO moments, to create meaning out of an otherwise meaningless life.