I’ve been thinking about large scale engagement of conference attendees and university communities. How do we encourage people to connect, try new things, and have fun in their community? How can this be achieved with minimal intrusion into daily life? What are the best strategies to involve diversity of people and personalities? Where are such initiatives valuable? And of course, how do we motivate folks to buy-in?

Sneaky Cards

Krys Strange shared Sneaky Cards with me during a conversation when I was exploring all of these questions for the OLC Innovate 2019 conference. (I was serving as Co-Engagement chair with Kate Miffitt and exploring every strategy to engage attendees.) The Sneaky Cards game involved challenges for each card holder that, when complete, were passed on to another individual to continue play. This “complete challenge and propagation” mechanic was simplistic enough that the instructions and challenges were present on every card. The cards ranged from “Take a selfie with a total stranger” to “Invent a new handshake” with someone to “Try a new food” and well beyond. Sneaky Cards offered dozens of opportunities for people to share silly fun and bond with new acquaintances and friends.

But we also wanted to encourage connection over conference activities, both for onsite and virtual attendees. This was made possible with the open source version of Sneaky Cards, since we could build any card we needed. It allowed me to design cards to encourage people to invite other participants to sessions, make connection on Twitter, and extend gratitude towards people that inspired them during the conference. In the end, we went with a combination the the official Sneaky Cards and custom ones.

5 Sneaky Cards from the game made for OLC Innovate 2019.

You Can Built Sneaky Cards Too!

Having built custom cards, I’d like to share this work so you can easily make your own Sneaky Cards. Here’s a blank card, or you can download the following .psd file to open in photo editing software for full customization.

Shoutouts to Sarah Clark, Rolando Méndez, and John Stewart for additional help with the content of the Sneaky Cards!

Previous Experience Backdrop

A few years back Adam Croom, John Stewart, and I explored the Reality Ends Here game. Adam had shared this work and Jeff Watson’s dissertation on the topic. It’s been so long, I can’t remember all that was discussed and developed. (I wish I’d written a post!) That being said, I’d recommend watching this demo video and I encourage you to explore the Reality Ends Here game that still inspires and challenges me when thinking about engaging large communities.


The featured image is provided CC0 by Kate Trysh via Unsplash.

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