Initially conceived as a serious game in Tracy Fullerton’s Game Design Workshop class, the Elephant in the Relationship team (Andy Uehara, Casey China, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz and Michael Annetta) has worked to sculpt the game over several iterations and various playtests.
Elephant in the Relationship is a game for 2 to 4 players in which players try to communicate deeply troubling relationship issues. Players take on the roles of two people in a personal relationship and turn the drama of a potentially risky (or intimate) interaction into spectacle for a 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 partner.
Having taken off almost a year in development (so Josh could get through his PhD qualifying exams and Andy and Michael could finish their Master’s degree theses), we’re revisiting the game for Arse Elektronika. The issues presented will be of a more sexual nature and the rule set will most likely be modified as well to look at the subject of the conference, ”4PLAY: Gamifuckation and Its Discontents” (I said it was edgier). With a little more time on our hands now, the Elephant team is also hoping to polish the game for a future commercial release.