Games are often the best medicine for life's troubles.
Margaret Marshall and Rachael Kauffung have found a delightful way of dealing with all the negative news from the past 12 to 18 months.
The two friends, who first met as co-workers at Amazon, have a major yen for games of all kinds and began holding weekly game nights as a way to de-stress.
In looking for new games to play, however, they noticed a lack of options that left everyone feeling good at the end of the night. Popular indie card game Cards Against Humanity brands itself "the party game for horrible people" while other games like Risk or Monopoly pit players against each other. Even games like Pandemic that require player collaboration to win can be kind of a downer at a time when Zika and Ebola have been part of the global conversation.
So the friends created a brand new game, one designed to make people feel good.
They called it Sway: A Game of Debate and Silver Linings.
Unlike other games, where players weigh worst-case scenarios or fight over hypothetical boardwalks while trying not to go broke or land in jail, players win Sway through the power of positive thinking.
In each round of the game, players go head-to-head in 30-second debates on various topics (both silly and serious) and win if they can “sway” the judge for the round. The twist? Players can only use positive arguments.
Oh, and occasionally players are challenged to present their arguments in Scottish accents or while doing a challenging yoga pose to get extra points. And when you win, you do a happy dance.
In the spirit of positivity and silver linings, Kauffung and Marshall have also decided to donate part of the game's profits to a charitable cause.
Kauffung's father, who recently lost his own battle with cancer, had always been passionate about fighting pediatric cancer. So for every game purchased, Silver Linings Games (the company that makes Sway) will donate $1 to B+ Foundation, an organization that supports families of kids with cancer.
Marshall and Kauffung hope playing Sway helps people remember that there's more to life than winning or being right — and that there's a silver lining to everything.
"[Sway is] not about winning or being right," Marshall and Kauffung explain in an email. "It's about silliness and silver linings and having a good time with people you care about (even if you disagree with them)."
As someone who recently played Sway for the first time, I can honestly say it's super easy to learn, definitely challenging, and filled with unexpected hilarity. It's a great way to dissolve tensions that may have built up between families and friends without letting competitive gameplay bring out the worst in you.
Not to mention, there was a study conducted at the University of North Carolina that found consistent positive thinking can make you happier, healthier, and more productive.
Whatever your way of reflecting on the positive things in life may be, it's important to remember how many reasons you have to laugh, cheer, and embrace the people around you. After all, it's hard to be mad when you're watching your friend try to explain the benefits of arachnophobia in a thick Boston accent — because that is not easy, but it is hilarious.
Want to learn more? Here's a fun video from the creators about Sway: