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Elephant in the Relationship

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 •  Release Date: Coming Soon
 •  Genre: Narrative & Story Telling
 •  Developer: Team Elephant
 •  Country of Origin: United States
 •  Website:
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Developer Bio

Elephant in the Relationship’s design team consists of Andy Uehara, Casey China, Michael Annetta, and Joshua McVeigh-Schultz. We came together as a design collective working on games and other interpersonal projects for the Interactive Media & Games Division of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. In addition to game design, our collective background spans the fields of anthropology, psychology, theatre, performance art, filmmaking, database design, conflict resolution, and public health. This eclectic mix gives us a broad perspective which informs our unique and creative approach to interaction design.

Our design process has been a joint effort. We all do a little bit of everything, so much of our creative process has involved collaboration. That said, we each bring different perspectives. Andy and Casey are a married powerhouse who have taken a lead role in testing and thinking systematically about the game’s mechanics. As the only relationship pair on the team, they also bring a unique perspective on communication issues. Josh is currently a postdoc at UCSC, and his academic perspective means that he zeros in on theoretical aspects of the game, for example, deciphering how to write a good “elephant issue” card. Josh has also brought a unique perspective on long-distance relationships. Michael took the lead in bringing the team back together, and has also led efforts to iterate on materials and graphic design. As an adjunct professor at USC, he’s mentored students on bringing games to production. He also brought a unique perspective on LGBTQ romance that expanded how the team thought about relationship issues.

NOTE: We’re also all currently in long-term relationships with _very_ understanding significant others.

Elephant In The Relationship is a title featured at [[ ]].

About Elephant In The Relationship

Relationships are tough. Whether it’s with a spouse, a loved one, a boss, a co-worker, or a friend, they’re challenging to navigate. Sometimes no matter how much we’re connected to a person we might still have some issues with them that are difficult to resolve … unspeakable, threatening issues that just sit there in between us: an Elephant in the Relationship.

Elephant in the Relationship is a tabletop game for 2 to 4 teams 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 party-game 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. By inserting players directly into the representational world of the drawing space, the game encourages empathy, divergent thinking, and novel communication strategies.