The Mother/Daughter Adventure Or How We Developed Tell Me Another
Tell Me Another is a game of story prompts designed to generate true stories or creative bluffs. The point is to engage in conversation—fun, face-to-face time spent telling stories. It’s the kind of authentic connection between family and friends that seems harder to come by these days.
The game is a creation of the mother-daughter duo Alexandra and Sherry Borzo. I’m the mother, in my mid-50s, living in the Midwest with Alex’s Dad. I miss my daughter a lot because she lives far away—Alex has taken the adventures of her life to build a business and make a life in a city she loves: Lima, Peru. Her dad and I have watched her soar and couldn’t be prouder, but we miss her.
Alex and I speak almost daily (boy do I love WhatsApp), mostly just checking in to hear one another’s voice. But we are both project-driven as business owners, so we also sound off ideas with each other frequently.
It was during one such brainstorm (or brain dump) when Alex and I were talking about creating a custom game for families that we started to float the notion of a storytelling game for a wider audience. The game was afoot—we both loved the idea, especially the part about working together.
TESTED AND APPROVED
We collaborated and generated a full deck of questions. Alex designed the look of the cards and crafted the rules for Tell Me Another. The first drafts of the game were played with family and friends. (Thank you, family and friends!) We learned quickly where the bumps were in play, and after feedback we tweaked both the questions and the rules of the game.
It was a thrill to see the outcome of Tell Me Another, and gratifying to see concept become an engaging product. But my biggest takeaways came during the testing process:
I soon realized how rich conversation could become when we played Tell Me Another, enjoying fun, real connection. And even between friends and family I already knew so well, we continued learning about each other on an authentic level.
Stories I didn’t know—and as a mother, a few I gratefully didn’t know about our kids when they were younger—were told. We were talking, sharing memories and tightening bonds. The pace in the room generally slowed, and we all relaxed together. It was like sitting around a camp fire.
RULES…NOT SO MUCH
Since Tell Me Another is a game, there are rules, which suits avid and competitive game players well. I couldn’t care less about rules, and if they’re complex I’m probably not going to get them. (I’ve played Settlers of Catan several times and still don’t understand the rules.)
Tell Me Another is a game that will satiate the game players among you while also bringing in those who are prone to veering off the path of rigid game play. I love the opportunity for connection that Tell Me Another provides and hope others will enjoy that aspect as well.
A WORLD AWAY
I’m Alex, the daughter. I’m just now creeping up on 30 and have packed a lot of punch into my 20s with globetrotting and a venture into business ownership just like my mom.
It’s been a couple years since I settled with the idea of living abroad permanently. A sundry assortment of passions and curiosities carried me to a city I’d truly fallen for over the course of travels: Lima. And I’ve felt so at home that, when I recently went into business for myself, I even decided to found my small company here in Peru.
I am officially rooted.
But new roots aside, there are still those roots that stretch 3,500 miles back home. My parents and brother still live in the Midwest where I grew up. I belong to that culture, that community, that family. And one of the most powerful currents of connection that I still celebrate with them is that of game playing.
There’s the cousin who throws boards from the table when she doesn’t like the outcome of a round. There’s the time we were almost kicked out of a resort for our raucous Pictionary playing. And there are the hundreds of hours I’ve spent playing a long list of games with every member of my extended family.
And so, when it came to designing a card game with my mom, it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. Not to mention the fact that her business revolves around storytelling and mine around content creation and project management. As soon as that spark took, ideas went wild.
WHEN IT’S MORE THAN FUN AND GAMES
The crafting of the game’s story prompts was my favorite part of the whole process. The many conversations where Mom and I swapped ideas only to laugh at the references we snuck in, or to look knowingly at one other across our video chat to see that we were remembering the very same family anecdote, or to laugh so hard from my brother’s off-color contributions to the prompts that we realized we would have to create a separate expansion pack for the more sardonic storytellers…this was easily the most fun I’ve ever had at work.
The riotous time we had practicing the game with those prompts that were often specific to our own family left me dreaming about many other possibilities. Tell Me Another can be so easily adapted to a unique family history, packed full with family-specific prompts and personalized—no other storytelling experience can come close.
At least, that’s what Tell Me Another has been for us.
The final manifestation of the game is for a wider audience, taking more universal experiences into account. But so many of those story cards still inspire knowing looks between me and my mother, and so much laughter. It’s been wonderful designing this game with my mom, and I’m so excited for her next visit to Lima where we can continue playing it.