Name of game, creator, platform: “We’re Not Really Strangers,” online, made by Koreen.
Target Audience: 18+ (adults)
“We’re Not Really Strangers,” created by Koreen, dives headfirst into the idea of deepening relationships. The game is played with 2-6 players, although it’s more effective with a lower number of players. While playing the game, each player switches off reading questions (on the cards) out loud to the other players. Occasionally, the game will throw you wildcards, which typically urge the players to get even more personal with each other: the partner must complete the card’s instructions unless the card states otherwise.
There are three levels to the game: Perception, Connection, and Reflection. During perception, players ask each other more surface-level questions. These are a bit more personal than your typical small talk, but still pretty easy to answer regardless. On the other hand, during connection, players get a little deeper and ask more personal questions, such as: “what is the most pain you’ve ever been in that wasn’t physical?” and “what would your younger self not believe about your life today?” Finally, during reflection, players reflect on their experience playing the game with questions like “what about me most surprised you?” and “how does one earn your vulnerability? Have I earned it? How can I earn more?”
The game is most effective when players know each other as friends, but aren’t yet close enough to know their friends’ answers to all of the questions posed by the game. While the game started out as a tad uncomfortable, the inclusion of the three levels really helped us warm up to each other over time. Moreover, adding the last card pack helped us come together and reflect on the experience, granting all of us a sense of closure. I learned a lot about my friends, and the questions really helped us better understand both each other and ourselves.
While overall, the game did a good job with the quality of the questions, I think a few of the questions in the initial Perception depth could have been a little easier to answer. If players came into the game without knowing its premise and nature, they could have been turned off by the depth of the introductory questions. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the wildcards: they urged people to get even further out of their comfort zone and do more than just speak about the topic at hand.
We’re Not Really Strangers does a great job of getting straight to the point: while with other games like Truth or Dare, people have to come up with their own truths and dares (and therefore, they won’t necessarily be as inclined to come up with questions and dares that beg for vulnerability), We’re Not Really Strangers does the job of coming up with prompts itself. As such, the game encourages much more vulnerability than other games I’ve played within this genre.