AfroRithms from the Future

How to Play


AfroRithms from the Future is a cooperative design, exploration, and storytelling game that centers Black and Indigenous perspectives.

Each player is a traveler of the multiverse, exploring possible futures and creating exciting new artifacts to send back out to all of the other parallel worlds.

The objective is simple:
Activate your radical imagination by talking about the future! The game ends when you as a collective have decided on the best artifact to share with the rest of the multiverse.

To play, you’ll need:

ARFTF Card Deck

Pen & Paper



Assign roles

There are three unique multiversal travelers, the Seer, the Librarian, and the Scribe.

THE SEER is the guide of the journey. They keep track of time and keep conversation moving. The Seer also ensures that each traveler has their voice heard.

THE LIBRARIAN is the researcher of the journey. If a term is unknown by the group, it is the Librarian’s role to look it up.

THE SCRIBE is the recorder of the journey. They synthesize ideas of the conversation and keep a list of all the artifacts created by the group. They have final say on the name of an artifact. The Scribe will need a pen and paper.

Optional Role:
For big groups, there is an additional optional traveler role of the Listeneer. The Listeneer observes the conversation and illustrates their interpretation of the artifacts created by the collective.

A volunteer or the player with the most recent birthday is the Seer, then the following two players to their left (or two volunteers) are the Librarian and Scribe respectively

All players contribute to the conversation and offer up their perspectives and ideas.



Set-up Board

There are four decks of cards:
The Red Tension Cards, the Blue Object Cards, the Green Inspiration Cards, and the Purple System Cards.

Separate each deck by color and shuffle them individually.

Draw six Tension Cards and place them face-up on a flat surface in the center of the group.

Create your map. On a sheet of paper, draw a standard graph with an x-axis and y-axis. Don’t label the axes just yet.

It’s time to start traveling.




From here, the group of travelers will do two things:

Define the world

Create artifacts from that world through conversation

There are no turns in AfroRithms from the future. The Seer is responsible for making sure every voice is heard, so when you have an idea: throw it out there. There are no wrong answers.

The game ends when the group selects the obelisk, which is the artifact that best represents the world your group has collectively created.


create the world

Choose your tensions.

Choose two tensions that will define your world. Tensions are variables that can shape the future. E.g., will this imaginary world have more or less Black Storytelling, will it have more or less Lifespan? Will there be a ton of artificial intelligence or none at all? Is magic going to be abundant in this world? Etc,.

Spend three minutes discussing the six available tensions and what they mean to the community today. The group will then select the two tensions that will be the most interesting to explore in conversation. Every player gets two votes, and the two tensions with the highest totals will define the world going forward. The librarian tallies the votes.

Spend a few more minutes going around and discussing what the two chosen tensions mean to your group. Dictionary definition does not matter, the definition decided by your group right here, right now is what counts.


Chart a point on the map

Your group must now decide where to create your world. The point at which you place your world will intersect at two tension points on your map.

Collectively decide the levels of intensity, 1-5, for each of the two tensions.
With 1 being a low amount of the tension and five being a very high amount. E.g., a world with 5 Black Storytelling and 3 Lifespan has a lot of Black Storytelling and a middling average Lifespan.

Start by discussing the tension on the x-axis, and then the Y. If the group is having trouble deciding on a placement, the Seer can set a 1-minute timer to help move things along.

As you create your world, consider that one person’s utopia can be another person’s dystopia.


Create Artifacts
With the world created, it is now time to create artifacts that will exist in that world. Using the parameters defined in step two create artifacts informed by the intensity of the tensions. E.g. In a world with little to no Artificial Intelligence (1), but maximum Magic (5) what will objects look like and act like?

Draw from the other decks
Draw three inspiration cards, three object cards, and one system card. Place each card face up for the group to see.

Combine cards to make artifacts
Keeping the world you created in mind, combine one or multiple inspiration cards with an object or system card to create an artifact from this world. E.g., Gloves inspired by Black Joy that create holograms of a story told in sign language.
Again, the Seer guides the conversation and ensures all who wish to speak have the opportunity to.

Name Artifacts
Go around the group and throw out new combinations or build on a previous idea. The Scribe will synthesize ideas and come up with a name for the artifact with the help of the group. E.g., For a map that shows you a path to navigating your gender fluidity you could call it: The Map of 1000 Selves.

Use whatever naming conventions excite and inspire you and the collective!

Keep creating artifacts until the collective is satisfied. Aim for at least 3.


select obelisk

Decide on the artifact that best represents your world. Review all of the artifacts created. Every player now votes on which artifact best represents the overall vision of your world. That artifact now becomes the Obelisk that represents your world in the multiverse!

With that, you have completed a round of AfroRithms from the Future.

Another round

Re-enter the journey at Tension selection or roll new inspirations, objects, and systems. Pass the roles of Seer, Librarian, and Scribe to a new players, and keep creating!

‍Share your favorite experiences, stories and gameplay. You can share with us @afrorithmfutures or throughout the multiverse using #ARFTF or #AFRORITHMS