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
There are two unique multiversal travelers, the Seer and the Librarian.
THE SEER is the guide of the game. 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 and scribe of the journey. They synthesize ideas and keep a list of all the artifacts created by the group. If a term is unknown by the group, it is the Librarian’s role to look it up. The Librarian will need a pen and paper.
For big groups, there is an additional optional traveler role of the Listeneer. The Listeneer observes the conversation and illustrates artifacts created by the collective.
A volunteer or the traveler with the most recent birthday is the Seer, and a volunteer or the player to the left of the Seer is the Librarian.
All players contribute to the conversation and offer up their perspectives and ideas.
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.
The game ends when the group selects the obelisk, which is the best artifact to represent your world.
Choose your tensions.
Choose two tensions that will define your world. Tensions are variables that can shape the future. E.g., will this world have more or less Black Storytelling, will it have more or less Lifespan?
Spend three minutes discussing the six available tensions and what they mean. 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.
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.
As you create your world, consider that one person’s utopia can be another person’s dystopia.
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.
Go around the group and throw out new combinations or build on a previous idea. The Librarian 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 fluidity call it: The Map of 1000 Selves.
Keep creating artifacts until the collective is satisfied. Aim for at least 3.
Decide on the best artifact. 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.
Re-enter the journey at Tension selection or roll new inspirations, objects, and systems. Pass the role of Seer and Librarian to a new traveler, and keep creating!
Share your favorite experiences, stories and gameplay. You can share with us @afrorithmfutures or throughout the multiverse using #ARFTF or #AFRORITHMS