In today’s episode, Tsultrim speaks with Simon Lowe, the creator of a fabulous card game called “Carked It!”. Simon developed this, at times, very funny card game as a way of connecting people and opening the door to friends, family and even strangers, to talking about life, death and beyond in a light-hearted, fun, and positive way. As we all know, death is certain, but the manner and time of our death is uncertain. But this lovely card game will surprise and undoubtedly ease you gently and with lots of humour, into the important conversations that we all need to have about the inevitability of our death, the importance of life and to ensure we prepare well for both…..before it’s too late.
Learn more about Carked It! here: https://carkedit.com Learn more about Simon’s work with the Good Death Impact Network, The Ageing Revolution and PikMe.
This episode of What About Death!? is hosted by Tsultrim and edited by Shannon Callander. Special thanks to Werner Mathiuet and the whole Karuna team.
Brought to you by karuna.org.auFollow What About Death!? on social media: @whataboutdeathpodcast
Our music is Bling Heights by Ahjay Stelino.
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In the world of tabletop gaming, the birth of a new game is akin to the unveiling of a masterpiece. The story of Carked It! is no exception, a tale of creativity, collaboration, and a stroke of luck that brought together an incredible team. In this post, we dive into the origins of the game and introduce you to the brilliant minds behind it: Simon Lowe, co-founder of The Ageing Revolution, Hannah Ford-Morgan of Guildmaster Games and artist Miki Brogan.
The Genesis of Carked It!
Every great game starts with a spark of inspiration, and for Carked It!, it was no different. Simon and Leonie, co-founders of The Ageing Revolution, had always had a desire to create a game that would entertain and challenge players while shedding light on the taboo topic of ageing and mortality. Fortunately, the TACSI Good Death Impact Network saw the value in their proposition and helped to bring this vision to life. With support from the network, Simon sought the expertise of the ingenious game designer Hannah Ford-Morgan. The collaboration began with the development of an initial game design, a crucial blueprint that would guide the project forward. It was the first step in a journey that would lead to the creation of a game that would invite players to explore the themes of life and death in a thought-provoking way.
The Crucial Playtesting Phase
With the game design in place, the next critical phase was playtesting. What better way to refine a game than by letting serious boardgame enthusiasts put it to the test? The Carked It! team took their concept to a games night, where they witnessed firsthand the passion and dedication of gamers who took their hobby seriously.
At this games night, fate played its hand, as Simon, one of the creators, happened upon a chance encounter that would prove pivotal. A fellow gamer suggested the incredible artist Miki Brogan, believing that her unique style would perfectly complement the planned aesthetic of Carked It!. It was a serendipitous moment that would set the wheels in motion for something extraordinary.
The Artistry of Miki Brogan
Miki Brogan’s involvement in Carked It! was a stroke of artistic genius. As the gameplay underwent rigorous testing and refinement over countless nights of play, Miki set to work, crafting the visuals that would define the game’s identity. Her task was to create a collection of non-gendered skeletons that would serve as the iconic imagery on the Carked It! cards, each one representing the intricate and profound themes of death and dying.
Miki’s artistic talent shone through as she brought these skeletons to life. Each one was a testament to her skill and creativity, offering a unique and compelling glimpse into the world of mortality. The non-gendered approach was a deliberate choice, allowing players to connect with the themes of the game on a universal level, transcending gender boundaries and inviting a broader audience to engage with its message.
We love Skelly!!
Calling it Carked It!
Though our initial design was called Two Days To Die, after one particularly interesting play-test, we decided we needed a different name; one that gave players the flexibility to play the game in a way that suits them. A bunch of different names were tossed around – ‘Kicked the Bucket’, ‘6 Feet Under’, Pushing Up Daisies’ – but someone suggested Carked It! and it seemed to fit the attitude of the game – irreverent, fun and Australian-made.
The creation of Carked It! stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and creativity in the world of tabletop gaming. Simon, Hannah, and Miki came together to craft a game that challenges conventional norms and invites players to explore the profound themes of life and death in a unique and engaging way.
Carked It! is more than just a tabletop game; it’s a work of art, a labour of love, and a tribute to the power of collaboration in the world of gaming.
In a world where serious discussions about end-of-life matters are often uncomfortable, The Ageing Revolution has created Carked It! to challenge societal norms and redefine how we approach conversations about dying and death.
Carked It! has been codesigned and partially funded by the Good Death Impact Network, a project supported by The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) through the Wicking Trust.
The Good Death Impact Network
The Good Death Impact Network is a supportive community of like and different-minded people working to improve all things that affect death and dying. Driven by the belief that all Australians and their loved ones deserve the best possible end-of-life experience: a peaceful and connected death in a place of their choosing and free of pain.
The Ageing Revolution founders Leonie and Simon joined the network in 2019 as part of what was then known as the End of Life Regional Innovators Network. TACSI facilitated an online gathering of people interested in improving death and dying in Australia. From GPs to palliative care specialists to death doulas and more, the network provided a space to come together and create change.
The concept at the heart of the End of Life Impact Network is to connect people and support them to create change in new and different ways. Practically speaking, this looks like:
Strengthening interconnectedness and alignment
Seeing and acting with the wisdom of many perspectives
Organising in ways that don’t reinforce business-as-usual
Working with conflicting views in generative ways.
These network activities create trusting relationships, fertile soil for new ideas, opportunities for independent and collaborative action and a legitimate platform to influence broader change.
What’s a Good Death?
Often considered morbid or taboo, death and dying are not popular topics. As a society, Australia sweeps conversations about death under the rug, leading to a raft of unfortunate, often preventable, experiences for people and their loved ones at the end of their lives.
The definition and measurement of what a good outcome means at the end of life is not agreed across the health system. Across the stakeholders we’ve been on this journey alongside, we’ve heard that a good outcome in death and dying comprises the following key elements:
Carked It! was born from the network and its catalysing effects. A number of future goals for the network are related to increased awareness about what creates a good death and the improvement of death literacy. Over a period of two years, the game was designed, tested, re-designed and re-tested with members of the network across Australia, all of whom voted to resource the creation of the game.
By infusing elements of fun and play into the concept of discussing end-of-life matters, Carked It! breaks down barriers and encourages individuals to confront their feelings and thoughts surrounding mortality. This innovative approach to addressing a sensitive topic is a testament to the power of creative thinking and collaboration. Carked It! gets people talking about death in a fun and safe way.