by Kim Thoreen

A transplant from Seattle, Kim is on the two-year plan in the masters program and looks forward to a career in corporate training and development. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time in the outdoors and hanging with friends.

Instructional Objective The objective of MixMania is to provide newly formed and intact groups with a fun and interactive way to get acquainted with the other members of a group.

Learners/Context MixMania can be used as both an icebreaker and as a tool for facilitating increased communication and group bonding. Example scenarios include the formation of a new task group in an organization, a parent's club group newly convened to discuss a project, or at the beginning of a intact work group's annual retreat. The game provides a fun and interactive medium for getting to know different aspects of each group member's background, personality, and values.

Rationale Throughout life, adults will continue to find themselves staring at the faces of a group they are a part of. It may be a new social group, it may be a work related task group, or it may be a neighborhood block watch group. Whatever the purpose, the members are instantly expected to work and get along.

Ironically, working together doesn't mean knowing each other. As Dr. Gregory Stock explains, "when conversing, we often exchange small talk without being very involved in the conversation. Too frequently we pull back from bringing up questions that seem awkward or intrusive, yet theses are the very ones that will open paths to understanding." Finding commonalties can help build a foundation for whatever the primary goals of the group are by providing this avenue for both individual growth and a deeper understanding of the other group members.

MixMania facilitates opening these lines of communication in a fun, non-threatening way by posing questions that are commonly filled by superficial small talk. The underlying premise of the game is the belief that commitment and interest increase with understanding and commonalties between people.

Deck Design The MixMania deck of cards consists of 82 cards. There are four suits called Work Life, Personal Life, Childhood, and Dreams and two Wildcards.

A description of the suits and wildcards follows:

Suits Each of the suits represent different aspects of a person's life and has a corresponding question on the card that matches the suit theme.

Work life Cards: Pose questions relating to a person's current job, work history, career aspirations, role models, and attitudes toward work in general.

Personal Life Cards: Pose questions relating to a person's lifestyle, hobbies, memories, beliefs and values, and things that make them unique.

Childhood Cards: Pose questions relating to the first twenty years, including special memories, favorite games and TV shows, influential persons in their lives, first kisses and proms, and early dreams of adulthood and careers.

Dream Cards: Pose questions relating to fantasy lifestyles and careers, hypothetical scenarios such as winning the lottery, long-term goals, and "if I could change the world..." type questions.

Wildcards Each deck of cards has two Wildcards that players can use in the place of whatever suit they need to complete a "profile." In order to use the wildcard, players are required to make up their own question to ask.

Rules MixMania is designed to be played in small groups of 3 to 6 players. The goal of the game is to accumulate a "profile" of the other players by asking the questions on the cards.

A "profile" consists of one answered question from each of the four suits. This equals a total of four answered questions on each of the other players. The first person to accumulate "profiles" for each of the players in the game is the winner.

MixMania follows a rummy structure and categorizes information by the four suits. The wildcard can be used for any suit in a "profile."

The game is played in the following manner:

1. The game begins by one player shuffling the cards and dealing seven cards to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down for drawing during play. One card is turned over to form the discard pile.

2. The players look at their cards to see how many of each suit they have. The first player to the left of the dealer begins play by the one of the following actions:

* Discard and draw a new card from the face down stack.

* Discard and pick-up the top card in the discard pile.

* Play a card in their hand by asking the question on the card. Once the question has been answered the card is placed on the table to begin the "profile" of the player who answered the question.

3. The game continues in this manner until one player has a "profile" of each player in the game. In the early stages of the game, any of the three choices can be made. However, as the game continues players will need specific suits to finish "profiles" and win the game.

4 Various strategies can be used to collect "profiles." Examples include collecting all four suits and focusing on one player "profile" at a time or beginning to build multiple player "profiles" depending on what cards are in their hand.

Optional Uses MixMania can also be modified for different settings.

Pairs: In a pairs game, the rules are the same as with small groups with the exception that the profile consists of two questions from each of the suits equaling a total of eight answered questions on the other player.

Q&A: The cards can be used individually by randomly selecting a card and asking an individual or group the question. This would be appropriate in informal settings such as dinner parties and family picnics.

Card Design

Partial List

of Card


Personal Time Cards

* Who are the three people in history you would most like to have as dinner guests in your home?

* If you were to be an animal what would it be and why?

* How would you like to be remembered after you die?

* What would you be willing to die for?

* If you knew you only had one year to live, what about your life would you change and what would you like to do?

* What's your most embarrassing moment?

* What are your passions/interests/hobbies?

* If you were going to be on the Oprah Winfrey show, what would the title of the show be?

* What is you very best quality?

* If you could save just one object from your burning home, what would it be?

* What movie or TV scene last brought tears to your eyes?

* If you could be any famous person in history, who would it be?

* What five adjectives best describe you?

* What is your greatest achievement?

* Whom do you admire the most? In what way does that person inspire you?

* What is your most treasured memory?

* What do you feel is crucial to realizing world peace?

Work Life Cards

* What professional goals do you hope to accomplish in the next year? five years?

* What do you like best about your work and career?

* What do you like least about your work and career?

* Do you work to live or live to work?

* Does you job reflect your personal values? Is this important or are they separate issues?

* Has your career path been fairly predictable or has it had unexpected twists and turns?

* What is the difference between work and play?

* When working in teams, what three strengths do you bring to a group?

* Do you have a role model or mentor in your job or career? Why do you look up to that person?

* What is the most challenging aspect of your job or career?

* What is the professional accomplishment you are most proud of?

* Would you prefer working for a company or to be self-employed? Why?

* What is the most rewarding aspect of your current job or career?

* Would you advise someone to pursue a career in your profession? Why or why not?

* What are you most known for at your current place of work?

Partial List

of Card


Dream Cards

* If you won a one-month, all-expense paid trip any where in the world, where would you like to go?

* What would you do to end world hunger?

* If you could have three magic wishes, what would you wish for?

* You will live for 25,567 days if you live to be 70 years old - What do you really want to do in those days?

* If you won $10 million in the lottery today, what's the first thing you'd do tomorrow?

* If there were 8 days in a week, what would you do with that day?

* If you could give the president of the united states one piece of advice, what would it be?

* If you could commit one crime with the absolute assurance that you would never get caught, what would it be?

* If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three books would you like to have along or what three people would you like to have there with you?

* If you could become the leader of any country in the world, what would it be and why?

* If you could travel on a time machine to any era in time, what would it be and why?

* If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be?

Childhood Cards

* What is an important lesson you learned growing-up that you would like to pass on to your children?

* Where was your teenage hangout spot? Do you ever go back to visit that spot?

* What was your first job?

* What are your three most treasured memories about childhood?

* What was your favorite game as a child? Why?

* What was your favorite childhood toy? Why?

* What was your favorite subject in grade school? High school? College?

* Did you have a childhood teacher that made a difference in your life? How?

* What three people have most influenced your values and thinking as you grew up?

* Do you remember your first love? What have you learned about love since then?

* Where you ever a bully? Did you have a gang of friends? Did you have any enemies?

* What did you want to be "when you grew up"?

* What do you miss the most about being a child? a teenager? in college?

* Did you ever get away with something that your parents still don't know about?

* Was there an event in your childhood that changed your life for the better?

Design Process

A challenge with MixMania was narrowing the target audience and the subject matter. Initial ideas included specific questions for different audiences such as couples, families, and work groups. MixMania can still be modified to meet the needs of different groups by changing the nature of the questions.

Another issue was deciding the most appropriate type of card game for this subject matter. Because MixMania focused on adults, a rummy structure was selected. A war structure was considered early on. In a war structure, the objective of the game would be to get as many questions answered as possible. When all the questions were asked, the winner was the one with the most cards on the table. This was changed because there was the possibility that questions wouldn't be asked equally. By building in the "profiles," players are forced to get to know about each player in order to win.

References Some of the sample questions were taken from the following books:

* The Book of Questions, Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

* Life-Mates, Harold Bloomfield, M.D. and Sirah Vettese,Ph.D.

* Romance 101, Gregory J.P. Godek