Suggested Game


buffalo is an extremely simple game that I (as a hardcore gamer) can play with my family and have fun, which is a rare occurrence.

The game comes with 400+ cards, each one with an adjective or a noun on it.

The game has exactly three rules:

1. If you can shout out the name of a real person or fictional character that matches two or more cards, you take those cards. For example, if “Teenage” and “Book Character” are out, you could say “Harry Potter,” and take those two cards.

2. If your group cannot make a match (either because the cards out are too hard, or there are 0-1 cards out since matches need to be 2+), you flip two more cards over and players can match across any 2 (or more) cards.

3. If a “buffalo” card is flipped, the first person to match 2 cards takes all the cards on the table. The buffalo card just institutes a “winner take all” situation for one round. This has the added benefit of clearing out difficult cards.

But these rules rarely, if ever, need to be explained! Very often I’ve seen a game of buffalo start off with two or three players and end with eight. Hearing players shouting out the names of famous people draws party-goers or strangers over to the game, and it really only takes a minute of watching to figure out how to play.

In addition to the engaging and enjoyable gameplay, buffalo has another important element; it was developed as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project called “Transforming Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) For Women and Girls: Reworking Stereotypes & Bias.” Initial data from studies shows that by requiring players to match categories of people that our society views as disparate, buffalo reduces prejudice and encourages greater inclusiveness in players’ representations of social identity groups.

buffalo is made by Tiltfactor (www.tiltfactor.org/the-lab), an academic design studio, game research lab, and independent publisher out of Dartmouth College. Tiltfactor wants to make a more just and equitable world through games.