Petworth residents find success with sardonic JadedAid card game

There are many ways to play grown-up card games nowadays, the most popular being Cards Against Humanity. If you don’t know the game, let’s just say it’s word-play game that definitely isn’t for kids. And it’s a lot of fun.

Petworth resident Wayan Vota, a fan of Cards Against Humanity, teamed up with friends Jessica Heinzelman and Teddy Ruge to create a new card game specific to their careers in international aid and development. They brainstormed on ideas and partnered with another Petworth resident, Maria Mandle, who runs CreativeCouch Designs, to create the card deck and branding. They then reached out to aid workers around the world for ideas. The result is JadedAid, a card game to save humanitarians… from themselves. 

They put the game idea up on Kickstarter, looking for backers and funds to help launch the somewhat cynical, sardonic word-play game. With 18 days to go and 941 backers, it’s been a huge success so far, easily surpassing their funding targets by more than double. 

JadedAid is described on their Kickstarter page as “a new card game for world-weary development workers to be the cynicism they want to see in the world. Our idea is simple: take the everyday frustrations of working for the Development Industrial Complex (the DIC) and turn them into a prescription for fun! JadedAid contains 100 cards that can be played alone or used in combination with similarly formatted games such as Cards Against Humanity to make the fun last longer than Mugabe’s rule.”

JadedAid's Kickstarter campaign has raised just under $30K on a $12K goal.

JadedAid's Kickstarter campaign has raised just under $30K on a $12K goal.

The funding campaign has been successful because it’s tapped into the frustrations many people working in international aid and development seem to feel in their jobs — and gives them a way to let off steam and express that frustration.  They've been interviewed and written about by WhyDev, Foreign Policythe Guardian, and Wayan was recently interviewed by the Huffington Post about the success of the Kickstarter campaign and the game itself:

"JadedAid is a Petworth production,” Wayan wrote to me. “The idea started here and it's being designed here, with global input.”

“I have always wondered how many people work in international development in Petworth,” Wayan said. “I see a few of my humanitarian peers at the pool, playground, and Petworth Citizen, so back in March I gathered a dozen people at my boss' house, who also lives in Petworth, to play Cards Against Humanity — a very off-color card game that's popular with adults.

“While playing it, we realized the game would be even funnier if we added question and answer cards that were specific to aid workers. And it was! We had so much fun playing it, that I decided we needed to have a word association-type game that was just for our industry. I recruited Jessica Heinzelman and Teddy Ruge to help and give the game a global perspective.” 

In developing JadedAid, Wayan said the team was “committed to creating a high-quality game that would have a unique brand and awesome graphic, that were themselves a subtle jab at the absurdity in development.”

Wayan turned to local designer and neighbor Maria Mandle, the designer behind Creativecouch Designs, to help create the look and feel of the card game. Maria has pretty much branded every leading Petworth project in the past several years, including Petworth Jazz Project, the Famers Market, Domku, Friends of Petworth Park and many others.

“Our heart logo is a perfect visual of blackened, bleeding heart, and the JadedAid logo colors match the USAID logo's red and blue exactly, a gift to those who have to deal with USAID's branding and marking rules. She's also helped us make card faces and backs that are beautiful in their detail, with a background of tears.”

In talking with me about the game and her designs, Maria said that the current funding success of the game comes from a focus on good ideas and strong branding. 

“The success JadedAid has received around town, from all of the chatter to surpassing their original Kickstarter funding goals to the Huffpost interview, is yet another testimony to the incredible value and legitimacy good branding adds to one's idea/business,” she said. “I see this project as a great example of the work I have been doing and want to continue to do in Petworth.” 

According to Wayan, JadedAid is best played with good friends and copious amounts of “indigenous alcohol,” and according to Wayan, Petworth has plenty of both. 

“We had many design sessions at Petworth Citizen and many of my late-night efforts in marketing our Kickstarter are fueled by beer runs to Town and Country Market.”

There’s still time to back the game on Kickstarter, support local Petworth residents and get your own copy. You can follow them on Facebook as well.