Courtesy of Spark Cards
By Jonas Weir
With the goal of sparking meaningful conversations, four Columbia residents came up with the idea for Spark Cards and launched a Kickstarter to help bring their far-from-ordinary conversation card game to the public.
The topics set Spark Cards apart from a typical icebreaker game. The initial seventy-two-card set is divided into three categories: the friendly; good and evil; and life and the pursuit of happiness.
“I think Spark is for passionately curious individuals, people who constantly wanting a different perspective, those who yearn for a greater understanding of this world,” says Patrick Connor, a Kansas City native and one of Spark's four team members.
With quotes from famous figures from throughout history—including Missourians Mark Twain, T.S. Elliot, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Walt Disney, and contemporary writer Clay Shirky—each card presents a question and few follow-up questions. The questions aren’t easy, like “What is your favorite color?” They’re often difficult, intellectual, or emotionally heavy. Here’s an example:
“What biases do you admit to holding about others?”
The follow-up prompt reads, “Are biases inherently wrong?”
As you might surmise, these cards have the ability to spur intense dialogues that dive beyond a surface level. They are meant to recreate those late-night tangents that unfold to show new sides of a friend, family member, or casual acquaintance.
Over a bottle of wine one night, Emily Holdman, a St. Louis native, and Susanne Bylund, a Swedish transplant, went into a long, spiraling conversation about, well, conversations. The seeds for Spark were laid. Over the next year, Emily and Susanne recruited Patrick and Camille Bragin, a Columbia native who recently moved to Joplin, and began fleshing out how Spark would manifest.
Today, they’re extremely close to seeing their brainchild come to fruition. They’ve created the deck of cards and done all of the hard work; they just need to raise money to cover the publishing costs. With less than 48 hours to go, their Kickstarter is more than 93 percent funded, just a $643 away from reaching its $10,000 goal.
If you’re going to donate, Patrick recommends going for the thirty-five-dollar level. That way, you’ll get the entire game for five dollars less than it will be sold at after the Kickstarter. If just nineteen more people buy the game, the Spark Cards team will meet their goal.
Update: The Kickstarter was fully funded on September 10, 2014.