Pando: The Family History Game

The family history industry has been stuck inventing and
reinventing different ways to discover names and dates for decades. People everywhere are studying their roots to try and discover where they come from. However, many of those same people couldn’t tell you what grandpa’s
favorite food was or how mom met dad. I started to think about all the things I
don’t know about my parents early life– simple details about their dating
experience, proposal, wedding, us kids being born, places they lived, pets they
had. I was drawing blanks everywhere. Answering the same questions about my
grandparents was near impossible. I realized that, through no fault of my
family’s, a generational gap had been created. I also realized that the vast
majority of grown kids and grandkids lacked the same basic knowledge about
their parent’s and grandparent’s story. To me, that was a problem that needed to be fixed. How can we allow ourselves not to know where we come from. Somehow, with so
much focus put on discovering our ancestors names and birth places, we’ve
missed the story of our own parents and grandparents. The funny thing is that is
the only story we truly have access to and we’re letting it go. What if we could
create a game that would reveal our parents and grandparents stories while
being both competitive and fun to play? What if through that game we could
ignite a passion for discovering roots, build a bridge between previously
disconnected generations, and create a new type of family gathering. This year,
we decided to turn what-if into a reality. We are building the world’s
first family history game and we’re calling it Pando. Named after a forest in
south-central Utah that happens to be the oldest living organism in the world
and the largest root system on the planet. It’s not easy to build the first
of anything, but we went to work. Brainstorming, rule writing, question
writing, focus grouping, and refocus grouping. What we came up with is a
transformational game that we think every family should play. We thought the
game should be easy to set up and play in a living room with a large group,
so we designed it without game pieces, pencils, or pads.
Pando consists of 234 carefully culled questions on high contrast cards. Players
will notice that each Pando card features a unique tree photographed at
the actual Pando forest. Boiled-down, grown siblings compete to see who knows the most about their mom and dad’s story. It’s a race to see which sibling gets
the most answers correct the fastest. Mom and dad ask the questions, they judge the answers, and they tell the stories. “The card came up asking when my, you know, what my mom rode in, what car my mom rode in to prom.” “And she reads the question and then she starts tearing up a little bit.” “I never got to go to prom
because my father had a massive heart attack that day…and so my children had
never heard that story and we got to tell them.” “and I never thought that
question would have brought that out, and I just didn’t just didn’t know that that
was part of the history there.” “I think they’re kind of two feelings really…
because on the surface it’s really exciting, it’s fun, you’re laughing, you’re
having a great time–but inside, you’re kind of on this little personal journey
where you’re, you’re feeling something deeper about who you are and where you
came from and what your roots are and I think
that’s powerful.” If you feel as I feel–that the story of mom and dad, of Grandma and Grandpa, is important enough to save– If you sense the urgency of finding out
where you come from–If you believe in the power of families gathering and
connecting–If you get that family history is not a hobby–that it’s a
transformational force that belongs in every family’s living room–then I am
ready to join you in the cause. Backing this campaign is a vote for family
history, a vote for family game night, a vote for families gathering, connecting,
laughing, and discovering their roots. So back this campaign, and let’s start a
family history revolution together.

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