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Compliment – Me-me –

I've been reading Reality is Broken, a book that Eric Bear (@bear) lent me last time I visited Cloudhouse, and it has inspired me to try to make my own alternate reality game.  I guess that's what you would call 'The Compliment me-me'.  The intention of this game is to get more practice and experience in giving people compliments and expressing gratitudes.

Mostly it was a response to McGonigal’s Cruel 2 B Kind game (also might be worth playing, gamers?).  I liked the author’s inspiration for her game – that we experience positive pro-social emotions that directly improve our own happiness whenever we give or receive compliments.  The C2BKind game seems fun but requires a lot of innocent bystanders, so this wouldn’t necessarily work for the ALC community (where I do most of my playing with friends).

I was also inspired by ‘the game’ that is played at ALC nyc [where if someone looks at you with upside-down-handed-goggle-face you need to touch a shoulder to the ground].  So I wanted to create a game that could be played ongoing over time in the background of whatever else is happening.  The result is a simple ’round’ of compliments.  A virtuous cycle of responses.

After each successful round, players award each other points.  “Ok, +2compliments for you, but i initiated, so i get +3…”

I figured by adding in this leveling up system there will be additional motivation to continue the game.  I’ve arbitrarily set the levels (which can be expanded if we play the game for a long time) so that each level is harder to achieve, but that you never lose your points, they accumulate.

Like the mouthy lips say:  “I’ve been playing for three weeks and I’m a LEVEL 5 Complimenter”.

I know there are more details and concerns/rules to look into, like how many rounds can you play with one person? Maybe there should be a time limit between how often you can interact with the same person? Or perhaps bonus points for each different person you play with per day? Also, at the moment I’ve got no DM/GM to track the scores of the various players so it’s an honor system. [Milo is visiting from cloudhouse, maybe he will be into it?] And yes, I get that paper-rock-scissors was perhaps not the best analogy.  It was my mental starting point.  Forgive.

I’m really looking forward to playing with all of you infinite players. 

Or should I say “I’m always blown away by the love I get from my friends”*.

@bear @abbyo @drew @tomis @nancy @ryanshollenberger @ninablanco @charlotte @douglasawesome @theskycookie @themadhatter @timotree @tommie @aquamanatee @kingthanos @lillaw @failspy @dimeglio @0nick125 @fireballdeath @thetypicaldonger

*This is where you would reply to me with smiley-winks of complicity and I would then be forced to reply with a compliment!


Here’s a larger, readable version of the photo with my hand drawn explanation and gaming rules.



Compliment me me


    • Actually I came up with a bunch of extra rules or upgrades. The most important one is that any player can only induct one new person into the game per day. If I induct you, then you can induct someone else, but I can’t. I’ve already inducted someone at the school…

  1. Abby says:

    So this is a hit–mostly with Javair and Douglas. There’s no counting points or levels with them…they’re playing a super simple version (A winks + B compliments A + A expresses related gratitude), and I think it’s actually more powerful than anything more structured/complicated would be. The way they play, they’re just motivated by how nice it feels to ask/be asked for a compliment…it’s not competitive. The absence of other rules also means that whoever initiates the round has to practice accepting compliments–they can’t escape into thoughts of levels or minor rules, so they have to get comfortable in their [usually awkward] listening. I really like this, because players are learning to ask for acknowledgement, receive without feeling guilty or deflecting, and share gratitude with friends. Props on the idea 🙂

    • My mind ran away with the excitement of coming up with the rules. I think that the simplest way is best. I think that the level-up system was clunky and unnecessary – even pointlessly dragging the experience into a behaviorist trap of extrinsic rewards! good thing that the actual and awkward experience of actually giving compliments and receiving acknowledgements is intrinsically rewarding – or it just wouldn’t be a game, now would it? The intention with the leveling was to create a sense of mystery for non-players to try it out. Don’t need it. It’s fun the way it is!

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