Wax a patch of hair off your body. Show the group the last thing you Googled. Take the socks from the sweatiest player and wear them on your hands until your next turn.
These are all cards that can be found in the box of the newly released card game Whatever, described on a fundraising page as “a party game of awkward situations and embarrassing confessions,” created by Temple University alumni Bret and Ali Ludlow and their business partner, Brittany Jones. The game originated during their college days before they decided to market and sell it.
“There wasn’t a lot of new creativity in the games that we would get off the shelves,” said Bret Ludlow, a 2011 marketing alumnus. “So we found ourselves making up our own game, and we would play it with different groups of friends.”
Whatever, which the creators best described as a cross between truth or dare and the crude fill-in-the-blank card game Cards Against Humanity, was entertaining enough that the trio continued to play it regularly after they graduated.
“The dares kept getting more crazy and weird,” said Ali Ludlow, a 2012 nursing alumna who married Bret in October 2013.
With prompting from friends and Jones’ mom, the Ludlows and Jones decided early last year to transform one of their favorite college pastimes into a physical tabletop game. They launched a Kickstarter campaign in November 2017 that raised nearly $13,000.
Bret Ludlow said much of the success he had navigating the marketing side of the project is due to his Temple education, which he found extremely helpful throughout his career. But as with any major project, there were obstacles.
When the Ludlows and Jones initially played Whatever, they didn’t have a physical product and needed a deck of cards and pieces of paper to set it up.
“We made a prototype and started to send it around the country to different groups of people, different ages, different backgrounds,” Bret Ludlow said. “We would get them to take surveys after they played. We had to make tweaks and changes all the way up to the end.”
The team did the testing without the help of an organization, while the playtesters were unpaid volunteers.
Though the game has evolved significantly since its original days being played in the creators’ apartments near Main Campus, some of the first players still have fond and slightly embarrassing memories from playing.
“If you have a group of people who are in the right mindset and not afraid to make fun of themselves, you’ll end up crying from laughing so hard,” said Torey Felton, a 2012 nursing alumna who has a long history of playing Whatever.
She added the secret to winning the game is being willing to look like a complete idiot.
“A few drinks usually helps too,” Felton said.
The game was designed for millennials and college students, and its creators have a strong presence on Facebook and Instagram to connect with their target demographic. On their social media, users can find funny videos of people playing the game, which is available exclusively on Amazon.
“Do not play this game with children,” the game’s Amazon description reads. “Only with your friends who still act like children.”
Ali Ludlow said plans to sell Whatever at walk-in stores are in the works, but they won’t come to fruition until next spring.
In the meantime, the game is still played on campus today. Freshman psychology major Nathan Olski played Whatever at the beginning of the semester and said he had nothing but positive impressions.
“You have to be up for anything,” Olski said. “I didn’t do what one of the cards said, so I had to stuff tissues up my nose for the entire round.”