One may ask themselves: Why play a game about mansplaining? Nay, why make a game about mansplaining? It’s a fair question, and one I asked myself at the start of my journey with this game’s design. A few years ago, a friend reached out wanting to know if I would be interested in collaborating and designing a party game together. For those unfamiliar, a party game is typically a light game that’s quick to play and great for social gatherings, as they generate plenty of laughter and social interaction.
My friend, Mondo Davis, wanted to make a party game around mansplaining, and while I was unfamiliar with both designing a party game and co-designing, I was intrigued to try both. My first question as a designer was: What would make me play a game about mansplaining? It’s typically unpleasant to have someone explain the answer to the question you never asked, so simulating that didn’t seem appealing at all.
What did appeal to me was humor. Leaning into humor was, to me, the only path we should take if this game were to be made. Mondo and I ended up creating a game that gives you the freedom to be as creative and over the top as you want. This is a storytelling game and you are the storytellers.
Each round, there is one ‘Mansplainer’ who embodies the most ridiculous of professors and the wisest of know-it-alls. To them, any innocent passerby is their audience, rapt with attention, awaiting their instruction. The Mansplainer draws five cards: one Topic and four Detail words. The Topic will always describe how to do something; for example: How to tie your shoes. The Detail cards have random words — like Cake, Prince, Culture, or Lion — that you must sneak into your Mansplanation without your audience being the wiser. You want your audience to guess your topic, as any good mansplainer does; but you do NOT want them to guess those Detail words you slipped in. After all, you’re not quite sure you even used them correctly.
The Mansplainer gets sixty seconds to give their Mansplanation while the audience takes notes. Players get points for all their correct guesses, and the Mansplainer gets points for how well they mansplained. Mansplaining is a quick game that can be learned in two minutes and be played by all genders. It’s family friendly, and can be played well in large or small groups. It was released by Breaking Games and can be found on Amazon or the Breaking Games website. I unexpectedly found fun in Mansplaining, and I hope you do, too.
Fertessa Allyse is a board game designer based in Seattle who designed Book of Villainy and Wicked & Wise, and co-designed Mansplaining. She is also a part of the Flatout CoLab and has worked on their two newest titles: Nocturne and Cascadia Rolling.
You can follow Fertessa Allyse on Twitter: @fertessa