andrew burke





Self-Careless: The card game about getting through the day

Posted on: 2023-11-08

A few weekends ago I attended Hal-Con as a regular visitor for the first time after being a vendor for over a decade. It was fun, though I think I'm more of a "single day pass" nerd than "weekend pass" nerd at this point in my life.

Besides the Baby Races, my favourite part of Hal-Con was the vendor floor. I said hi to old friends, and felt a bit wistful about not being behind my own booth - but also happy to not be behind my own booth too.

I came home from my first day and told my partner "I think I've found a Christmas gift for you. It's a game." She immediately guessed "Is it that one where you have to keep your life together? I thought of us too!". We were living a sort of reverse of The Gift of the Magi. I guess we know each other too well! So I went ahead and picked up a copy of the game the next day.

The game is "Self-Careless" by Jason Anarchy Games. Their other games have been inspired by drinking in taverns in fantasy role-playing games, cheese-making, and making jam in Newfoundland, and in contrast this game is distinctly mundane and real-world - but that's a lot of its charm.

Self-Careless game box with Cat expansion deck

In the game you have a day off and are trying to take care of various chores while also making sure to take care of yourself. You need to arrange a balance of both types of activities in chronological order from noon to 11pm. Coffee power-ups are available to enhance your day, while your cat is out there trying to interfere.

The care and chore cards are instantly relatable, including things like "Get Outside", "Buy Groceries", "Alone Time", "Back Up Computer", all charmingly illustrated by webcomic artist Cassandra Cailin.

The game has a nice balance of chance and skill. You can play by yourself, with someone else in parallel trying to get the highest score, or adversarially with one person playing as the cat. It doesn't take up a lot of space and a whole game only takes about 20 minutes or so.

The only downside with playing the game is that I sometimes find the whole scenario a bit too relatable and I find myself stepping back and wondering what I'm doing with my life and reflecting on how well or poorly I'm managing things. I never have this problem when fighting evil robot aliens or sneaking past dragons!

Anyhow, it's a fun game and well worth checking out.

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