MORTALLS: The Death-Positive Conversation Game
Everything dies. It’s a fact of life. We just don’t like to admit that includes us, and the ones we love.
We live in a culture where being honest and real about death and dying is almost “taboo”. Most of us go to great lengths to avoid having to talk (or even think) about death. Especially in a group. And if we ever do talk about it, usually it’s an awkward, painful conversation that stresses everyone out.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The most meaningful card game you’ll ever play
We created the game MORTALLS to give people the opportunity to talk – and we mean really talk – about death and dying in a relaxed game environment. It’s a Question and Answer game that has been crafted with creativity, compassion and a dash of humor to keep the discussion non-threatening and encourage participation. It transforms what often is the most difficult topic to talk about into a truly profound – and sometimes even beautiful – experience.
MORTALLS can easily be adapted to any kind of group or situation. And, depending on the dynamics of your group, you have the option of playing either in plain discussion mode, or as a more competitive card & discussion game. Whichever way you play it, you’ll laugh… you’ll cry… and you’ll never forget what you hear.
Ultimately, MORTALLS is really a game about exploring and getting in touch with our own humanity and mortality — because doing that helps us appreciate life all the more, and frees us to live with less fear and more joy. That’s an awesome gift to give, both to yourself and to the people you care about
Here’s what people are saying about MORTALLS:
“A brilliant way to get us talking about the one thing that’s common to us all- death. The funny thing is, it ends up being more about life and helps us live that life more fully. Bravo!”- Rose S.
“I’ve worked with people in Palliative care, trained volunteers who will work with the people, organised death cafes for others – but have yet to discuss or even formulate my own wishes to my dear ones – this will help me and YOU do it.”- Sue B.
“After reading through all the questions, I realized what good discussions will result from playing this game! The questions can be as deep as players make them. I wonder what some of my family members will answer–myself included.”- Katie V.
“A long needed and essential conversation game. Apart from making us question our perceived ‘truths’ it gently challenges and invites us to think of alternative actions at that most un-talked about subject…death, or for the squeamish, End of Life.” – Annie W. (Australia)
“As a non-religious person, death wasn’t talked about much when is growing up. I like that MORTALLS brings up the topic in an open,comfortable way in which any version of afterlife – or none – are all equally viable. This isn’t gory scary death, but death as part of the cycle of life.” – Michi V.
“Reluctant to think—much less talk—about death? Expired provides a fun environment in which to examine not only your life and how well it has been lived but also issues relating to your death such as how you would like be remembered or making final arrangements. MORTALLS is a great way to open communication on a “grave” topic!” – Kickstarter backer
“As a culture we seem to have a “fountain of youth” addiction and, while seeking to be as healthy as possible is positive, we are all going to die, and I think that scares most of us. That fear inhibits our ability to live as healthfully, peacefully, and joyfully as possible. The discussion questions bring us gently to the reality of death of those we love, and ourselves. This game is a wonderful starter for letting go of that fear so we can live a fuller life before we die.” – Nancy S.
“MORTALLS is a game that will bring your entire family together for a healthy, respectful and non-judgmental discussion. Talking openly about your own mortality with your family and close friends helps us all to face our future demise in a positive way. Knowing what your family members and friends believe and what they desire as their last days approach will make that demanding and challenging time easier on everyone. Buy this game and share it with those you love.” – Beverly S.
Who we are
The hands behind MORTALLS are father/daughter team Jim and Jess Erskine.
Jim is an author of over thirty children’s books, humor books and educational curriculum resources, and operates the popular homeschooling website Homeschool Freebie Of The Day.com.
Jess is a book illustrator, graphic designer and videographer whose artistic skills made this project come to life.
Where did this game come from?
“Okay. I (Jim) suppose this project can be traced to my thinking a whole lot more about my own fear of death & dying the past few years, and how that affects the way I live. I can’t say I have my head wrapped around it all yet, but I can sure say this:
“When you look your mortality in the face and start to come to terms with the inevitability of your own death, it sure is freeing. Everything about life becomes all the more precious and filled with meaning. It helps put life, family, friends and work into clearer focus.
“And one of the things I realized I want to do – while I’m still able to “do” – is to help people understand this: Instead of denying the brevity of life, it is OK, necessary and healthy to acknowledge and talk about death, especially your own. Doing so helps you appreciate how precious and fleeting life is – and makes you more mindful of the time you do have on this earth. (That is my own personal definition of the term “death-positive”.) I wanted to share that with my own family and friends, but figuring out how to do so without freaking everyone out was the hard part. And so the idea for a discussion in a game format – MORTALLS – was born.
“As we compiled the questions for MORTALLS, we wanted to create an environment that would draw people out and encourage participation and sharing. Painfully personal questions were out. A mix of practicality, imagination, and a touch of humor were blended in. Potentially sensitive questions were crafted so that players could relate to them without feeling threatened. The questions have no right or wrong answer and the replies can take you in lots of unexpected directions… which keeps the discussion invigorating and helps players learn a lot more about themselves along the way.”
MORTALLS (Deluxe version with velvet carry pouch and custom die)
$12 (+ $5 shipping)
MORTALLS (Deluxe version with velvet carry pouch and custom die)
$12 USD (+ $12 shipping – sorry!)