Peek is fun and intellectual speculative game where you trade telling short stories about the future, based on current trends in technology (AI, robotics), environment, and politics. It is essentially a playable speculative/science fiction novel inspired by role-playing-games (RPGs) and improv theatre. Players build mini-stories about the future using classic storytelling elements like character, conflict, meaning, and context from the individually-illustrated game cards along with an easy-to-follow scoring and rules system. People on every continent have bought Peek (except Antarctica, far as I know) and it has been featured in the book Beyond Speculative Design, was the subject of a recent episode of the Ludogogy podcast, and a featured in a number of international conferences, workshops, and play sessions after it debuted at the V&A Museum’s Digital Weekend 2018, .
There is a short article on how storytelling works in Peek, or you can watch a video playlist explaining Peek and the game play. BUT — the short version is that it’s easy to play: you pick a few cards with illustrations and short stories on them and trade telling made-up facts about them to entertain each other without getting too ridiculous. The game builds until you are confident enough to tell a story about the future that includes as many cards from everyone’s hand as possible, scoring points for creativity and plausibility. Seriously, its critical but also fun!
Peek was playtested internationally for over two years with a variety of audiences from introverted programmers to theatre artists, authors and speculative designers of all ages. No one has yet failed to make a creative story in a short amount of time!
For 2-4 individual players or 2-4 groups of 1-2 players.
For ages 12 and up, due to a few adult themes and one or two cards with adult situations and content (but no explicit pictures!). It’s probably also not that interesting to younger children.
Games typically last 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the people involved and the availability of high calorie foods and alcohol. Since stories can be open-ended, some games don’t end!
You can play Peek according to our “rules” or use the cards separately in other card games where characters and situations are needed. Or, remix the rules yourself and tell us about it! We also welcome story and character submissions for future sets.
Which should I buy?
There are two editions of Peek, covering the near-future years 2020-2060.
Peek One (2020-2030) is a darker, more uneven vision of the near future exploring the disruptive impact of new technologies like AI on work, politics and family life alongside the need to tackle global warming and all the dire implications of climate change. (It’s also funny and optimistic in parts)
Peek Two (2040-2060) is more speculative since it looks into the farther future. The risks of climate change and AI are greater, but so are the possibilities for positive futures and unexpected developments.