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New tabletop pastime offers theatrical twist; it's developed by former Portlander Don Wilder and partners, and it could hit the market in September

COURTESY PHOTO - Drama Mayhem, developed by former Portlander Don Wilder and team, is part-Cards Against Humanity, part-Charades and allows for improv and scenario role-playing.If Don Wilder hadn't played basketball at Multnomah University in Portland, he might not have played basketball in China.

If he hadn't lived in China, he might not have learned to communicate with foreign-speaking students.

If he hadn't learned how to teach students, he might not have appreciated the beauty of improv as a teaching tool.

With improv in mind, the entrepreneur Wilder and his partners have developed the new tabletop card game Drama Mayhem, which could hit Amazon and stores later this year. A Kickstarter campaign has been launched, and Wilder hopes to set up production and distribution by September.

Drama Mayhem is part-Cards Against Humanity and part-Charades. Two players take on two characters in one common scenario, and the most effective player earns one point in the game from the "judge." There are 6 million different character and game scenarios.

It's meant for 6-year-olds and older — people willing to act and do improv — with an "adult extension pack" with more risqué stuff, a la Cards Against Humanity.

Wilder, an Idaho native who attended Multnomah and played basketball in the 2000s, has partnered with fellow "digital nomads" Aaron Bren (Idaho), Greg Curtin (Chicago) and Casper Olden (China). Wilder lives in Thailand but still does business in China, where he played semi-pro basketball and taught English as a Second Language, which served as the impetus for Drama Mayhem.

"I used role play and improv in the classroom and I saw how they responded," Wilder says. "People like to act out. You don't know your friends until you play Drama Mayhem."

Wilder, who has family living in the Portland area, has play-tested the game several times, and sent about 200 decks to improv artists, comedians, actors, directors, corporate trainers and CEOs. "And I've had a great response from so many," he says.

"By acting out scenarios and stepping out into a different world view, especially for kids, it teaches a sense of empathy. (In the game) you pull that scenario and, for example, you don't know if you're going to be the cop or somebody getting the ticket. It teaches communication skills, how to be persuasive. and it's really fun to play."

It's motto is "game night will never be the same."

There is pre-sales on the website DramaMayhem.com. There'll also be a mobile app for the game.

"We're trying to build an online community around improv as well, where you can play the game offline but share online. There's really not a game like this that plays so well to modern day social media," Wilder says.

"Nobody plays Monopoly and records it and puts it on Facebook. But, with Drama Mayhem, where you'll do one-minute role plays, I expect a lot of people will want to capture that and share it with friends. That's an ecosystem that we'll play with."

Wilder has developed other products, like a line of men's fashion belts, but it's his first game.

"We want to bring good drama to the world," he says.


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