Original Odyssey
Courtesy Photo

Succeeding at card and board games typically requires quick thinking, a competitive spirit, and following rules, with a touch of creativity thrown in. But a new type of card game recently released by Santa Barbara-based Foreverbird Studio flips traditional card game strategy on its head: generating creative ideas in and of itself is how one succeeds when playing Original Odyssey.

“What the game is intending to do is to help people sort of get in touch with their own unique path in life,” said Mitra Cline, the game’s creator and the owner of Foreverbird Studio.

The deck is made up of 33 three-by-three-inch cards, each featuring a word pertaining to one of the game’s three themes — outside, inside, and art — as well as a colorful illustration done by Cline. The backs of the cards depict a small part of a larger, map-like scene that can be pieced together like a puzzle. Because self-expression and creative thinking are the goals, Original Odyssey rejects the rigid rule-based structures of most other games in favor of improvisational play.

The themes and artwork of the cards are the springboard from which players are to generate new ideas of self-expression. Once a player has an idea, he or she jots the idea down on the back of a card. The deck, in effect, becomes a personalized notebook of ideas that can be added to and referenced.

The principles behind the game emerged from Cline’s education. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute and eventually enrolled in grad school, studying the psychological aspects of creativity.

“The map is based a little bit on imagery of unconscious psychology — a forest and an ocean — and those are visual metaphors for the unconscious mind, which is the stuff that we don’t know,” said Cline. “And all creativity is the emergence of new things from the unknown.”

Her business experience also played a considerable hand in the creation of the game. After returning to her hometown of Santa Barbara following art school, she began amassing experience in business, marketing, and graphic design. Her entrepreneurial efforts culminated in the founding of Foreverbird Studio, through which Cline works with other entrepreneurs and start-ups to develop the creative aspects of their businesses, from concept development for services and products to community-oriented public events. Along the way, she discovered that her clients often struggled to communicate their creative ideas, and although her business is devoted to bridging this gap, Original Odyssey became a way for others to develop these skills themselves.

“A lot of people who haven’t been making art or don’t consider themselves creative find it really intimidating to even take the first step,” said Cline. “But most people feel pretty comfortable playing games and cards. It’s kind of intended to be not very intimidating — an easy entry point.”

Original Odyssey can be purchased in a number of forms online, including as a $25 complete set and as a $10 downloadable and printable version, via the Original Odyssey website, originalodyssey.com. For more information on Foreverbid Studio, visit foreverbirdstudio.com.


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