Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 25th
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Playing Games

ae_game10709Local creates original board game that resembles ‘The Secret’

Jai Hudes is playing games with me. He leans in and asks me to tell him about an intention I have in life. I do so with a shrug, wondering, ‘what have I got to lose?’ Then he hands me a deck of circular cards and asks me to draw one from the stack. I continue to follow his prompts and as I reveal the card I’ve chosen, he nods knowingly. I lay the card down on a table, and then he and his colleague, Suzette Messa, offer commentary on my intention and the card that I chose.

It seems as if we’re involved in a Tarot card reading or some sort of psychic activity, but that’s not the case at all. What we’re doing here is playing “experience—THE GAME,” a socially interactive board game that is reminiscent of what would happen if the book, “The Secret,” were condensed into a game.

In THE GAME, of which Hudes, a Santa Cruzan, is the creator, participants acknowledge intentions they have for themselves, their life, or for others, and draw inspiration from a card they choose, and from the feedback of fellow players. Hudes doesn’t claim that the game is divinely inspired or spiritually guided at all, but he doesn’t close the door on that possibility, either. Really, as he sees it, THE GAME is what you need it to be, and it can help you move closer to your intentions.

ae_game21THE GAME is both inspiring and curious. It’s esoteric and yet grounded at the same time. And perhaps the title is really what describes it best, because you can only really ‘experience’ THE GAME, rather than hear about it. This is a hands-on sort of thing.

Back in the late 1990s, Hudes started imagining some sort of tool that could “bring people together on a big level,” he says. “To have more peace in ourselves and the world; to have better relationships, both on interpersonal and global levels.” His idea morphed into a game which has many facets—the board game, an online version, a website and more.

In 2006, he launched “Global Community experience” which created THE GAME. Since then, THE GAME (both the board version and the online version) has been gaining fans— primarily through word of mouth. And now as THE GAME is garnering more attention, both locally and beyond, he’s launching a Santa Cruz version of THE GAME with the ‘intention’ of getting Santa Cruz citizens and government to express their citywide intentions.

“The goal is to reach the highest potential while helping others reach theirs,” he says. The game plays like this: it starts with three decks of cards, including life cards, relationship cards, and challenge cards. A player first speaks out their intention, and then chooses a life card, on which is written a word. The player then discusses how that word relates to the intention. Other players can comment. Then the player can choose another card from another stack and see how that relates to their intention. Another player takes a turn and attaches his or her card to the original card, and so on, until a collection of cards is displayed, each somehow relating to the card touching it. There are a bunch of nuanced rules, but the gist of the game is to get people to express their internal intentions, hear feedback, and, in fact, watch as seemingly relatable cards are laid down before them.

ae_game20709According to Hudes, THE GAME is currently being translated into different languages with the ‘intention’ of getting THE GAME out to the masses on a global scale. In fact, he believes it could have as much success as Monopoly. The current cost is $39.95.

As for the local component, Hudes and a number of other locals, including Mayor Cynthia Mathews, recently filmed a segment of playing THE GAME together on Community Television—keep an eye out for it.

The Santa Cruz version of THE GAME will have cards with Santa Cruz images, and will be “customized for the people in the Santa Cruz area,” Hudes says. It will include everything from local arts, history, finance, sports, health and wellness, and so on.

And while the game itself is certainly interesting and seemingly fate-related at times, what’s even more so is the story behind THE GAME. In 1980, Hudes was traveling and ended up in Europe, where he wrote a book about his travels. One day he took the book to a psychic in London. She opened the book and according to Hudes, said, “this book will be a game, played by people all over the world.”

Seems like destiny enjoys a good card game.
To learn more about THE GAME, visit It sells for $39.95.

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