SMU professor, students create ‘Moby Dick’ inspired card game

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An SMU English professor and a couple of his students have taken the American literary classic “Moby Dick” and created a game – a card game simply called “Dick.”

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Tim Cassedy. Photo credit: Courtesy of SMU

Professor Tim Cassedy came up with the idea for the game while teaching a “Moby Dick” seminar class at SMU in the spring of 2015. Hayley Waring, a senior in the class at the time, said the class was reading the Herman Melville novel and started picking up on the humor in the text.

“Professor Cassedy came up with the concept for a game that preserves the literary merits of the book but still highlights that the language Melville used is really funny,” Waring said.

Cassedy and students Chelsea Grogan and Jenna Peck made a prototype of the game and brought it to class. It was an immediate hit.

“We all loved it and could not stop laughing,” Waring said.

The rules of “Dick” are very similar to those of the best selling game “Cards Against Humanity.” The game comes in a rectangular box and includes 400 white cards containing short phrases from Melville’s novel. Short phrases such as:

the inglorious bowels of a sick whale

unconditional and utter rejection

immaculate manliness

The game also includes a deck of green cards. For each round, one person plays the role of judge. The judge reads a phrase off of one of the green cards and the other players submit cards that complete the phrase. The judge picks the submission they think fits best. Here are a few examples of green card phrases:

“Ted Cruz caused a stir today when he called a press conference to denounce. . . ”

“You’re seeing a therapist for the first time. The therapist asked why you’ve come. Your answer:”

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A look at the game’s contents.

SMU English Professor Bruce Levy said the game is a brilliant idea and can be a good tool to get more people interested in literature.

“You can also get a real sense of how wonderfully weird and expansive the novel is. It takes the novel to another place in people’s imaginations, making people who are often resistant to literature realize how much fun it is,” Levy said.

Chelsea Grogan, who now lives in New York City, is still working with Cassedy to market and promote the game.

“The game has been really successful, and now we are excited to launch a “Moby Dick” inspired greeting card line,” Grogan said.

The greeting cards will have quotes from “Moby Dick” that are literally illustrated and interpreted on them. Grogan said the cards will be available on their website whysoever.com just in time for the holidays.

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