Community, Friends & Family, Society

Showing Others What Migraine is Like in a Game

14 DaysWe’ve all wished we could place someone else in our migraine shoes so they can see what it’s really like to juggle the demands of the illness. 14 Days, a tabletop game, is attempting to do just that. In this two-person game, players try to manage their time and responsibilities in a two-week period never knowing when a migraine will strike. When a migraine hits, they then have to decide if it’s worth taking meds from a limited supply and what falls through the cracks.

14 Days is a narrative game. The Kickstarter description explains it as: “On migraine days, the other player will ask you a question about how migraines impacted your day. Something like, ‘Who felt let down by you today?’ ‘What promise did you make to yourself today?’ and ‘What new ‘cure’ did someone share with you today?'” Reading that description, I thought, A game that requires me think about how I let people down? No thanks, I already do that every day. But my gut reaction was overshadowed by the games tremendous potential for awareness-raising.

The game provides the chance to really talk about the difficulties of managing migraine (or many other chronic illnesses) and to let someone experience, to a small extent, the daily frustrations we face. Then it encourages players to talk about the impact of migraine and how we cope. In an interview I did with Hannah Shaffer, the game designer, she said that playtesting the game has helped her talk about migraine in ways she never could before.

All that and the game looks like it will be fun, the artwork is gorgeous, and it helps support another person with migraine who is doing great work to raise awareness.

Learn more about the game and hear more from Hannah in my writeup on Putting Others in Your Migraine Shoes… With a Game. The Kickstarter campaign for 14 Days runs through July 28—just four more days. Pledging $8 will get you a PDF copy of the game when it is released; $25 will get you a full boxed version. With 259 backers, Hannah and her team have met their initial goal; now their stretch goals are within reach. Even if supporting the game isn’t in your budget right now, it’s worth taking a look at this creative approach to raising awareness about the impact of migraine.

2 thoughts on “Showing Others What Migraine is Like in a Game”

  1. I’m struck by how much we all want to just have our illness understood. I am constantly flumoxed by how insensitive my friends are. When I see them I am usually doing my best to look normal because it’s my coping strategy: if I can get out of bed, I’m going to go all the way. So I get that I don’t look like I’m in pain. But I try to explain that I’ve just spent 3 or 4 or 5 days in bed, with no pain relief, popping meds, in the fetal position and people will still complain to me about their cold, or their one hour headache, or their sore elbow. I never get upset, but gosh, it’s annoying…. If I look ok one hour, I can’t seem to explain that I might not be ok the next hour. I have very intelligent, lovely friends, but it just doesn’t stick.

    1. MZ, our lives our so outside the normal experience, I think it’s impossible for many people to understand what our days are like. When I was really sick, we had a rotation of friends and family who stayed with us to help out. Repeatedly, people said, “I knew you were sick, but had no idea how bad it was.” It’s almost like our experience is so big and crisis-ridden that our daily experience is hard to conceive of. Still, it’s hurtful when it feels like people don’t even try to get it. I’m sorry you’re going through this right now.

      Take care,

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