Jeff Watson

The Thing from the Future

The Thing from the Future is an imagination game that challenges players to collaboratively and competitively imagine objects from a range of alternative futures. In addition to being a fun party game, The Thing from the Future is the creative engine behind Futurematic, a speculative design jam series jointly held by the Situation Lab and the Extrapolation Factory.


The object of the game is to come up with the most entertaining and thought-provoking descriptions of hypothetical objects from different near-, medium-, and long-term futures. Each round, players collectively generate a creative prompt by playing a card game. This prompt outlines the kind of future that the thing-to-be-imagined comes from, specifies what part of society or culture it belongs to, describes the type of object that it is, and suggests an emotional reaction that it might spark in an observer from the present. Players must then each write a short description of an object that fits the constraints of the prompt. These descriptions are then read aloud (without attribution), and players vote on which description they find the most interesting, provocative, or funny. The winner of each round keeps the cards put into play for that round, and whoever has the most cards when the game ends is declared the overall winner.


Game Design and Implementation: Stuart Candy & Jeff Watson

Purchase your own copy

The Thing from the Future decks are available for purchase from The Situation Lab.