Dangerous by Design: Thinking About the Box

To think outside the box. It’s a well-known idiom used to describe how solutions can arise through unconventional methods. Said to originate from nine dots puzzles and their use within corporate environments to demonstrate lateral thinking, this phrase has become somewhat of a trope. So instead of thinking outside the box let’s think about the box itself. Is it made of cardboard or metal? Is it cuboid or cylindrical? How strong is it? Any special properties? This is what Danger The Game is all about.

Cards in Danger The Game are like one of these boxes. You can take them all at face value but using the same one again and again will wear it down. Find ways to recycle it by reevaluating what else can be done outside of being a regular box. These cards don’t need to be taken literally; they’re simply a starting point for the imagination and not a limitation. To demonstrate, let’s randomly draw one of each card type to create a scenario, starting with the Danger.

DANGER: Chased by a giant ball of yarn which, in turn, is being chased by an even larger cat.

In this exercise, you’ll be the victim and I’ll be the rescuer. First, consider how the situation came about. Maybe you were shrunken down to the size of a mouse and now your cat thinks you’re a new toy. Or aliens have invaded earth by unleashing large feline creatures they control using large, rolling UFOs. For our purposes let’s go with this: you were exploring an ancient ruin ruled by a cat monster who protects a giant ball of golden yarn. But to assist you in such a predicament, I’ll need a Skill.

SKILL: Perform jazz hands with your feet.

This is certainly an interesting talent that could be surprisingly useful, so let’s evaluate some possibilities. Will my vibrating feet allow me to fly with ease? Perhaps it’s simple to put on a show incredible enough to distract anyone. Or I can have the music magically flow through me. Again, we have some entertaining choices, but I can only pick one. Let’s make it this: my feet are literally hands, letting me climb and swing like a monkey. With that decided, I only need a Tool.

TOOL: The world's most famous flea circus.

A collection of small insects might not appear to be helpful, but let’s think about this. Fleas are tiny and able to get into hard to reach places, so maybe they’re trained to wiggle inside the yarn and move it on their own. Another possibility is they’re fleas who can flee, allowing me to help you escape quickly. While these are imaginative uses, sometimes the best solution is the most obvious. Fleas tend to be a pet’s worst enemy, so I’ll lean heavily on that. This gives us the final piece of the puzzle. Time to put it all together.

Following you, the victim, on your expedition into the recently discovered temple of a cat god, we stumble upon a large ball of golden yarn. But before we can get closer, you activate a hidden trap, unleashing the temple’s cat guardian. As this behemoth bats the yarn ball your way, I leap onto the wall and climb using my hand-like feet. This distracts the monster long enough for my trained flea circus to hop from my pockets and into the feline’s fur. Overcome with itching, the cat guardian stops and can no longer pursue the golden yarn or you. With the danger under control, both of us escape with pieces of the golden yarn and our lives.

What do you think? Would you award me the Danger card? As you can see, every choice made took the story in a new direction. Just imagine the different possible outcomes had we used any of the other suggestions. Thinking about the cards in this way created completely unique variations for the same setup. This is the key to playing Danger The Game. These boxes aren’t designed as a constraint, but as the framework to build on. Elaborate to find the hidden details and create structures full of boxes bursting at the seams.