Gyft News
The Gyft Tree

What's Up with Gyft?

Keep tabs on the project here. You might also want to check out what Stories people have written about their experiences with the cards. Now, on with the news!

Social Networking

The development of online play continues. We're looking at integration possibilities with instant messaging services, blog memes, and SMS to cell phones. If you are interested in participating in the public beta, please drop us a line!

Austin Update

Well, here we are in June, and things are heating up again in the Gyft kitchen. We just submitted an application for Austin's New Year's Eve event, First Night, which might wind up being our biggest release ever at one event: 5,000 cards. We'll keep ya posted on the results in August. In other news, we're currently designing the online play system, and expect to have it working by the end of the year. It's a lot of work getting online play going, but I think what we're coming up with is going to be way fun.

Library Fun

Since the last update, we released another 300 cards at the opening of the Austin Carver Branch Library, and then another 300 were set loose at the Creativity Conference in Austin. For the time being, we are putting the project on hold for a while as we all have had lots of stuff emerge in our lives. We still have plans to print in large numbers and make them available online, but we're re-working exactly how we want to do that, and when. Check back for an update!


Last week we made up a couple hundred cards and took them to the Austin pre-screening of Beyond Blackrock, a new Burning Man documentary that is about to be released. It was awesome to see so many people with cards, since we probably covered about half of the people there. We've put our plans with the Gyft Tree on hold for next year, and instead we'll focus on getting 4,000 cards ready for the playa, and 1,000 for the Republican National Convention in New York (happening at almost the same time). Plus we're planning on implementing a few web changes, and updating the entire card library by the end of August. So, mid-September we should be up and running with printed decks, and we're probably going to offer single laminated cards since lots of people seem to want them. We'll be able to discuss it all in the Gyft Forums very soon. And now, back to work...

Many Things Are Afoot

Gyft is about to switch into high gear again as we get ready for Flipside and Burning Man. We have found a way to deeply cut our card printing costs, so we expect to have unlaminated decks available online in 2 to 3 months. Wheee! We have also applied to the Black Rock Arts Foundation to help us with our next big project, the Gyft Tree. This bit of scuplture combined with the Gyft cards will be an awesome thing to behold, indeed.

Progress Update

Jason has been working on some new features and will be bringing them online over the course of the next several months. If you go to the Find a Card section you will see the first fruits of his effort, the fabulous Search Box! On the printed card front, there are secret workings in progress that just might turn into hundreds of thousands of strange, skinny Gyft cards being released into the wild. We'll post details once we know for sure whether the deal will or will not happen.

Website Update Report

We just finished the site design for the new website and the backend work has begun! While an exact time of arrival is still a bit hazy, it's safe to say we should hit our goal for having the basic features up and running by the end of this summer. Or maybe early Fall. Our wonderful friends Alan and Josh are building it using Zope3 (for the geeks out there who might be wondering). The rest of the archive (some 200 cards not shown online now) will probably come up at the same time unless there's more of a delay than expected. Yay, progress!

Preparing for Glastonbury

The utterly amazing Ranger Badger is embarking on a trip to England for the Glastonbury Festival, a huge contemporary music gathering. He plans to release a whopping 1500 cards to the unsuspecting festival-goers. We got the whole pile done in record took about 32 hours. Kudos to Badger for instigating and sponsoring this run, and for taking on the colossal task of stringing and distributing them all! We'll have a report on how everything went coming soon.

Flipside Report

The cards had a place to live at Flipside this year. We built a one frequency geodesic dome out of 2x4s and starplates and covered it with a parachute and UV tarp. Every day we left out bunches of cards and hung some on the walls so people could look at them all and choose the ones they wanted to play. We also left out some index cards and art supplies for those who wanted to make new cards. People left lots of new card ideas and friendly comments about Gyft. All in all about 600 cards were given away. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it, and now we have a structure for events to come!

Dream Card Scheme for Flipside Town Hall

Choosing a theme for Flipside is a serious matter. SO serious, in fact, that a few Omspun conspirators decided to create a set to support our favorite theme idea: Dreams. We created 25 new cards and made a total of 50 to give out at the Town Hall, where the theme was to be decided. Who knows what kind of an impact the cards made, but people had fun with them. The chosen theme? It turned out to be a hybrid of three different ones and congealed into the strange but fabulous Dreams of Chromatic Distraction. Three cheers for decisions by committee!

Burning Man Report

For Gyft's first appearance at Burning Man we took out 1500 cards. You know, that's about 20lbs of memes-in-a-box. We had to take them out without strings to save room and time, so once we got there we had many hours of string-tying ahead of us. All we can say is thank goodness for Center Camp, a sort of central loafing place and coffee dispensery where many people gather. For most of the week, we set up a string-tying sweatshop amongst ourselves which grew to include a great many happy volunteers who were thrilled about Gyft and wanted to help. It turned out to best the best way to give out the cards as well, as people would pass by and run off with a few they liked. We must have talked to hundreds of people every day! We would occasionaly run into people wearing cards during our wanderings at the event, which was the greatest reward for all of the work we did. Next year, we're shooting for a larger number. Should be a blast!

A Website is Born!

Jason and I have decided to take the card idea and run with it. We're going to see how far we can take this idea, so naturally the first step is a website! We've set up a central repository and information source, and we've named the project Gyft. We want create a tool for people to play online and interact with each other. So many ideas! We also want to print really cheap, playing card quality decks for playing in "civilized" environments, too. With the help of our friends and Omspun, we're planning on bringing Gyft in its rugged form to gatherings of various shapes and sizes from here on out.

Flipside Report

The idea that sprang to life from the collective mind of Omspun took shape as The Card Game and was successfully released at Flipside. We spent many hours as a group coming up with about 150 card ideas and figuring out the logistics of the game, then broke the creation tasks up among those who did the graphic design, art, laminating, punching, and string typing. We all chipped in to make 400 cards. They went over incredibly well! Because the ratio of cards to participants was so high, we saw them on people all over the place, caught lots of interactions in progress, and had them played on us! It was a most successful experiment in enhancing the interaction frequency at Flipside, which was the whole reason we tried it. We've even seen members of the local community wearing them around habitually!