Colgate Alumna Prepares to Launch Conversation Card Game

Colgate+students+try+out+a+table+card+game+created+by+alumna+Taylor+Buonocore+Guthrie+%E2%80%9908.+This+game+is+meant+to+facilitate+genuine+connections.%C2%A0

Colgate students try out a table card game created by alumna Taylor Buonocore Guthrie ’08. This game is meant to facilitate genuine connections. 

Megan Leo, Editor-in-Chief

Colgate alumna and entrepreneur Taylor Buonocore Guthrie ’08 is preparing for the release of Convers(ate), a table card game meant to spur conversation and facilitate genuine connection. Buonocore Guthrie and her business partner, Mollie Kinsman Khine, launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the game’s production. Within 72 hours, the campaign met its funding goal, and has continued to raise funds for future expansion packs. The campaign ends on November 10.

Convers(ate) works like this: every box comes with 28 conversation topics which contain over 300 unique questions carefully crafted by Buonocore Guthrie and Khine. These topics range from “travel” and “community” to “impermanence” and “differences.” Each of the 28 conversation cards has an icebreaker and a set of 10 expertly crafted questions. Each box also comes with a pocket guide that includes tips for creating genuine conversation, as well as takeaway cards.

The Convers(ate) website describes the game’s inspiration.

“Convers(ate) is inspired by the concept of a Jeffersonian Dinner in which guests gather around a dinner table for deep conversation over a shared meal. The group engages in conversation about an important topic of the day, shares perspectives, listens and learns from one another – one speaker at a time.”

After graduating from Colgate in 2008, Buonocore Guthrie volunteered in developing countries, including Ecuador and Tanzania. She then worked in corporate consulting – a job she learned about through a connection with a Colgate alum. Soon after, Buonocore Guthrie worked in internal development. She moved to Mongolia and worked with a mining company, helping with leadership and executive development and thinking about the best way to build high-functioning teams.

Buonocore Guthrie explained how her career path helped lead her to founding Convers(ate) with her business partner.

“I share all that because I feel like it’s been a long time coming without me realizing when I was graduating that what I’m really passionate about is learning and connections. I can say now really clearly, but only after about a decade of exploring all these different things in many, many different contexts, and realizing that what gives me the most energy is when I and other people are learning and when there are those moments of energy between people, when there is an insight or an understanding that’s achieved. For me, that literally feels like magic. I can feel the energy in the air when that happens, and that’s what gets me most energized.”

Buonocore Guthrie also shared why she believes a game like Convers(ate) is needed in a modern world where technology often reigns supreme.

“When we think about Convers(ate) and how this product came to be, it came from years and years and years of observing – from dinner tables, literally my family dinner table, to board rooms – that technology is increasingly training us to communicate in short form communication, whether it’s text messages or Snapchat, or Instagram stories; it’s the fastest, most transactional way to interact with people. And yet, we all have this common desire to connect on a deeper level. It’s part of what makes us human,” Buonocore Guthrie said. “Convers(ate) tries to help us get back to the good stuff – to get back to conversations that we really enjoy. And those range from intellectual, thought-provoking stuff, to personal stories and getting to know who somebody is.”

For a game to successfully generate meaningful conversation, participants must want to be there, Buonocore Guthrie explained.

“The one way that this really doesn’t work is when you have people that are not interested in listening and not interested in sharing,” Buonocore Guthrie said.

Buonocore Guthrie also described the types of conversation Convers(ate) facilitates.

“The way that we’ve developed the product is that the conversation bounces back and forth between experiential questions that want to know personal experiences and personal stories, and also points of view about something that we all can relate to –  some topic of the human condition, or something that we all experience on a regular basis in the world.”

The Buonocore name has recently become well-known in Hamilton, partly through the overwhelming success of Flour and Salt Bakery, founded and owned by Buonocore Guthrie’s younger sister Britty Buonocore ’12, who serves as the head baker. Flour and Salt also utilized the Kickstarter website to get the business off the ground.

Two weekends ago, Buonocore Guthrie was sitting in her sister’s bakery, taking pictures of a bagel next to Convers(ate) topic cards and contemplating out loud whether or not she should stream a live video promoting the game. Buonocore Guthrie had returned to Colgate to speak with students at a career panel hosted by Career Services. During that time, Buonocore had Colgate students run through the questions. As the students read the conversation cards, Buonocore Guthrie observed their reactions to ensure the game was successful across various platforms.

The methodology behind Convers(ate) was partly developed from working with professional teams. In addition, Convers(ate) sessions have been facilitated on college campuses, as well as at family and group gatherings.

Now that the campaign has met its funding goal on Kickstarter, Convers(ate) is set to move on to the production phase. Convers(ate) is on target to ship in December, and will hopefully be available on Amazon by the holidays.

“This can be a real place for us to connect, so come and be yourself,” Buonocore Guthrie said.

For more information, or to pre-order Convers(ate), visit https://www.convers-ate.com/.

Contact Megan Leo at [email protected]