Year in Review Game

A Fast, Fun Way to Get Ready For New Years With Your Family

I call this game “Love, Learn, & Grow.” It is a modification on my son’s phrase, “You live, you learn, you grow.” I got the idea when I looked at my stack of journals from 2018 and thought – No way. Tim Ferriss, in his blog, talks about how he goes through his journals and catalogs a variety of things to help him plan for his next year to have a better year.

In typical Tim Ferriss fashion it is brilliant, over the top, and completely overwhelming to pull off. I have tried three times to do this myself, and I rarely get past ¼ of a year. This year, I decided to do something different.

I also wanted to do something that involved the rest of my family. Piling through a year’s worth of journals can be a lonely exercise. With everyone home from school, I suddenly remembered the “Prompt Questions,” we use in our Entrepreneur Meetings. When we open a forum meeting, we often ask a question to generate more sharing. I liked this idea but how could I apply it to a year in review?

I decided to simplify and streamline. Thus was born Love, Learn, and Grow.

Here’s how it goes.

  1. I made 12 cards with the name of each month on them. I grouped the cards into 4 piles of 3. Each pile represents a quarter (and roughly a season).
  2. I then made three cards for each family member (total of 15). There is one Love card, one Learn card, and one Grow card for each person.

I made all the cards by hand using 3×5 index cards.

We spread the month cards out on the dining room table, and I distributed a Love, Learn, and Grow card to each family member. We then took turns placing cards and sharing our memories from 2018. It was magic.

Here are the rules if you want to do this yourself.


  • Everyone gets three cards.
  • There are 12 months
  • Play one card at a time, in any order that makes sense to you. Place the card on the month you most strongly associate with that memory.
  • Tell your story and share

How to Play

  1. Layout the 12-month cards in 4 columns of 3 (or 3 rows of 4) in the middle of the table so everyone can reach them.
  2. Make sure everyone has a love, learn, and grow card.
  3. Start play to the dealers right.
  4. A player chooses one card to play. She may pick any card she wishes. She may play the cards in any order.
  5. The player places the card face up on top of the month he most strongly associates with his memory.
  6. She shares her memory.
  7. Play advances to the next player.
  8. The game lasts precisely 3 rounds until everyone has played his last card.

Some Extra rules:

  • You win by participating
  • You win because you will take away more than you brought
  • Be supportive
  • Be authentic
  • No criticizing, judging, or haranguing.
  • This isn’t a game as much as it is a coordinate set of prompts. The intention is to cultivate memories, reflection, and sharing.


  • If you can play more than one round you want.
  • You can also try to cover all 12 months before any cards double up on a single month.
  • You can have everyone play in the same card sequence (All the Love, All the Learn, all the Grow)
  • You have a rule that everyone must alternate cards (Can’t play a Love after a Love, etc.)

Year Cards

The year cards are four sets of three.

  1. January, February, and March in blue (for winter).
  2. April, May, and June in Green (for spring).
  3. July, August, and September in Brown (for summer).
  4. October, November, and December in Grey (for fall).

The Love, Learn and Grow Cards

There is one of each, for each player. Having only one card of each type keeps the game manageable and short. Asking people to reflect on a whole year can be intimidating. There is also a secret to the cards. I’ll tell you what it is after I explain them.

The Love Card

The love card is pink with a heart in the middle. The rule for this card is: Pick a memory from the past year that you don’t want to forget. This is where you loved, or you felt loved. The Love card is about connection, purpose, and relatedness. It is not limited to romantic, or family love. It represents the well being that comes from being connected to other people you care about and who care about you.

Play the card on the month you most strongly associate with that memory.

Examples include:

  • A romantic weekend with a spouse
  • A night out with friends
  • An adventure that caused your team to bond

The Learn Card

The Learn card is purple with a book in the middle. The rule for this card is: Share some wisdom you discovered over the last year. This wisdom can be a discovery, a skill, or a situation you want more of in the future. This card could be a practice, habit, or technique. It is something you can share with others.

If possible, select a lesson that you chose to learn.

Examples Include:

  • Learning to bbq
  • Learning how to shuffle a deck of cards
  • Learning the secret to managing a complex project

The Grow Card

The Grow card is green with a leaf in the middle. The rule for this card is: Share a memory where you grew as a person. Choose a memory or experience that made you better. Your memory should be personal to you. You feel better about yourself, you have added to your capability.

Examples Include:

  • Losing weight
  • Doing something that made you uncomfortable but you got through it.
  • Stepping up to a big project and handling it well

The Secret of the Cards

These memories were explicitly selected to map to the three domains of intrinsic motivation — the Love card is relatedness. The Learn card is autonomy, and the Grow card is mastery. Here’s a tip, when you choose to do things that make you stronger as a human being in service of people you care about, it can make your life feel… well meaningful. So when you look back over your year, it doesn’t hurt to remind yourself that you love, learn, and grow. And if those three things line up all the better.

The Intent

I intended for the game to bring our family together so we could share memories from the past year. I wanted everyone to feel encouraged and good about themselves. I was pleased with how everyone listened to each other and how diverse the interpretations of the cards were yet still fit the intention.


The game did not last long and was not intimidating, and everyone seemed excited to share their stories. Everyone felt heard. We played this game over dinner, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed it way more than plowing through a pile of journals. Give a spin, let me know what you think.

A Good Coach

Welcome back to my blog.

My name is Scott Novis, and I am the founder of GameTruck, the mobile video game party company. I created the concept quite literally in my garage in late 2005 and early 2006. My brother and I threw the first party for a neighbor in august of 2006 and we started the process of franchising in 2007. Our first franchise opened in Orange County California in 2008.

It’s been a long and interesting road. During that time, I would sometimes blog, sometimes use social media, and sometimes (most times) do nothing.

Blogging can be pretty challenging because there can be so many things to say, and so many different people to say it to, that it’s hard to know who you are talking to and what is worth saying.

As the owner of a franchise company (a company that sells and supports franchises), this gets even more complex. Why? Well, am I writing on behalf of myself? Or the hundred other owners who have invested in the brand, or am I writing to my (our) customers? How about the team here in Tempe? Am I writing to them? My friends? Other business owners?

Over the last year, I have put a lot of thought into this and as we head into 2019 I have come across a new understanding of branding, and communication. That has made it easier for me to get clear about who I am writing to, and what I might possibly have to say that could be of value to that audience.

In short, when I look back on my personal as well as my professional history, I realize that there is a common thread, and it is that thread that has lead me back to the keyboard. I think I do have something to say, and I think I know who would want to hear it.

Whether I was managing teams that built video games, or coaching kids to play baseball, I always believed that people wanted three fundamental things. They wanted to be skilled. They wanted to do work that mattered. They wanted to make difference. Put in one sentence: They wanted to make a contribution to a project and a team they cared about.

It is at the intersection of coaching, competition, and video games that I see a tremendous opportunity to make a contribution of my own. I started GameTruck so kids could play the best games with their best friends. Macro trends had driven our kids into virtual isolation. Despite throwing more than 225,000 parties, entertaining millions of kids, gaming in isolation persists.

I have come to understand that many gamers obsessively game because their social and emotional needs are not being met. I have met numerous parents who struggle with their child’s gaming. Sometimes I talk to a father who grew up playing football, or baseball and he doesn’t “get” the appeal of video games. Or I converse with a mother who is concerned about the amount of time her son (strangely rarely her daughter) spends alone gaming, not to mention worried about who they are talking to online.

It is this feelings of powerlessness and confusion of video games and isolation that prompted me to start my blog anew. I think I can help.

So why “The Good Coach”?

When our children came up through little league, one of our first concerns was to make sure that our kids got on a team with a “good coach”. Later, when I was asked to coach, I had to think long and hard about it, and I decided that what I would do everything in my power to be the kind of coach I wished I had as a kid.

Later, parents wanted their kids on my teams because in their eyes, I was “a good coach”. Those friendships formed from a mutual desire to help their kid achieve their potential are some of my most cherished. I realize now that parents and kids are both searching for a new kind of “good coach”. While I can’t personally coach anyone through a blog, I can share what I have learned over the last 15 years. Some of it quite recently.

So welcome. I will share what I know, what I believe to be true, and what I have observed. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary. But the goal is to start having smarter conversations about how we can help our kids find brighter futures, especially if they happen to love video games.