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.

Games of Interest

People helping people grow

I am a big believer in macro trends. One of my idols, the management guru Peter Drucker was famous for predicting the future by looking at macro trends. Basically, if you see someone throw a ball you can usually tell where it will land, if you are looking. There is a caveat however, you have to be paying attention.

Last night at dinner, one of our team members, threw a ball right in front of me, and I almost missed it. He said (something to the effect that), there’s always someone older than you who knows more about it than you do. What was amazing about this is that he was talking about video games.

That… is… just… unbelievable. Why? Let me show you.

If you were at least 13 years old when the Atari came out in late 1970’s you probably played with one. You also probably learned that video games are kind of fun, but ultimately not very interesting. Let’s face it Pong could only hold your interest for so long. Those early consoles defined the expectations for a generation Games were fun, but not very interesting… or important.

What most of those adults from that era could not have projected was the unimaginable rate of growth in sophistication of video games. Video games became incomprehensibly sophisticated, and tremendously important to children who grew up playing them.

The book “Got Game” by John C Beck documented how a wave of kids entered the work force in the 1990’s and built the dot-com bubble. They created massive companies, not only with no experience, but without the feeling that they needed any.

Beck wrote that players who grew up with video games, just a decade later, believed that no one older knew anything about the important subjects like technology and video games. Beck argued that they ran their companies like an avatar dropped in a level. “I wouldn’t be here unless I could figure it out.” It would be pointless to ask someone older for help. They didn’t know anything!

The rise of gen-Y masked some of this trend, but not all of it. Kids still believed only kids knew about video games. It was the kind of thing, “you had to figure out for yourself”. Imagine a world where no one would teach you how to play baseball, or basketball or football because, “no one older than you knew anything”. Yeah. Exactly.

Welcome to 30 years of the video game industry.

As we close in on the year 2020 however, the world has changed. Video game technology has become asymptotic. There are improvements yes, but at a vastly diminished rate. Play mechanics have largely stabilized and graphics improvements are incremental at best, having entered the domain of diminished returns.

As a result, what you find now is something that did not exist even 10 years ago. Adults who know more about video games than the kids they raise. For the coach I was talking to, his lived experience is that he expected kids to respect his video game prowess because he is older and more experienced.

That is a stunning shift in perspective, and one that has been a long time in coming.

I am convinced we are now entering an era where adults can once again assume a leadership role in helping children grow in areas that are important to their kids. Yes I’m talking about video games. That is exciting. I also now see that people, not technology the foundations of the companies I have created. What I mean, is we are people helping people grow and learn and play.

More than ever, I think it is possible to have role models for video gamers, who are themselves, video gamers.

And that matters, because we all need someone to look up to.