“Intimacy is a real thing,” says Anthony Adams, creator of The Love Game, a card game designed to bring people closer together. He may believe that now, but just last winter, during a few-month period in Charleston, Adams wasn’t feeling as optimistic about love.

As he tells it, “I had a really bad Tinder conversation with a woman.” Feeling bummed, he rolled from one side of his bed to the other and saw an article on Hacker news — this article to be exact. First published in The New York Times, the piece tells you how two people can fall in love by asking each other certain questions. “I fell in love with the concept,” says Adams.

As an avid Modern Love column reader (the columns almost always speak to me, or make me cry), I knew what article Adams was talking about, I’d read it last year, probably in the same groggy bed state he had. But unlike me, who simply inhales the stories like a pint of post-break up Ben and Jerry’s, Adams used the info to launch a business, creating a phone app within the same day.Though he was here developing another of his ideas into a business with investor Adam Witty, CEO of local firm Advantage Media, The Love Game app took off and he’s since turned it into a popular card game.

The idea of the game is this: you and your partner (or partner-to-be) ask each other 36 intimate questions  ranging from “What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?” to “How do you feel with your relationship to your mother?” And the final question is actually a suggestion, “Now silently stare into your partner’s eyes for four minutes.”

Terrifying, right?

YouTube video

Maybe I’m alone in that initial reaction, because according to Adams, the game is doing quite well. You can currently find it at Urban Outfitters and online at Amazon, Indiegogo, and The Grommet. And later this spring you can find the deck of cards at the Restoration Hotel. 

The Love Game is just the beginning. Already, Adams and crew have created the Sex Deck, the Money Deck, and the Shadow Deck, with Adams admitting that the Shadow cards, which explore the darker sides of people’s psyches, “might end some relationships.” Noted. 

Adams’ crew is nothing to shake a stick at, either. He’s enlisted the help of “love leaders,” authors, love coaches, astrologers, and even one “visionary,” to help him create new decks. The love leaders are here for you too — with the purchase of a deck of cards you receive one free love session. 

So why is Adams so invested in helping people find love? Isn’t he in this game to get laid? 

Here’s what he says: “Part of my life’s work is building good relationships with people.” How do you do that? Well Adams basic premise is this: “We stay in the same five levels of intimacy (ones we learned were safe during our developmental years), unless we take the risk to move out. You have to risk the relationship to have the relationship you want.”

Adams has plenty of success stories — from couples getting married to married couples growing closer, the game seems to work for a lot of people. Even frat boys. Like Adams says, “The people with resistance towards it are the best people to play.” 

“Falling in love is easy,” Adams assures me. “Staying in love is like climbing Mt. Everest.” I nod into the phone and meekly ask, “But what about, you know, meeting people?” Apparently the creator of The Love Game has an easy solution to that problem. He tells me, “If you see someone that looks amazing, you tell them.”

Adams did just that when he created the video for the Love Game’s Indiegogo campaign. Sitting in Dell’z Deli last year Adams noticed a local couple, Amber and Patrick Tarantino, enjoying a Jazzy pizza, and very much enjoying each other. “I could tell they were so in love with each other,” says Adams. So he filmed them for two minutes and now the three are friends. You can watch the video here:  playthelovegame.com. 

So Charleston, with Valentine’s this weekend, why not give it a try? Put on a coat, grab a deck of cards (or find the questions here), and go forth into the frigid nights of bar-hopping that await you this weekend.  I’ll be out there, shuffling around, looking for love in all the wrong places. Maybe we’ll meet, ask each other “What does friendship mean to you?” and fall madly in love.

I’m not convinced it will happen, but hey Anthony, you’ve got me feeling cautiously optimistic. 

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