Koru is a card game that promotes the discussion of mental health in a light-hearted, fun, non-judgmental environment. The card prompts lead players through the stressors and hassles of everyday life, taking everyone through phases of self analysis, reflection, empathy, connection, support, and—of course—struggles!

Koru is all about storytelling and struggling. It’s crazy how much you can get to know the people around you—the best and worst of them—through telling stories. This is how we bond as human beings: we admit and we relate.

The idea is to struggle openly. The more a player struggles, the further they advance in the game. Being able to share, relate, and assist gives players the upper hand and adds to the larger narrative.

The goal of the game is for each player to achieve a new sense of self; to come together and grow stronger as a community by admitting our personal stories and struggling together.

Anima deals with self analysis.

These cards allow players to explore and share various aspects of their personality while getting to know each other in a similar fashion.

Sensum deals with feelings and perspective.

How do you view or handle certain situations? These cards trigger feelings and allow players to admit what makes them vulnerable.

Empathia deals with empathy and relatability.

We all experience anger, nostalgia, and excitement—it’s what makes us human! These cards push our ability to relate to one another.

Nexus deals with connectivity.

Through group questions and challenges, these cards allow for players to work together and form a durable bond.

Certo deals with daily strife.

Relive your most embarrassing moments, walk everyone through your most stressful experiences, and discover just how often we all struggle.

Koru was created by Lauren Siminski and Faridah Adam, two graphic design seniors at The Maryland Institute College of Art. We started out with an impossible dream: to promote the discussion of mental health in a fun, collaborative way. Through a ton of research and social design brainstorming techniques, we found that a game would be an exciting way of doing this.

We’d like to thank everyone that supported us and allowed us to bring our dream to life. We couldn’t have done it without all of the incredibly helpful feedback we received along the way!