A spin on storytelling

Kim Fundingsland/MDN Jake Kramlich, St. Louis Park, Minnesota, explains his Storyology game to an interested visitor at the recent Norsk Hostfest. Looking on is Lowell Latimer, Minot, who helped Kramlich develop his business.

Spin the wheel. Tell a story. Test your memory. Have some fun!

That’s the gist of Storyology, a challenging and ice-breaking social game from the mind of Jake Kramlich, a former Minoter who currently resides in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

“It’s for all ages and it’s a family game,” said Kramlich. “It’s a quick get-to-know you game. You have to think fast and remember something about your life. It’s training wheels for conversation or it can be a real intense memory showdown.”

Kramlich has been making Storyology games for three years. He called upon his abilities as an “education artist” to create the predecessor to Storyology for language art-based curriculums while working in San Francisco, California. The concept was readily accepted by teachers.

“We turned a game we used to play in college into a memory, learning comprehension game,” explained Kramlich. “We’ve got it in many languages.”

The Storyology concept was so well accepted in the Minneapolis region that Kramlich received a request from the sprawling Mall of America to create a game unique to Minnesota. The result was a Minnesota version of Storyology. That endeavor was followed by a request from the Norsk Hostfest to make a Storyology game for North Dakota. That’s exactly what Kramlich did.

“We changed up some of the topics and added some North Dakota flair,” said Kramlich. “We made kind of a special edition for Hostfest.”

Storyology games are sold at Gorilla Games at Dakota Square Mall. The concept for the game is for participants to tell short stories from their lives. A wooden wheel is spun to get the fun underway. The topic of a participant’s short story is revealed when the wheel stops. For example, a player may have to tell a short story about his or her first memory of a North Dakota snowstorm, or best or last memory of a snowstorm. There’s multiple topics on the wheel.

“Then there the repeat-a-thon, where everyone shares a few stories and you have to repeat back what everyone says,” said Kramlich.

The person or group who can recall the most stories is eventually the winner of the game.

Helping Kramlich arrive to where he is today in the making and marketing of Storyology was SCORE, an acronym for Service Corps of Retired Executives. Kramlich says he has worked closely with SCORE throughout the development of Storyology, including leaning on SCORE for advice while in Minot.

“For five years I worked very intently with the SCORE chapter here in Minot,” recalled Kramlich. “They help you build a business plan or flesh out a product idea.”

Kramlich’s Storyology has become such a success story that he was approached to participate in a two-minute promotional mini-documentary applauding SCORE success. Kramlich agreed to do so, saying he was pleased to provide even a small endorsement to the organization he credits for much of the development of Storyology.