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@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid Yes. That is why the tagline on the box and back of every card is “can someone please take me off this game?”

It’s kind of a neat backstory of how it connects actually.... /1
@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid I started the Exchange blog in 2004, the first team/product blog at microsoft (vs personal employee blogs).

I wanted the exchange blog to have a personality that reflected the team and product. @adavid6 (Exchange MVP) suggested the winning name: You Had Me At EHLO

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 The Bedlam DL3 story was literally one of the main reasons I wanted to start the blog to begin with - we had sooooo many interesting backstories to tell.

So I asked @osterman to write it up and he did an awesome job:…

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman I‘m fairly sure that post is why anyone outside of msft ever found out about Bedlam to begin with.

Over the next few years more workplaces had such “incidents”, and the press started referring to how “the first ever reply-all email storm” was Microsoft’s Bedlam.

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman Of course, the bugs Larry described in the original post from 2004 were looooong since fixed, so servers weren’t crashing anymore, so the press was mainly about lessons in human behavior and the spread of this problem.

My personal fav is…

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman There was another noteworthy bedlam at msft in 2006 on a DL for a security conference, BlueHat - aka a deeply technical group of people that still replied all.

I ended up making a tshirt that riffed on the original design for the bluehat bedlam:

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman Some more links here to other bedlams that happened at big companies (google, HP, Cisco) and colleges over the years, so more people got to experience the joy :-)…

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman All of these incidents over time just built up the The Lore of Bedlam, both inside msft and the industry.

Shifting tracks then to the *game* named Bedlam:

In early 2014 I happened across the Ladies Against Humanity tumblr which was a work of art:

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman In particular there was a LAH card that stuck out to me:

“The blue liquid used in period commercials”

I lol’d and then because I’m an engineer I started analyzing *why* it was blue... and it’s an interesting thought experiment as you think thru color options, ya know?

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman I’d never thought about the reason why it was blue before... but it made TOTAL sense once I thought it through.

That insight made me think of some parallels in designing and engineering software and how much thought goes into certain behaviors of the end product...

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman Ok, quick fork in this already rambling thread, but while looking up a link, I ran across this post I did in 2007 with some more backstory on starting the exchange blog, for anyone who wants to go down that particular rabbit hole:

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman So anyway, seeing that parallel made me wonder if it was possible to make a playable card game about working at Microsoft... and even if it wasn't playable as a game, I figured it'd at least be entertaining to come up with card ideas.

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman So a couple of friends who were coworkers and @davidlemson and I got together over drinks and brainstormed card ideas. It was definitely entertaining, but real world playability was still unclear. I started PMing it like a product, came up with 'style guide' for grammar, etc

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson I started sending PDFs around internally for fun, feedback, and new card ideas and eventually got to a # of cards written that there were enough to try out a playtest.

The first playtest was precisely five years ago from yesterday, as FB reminded me:


@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson Which then lead to another weird coincidence where less than 24 hours ago, I joked that Microsoft needed another bedlam incident so newer employees would have that lovely experience:


@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson And to make a long story short (“too late!”), the playtests went well, I iterated the design and text from playtester feedback, etc.

Once it was clear there was potential for an actual fun, playable game and not just a one off gag, I needed a name.

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson And since asking others for ideas on naming the exchange blog had worked so well, I asked coworkers for ideas for naming the game, and to vote on options.

Here’s a screenshot from my first poll on the name (in the internal msft yammer group I made for play testers):

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson The voting results made the decision pretty obvious. I knew I wanted a short and memorable name and the tie-in to Bedlam DL3 was of course near and dear to me.

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson Other parts of the design then fell into place, like the tagline "please remove me from this game", the puzzle piece logo (for which I bought a license for that particular shape), etc. I still kept it fairly underground tho as I didn't want to... ruffle any VIP feathers :-)

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson Later that year as it started to gain steam organically around the company, I decided to test the waters of being less underground by auctioning off a few of the boxes for the giving campaign in October 2014.

It's for charity, who could possibly complain, right?

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson Each of those four boxes (which cost me $40 to produce) went for over $1500, raising $12k for charity thanks to Microsoft matching. That gave me the confidence to start being a little more visible with it, making more copies, writing more cards, etc.

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson The overhead of managing physical inventory as a side project was onerous tho - I'd buy & store boxes myself, arrange for pickup and payments, etc - it was still fairly underground then, so I didn't want to publicize the link to buy directly in case it blew up in a bad way.

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson So I talked to the person who ran the internal company store for employees, and he was open to a trial of having it available in the store in building 92, as they've done employee-created products from time to time (although he said they usually don't sell well.)

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson He agreed to my requirement of selling the game at cost. I didn't want anyone to think this was a cheeseball attempt to make money, it was just for good-natured poking fun at ourselves, etc. Thanks to bulk pricing discounts, the store bought 300 copies.

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson Let's see, that was early 2015ish, did anything else interesting happen around that timeframe? Let me think...


@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson Oh, and another kind of funny thing a FB search just reminded me of: For the 300 copies the store bought, they asked for one change: label it as an employee project, which was fine.

Because I'm me, I also used the opportunity to make another old school softie reference:

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson The 300 copies sold out in about 1-2 months, which was BANANAS. For comparison, I'd sold maybe 60 copies *TOTAL* on my own by that point, which I considered wildly successful for this little side project. So they did another order, it grew by word of mouth, etc...

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson That year's giving campaign I used Bedlam to raise more $$ for charity, IIRC it was around $50k from auctioning box sets + a tournament.

At one point, a particular VIP's CoS asked for a copy to take on a trip.. so I stopped worrying about keeping it underground after that.

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman @davidlemson OK, I'm *definitely* at "to make a long story short" "too late!" territory now, so wrapping this up, but it's been fun to walk down memory lane for me to be able to tell this story, so thanks for the tag @Daniel_Rubino.

@Daniel_Rubino @gamoid @adavid6 @osterman OK random side-fork here, but I just ran across a post I wrote in 2008 about user behavior with some other real-world examples outside of replying all:

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