Imagine taking part in an interactive activity with an entire venue for the whole night. This is what happens at "Pub Story," an innovative new game night invented by two Istanbulites that is taking the city as well as the capital Ankara and İzmir by storm.
Held every month in Turkey's three biggest respective cities, in Pub Story, everyone in the venue it is held in becomes a player of the game. Upon entering, you are divided into random teams and each team is given links to a series of activities and questions. While you try to rake up points for your team you must do so by taking on these tasks with other team members and thus pretty much need to interact with nearly everyone in the room. So, even if you come with friends or on a team you are forced to break out of that bubble to collect points by completing a wide variety of tasks with other players, who for the most part just happen to be complete strangers.
Who will be the one to complete a task or who will dole one out is decided by playing rock, paper, scissors and thus the game begins. The "truth" and "dare" type tasks get harder as the game goes on and you win your team points by completing them. Each team has a different set of tasks to complete all of which are kept unwrapped until each of the three phases of the game are played. But to give you an example, you could be tasked with getting someone to tell you one of their most embarrassing stories or find yourself holding a particular yoga position for a minute. Nonetheless it is social, active and fun and you are sure to make a lot of memories you will be telling your friends about for days, which is the ultimate point of the game.
Differing from a "speed dating" or "networking" event, Pub Story is geared solely toward making fun memories, however, undoubtedly making new friends is also par for the course. This is a one-of-a kind event series, with nothing like it in the world. Plus it is a super cool event. The teams are given music-themed names. The events are held in hip and relaxed venues and people attend in the hundreds, upward of 300 people to be exact.
You must have a charged phone with access to the internet to play because the tasks are handed over to each team through links provided. Although the game takes place in Turkish, foreigners do attend and if you don't have a strong command of the language there is still a good time to be had and you can always back out of any task that seems too daunting. However, you will get the opportunity to socialize and meet new people in a unique situation and entertaining environment.
The concept was designed by two founding partners based in Istanbul by the names of Bora Öğünç and Hande Aykun who used to organize "Bar Game" nights until they conceived of their signature Pub Story event series, which only began this August. Since then they have held events every month in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir and even Bursa. Plans are also in the works to hold a Pub Story event in Paris. Check out the website heypubstory.com, which conveniently happens to be in English, to find out more about this exciting new game night series, which for expats especially could open new doors in what can at times feel like a secluded lifestyle.
It can be hard as an expat to get out there and meet other people especially in venues where everyone arrives in their own groups only to rarely ever venture out of them. However, with this event all of the barriers are brought down and the entire point is to make connections with the hundreds of other people playing. Described as the most unusual, creative and social event out there, reviewers have said they walked away from the night with hundreds of new friends. Many of the people are repeat offenders, in other words, they had so much fun at the first event they went to that they keep coming back for more. You can pretty much be guaranteed laughs, awkwardness, challenges and most of all fun memories to look back on.
The next Pub Story just happens to be tonight, Tuesday, Dec. 26 and is titled "Otherside," in reference to this being the first event of its kind organized on the Asian side of the city. It will be held at Muaf Kadıköy and will begin at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are TL 50 ($13) at the door, but they also offer early bird discounted tickets on their website.
Then, on Thursday, Jan. 11, Pub Story returns to the European side at The Populist, located in bomontiada for an event titled "I Gotta Feeling." There will also be Pub Story nights scheduled for Ankara and İzmir this month announced soon on their website.
Quiz Nights for Expats
Playing games, especially those involving learning, can be one of the most enjoyable pastimes there are, especially when there are entertaining people in the mix. Istanbul has a number of regular "Quiz Night" series that could help ease the transition for any expat to life in Turkey. Furthermore, they are held in English by expats, have gifts and some even give to a good cause. Check out the Cihangir Cool for Cats Facebook page to stay afloat of their "Quiz Nights for Cats," which helps benefit street animals. The Real Istanbul Pub Quiz is another entertaining quiz series where you can test your skills and make new friends and is announced on their Facebook group. Yabangee, the website run by and geared for expats and events of interest in Istanbul also hosts a monthly "Trivia Night" which is a great way to get into the game with the expat community in the city.