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November 14, 2012 7:29 PM   Subscribe

Hit me with your best asynchronous communication tips, games, tools & tricks.

Ten years ago, friends and I cut digital snowflakes on Make-A-Flake and send them to each other. Today, I play DrawSomething and Words With Friends. This thread about a long distance romantic relationship spent a long time talking about mail and big gesture-y things. I'm looking for the opposite - because a) the recipients would (mostly) be friends, and b) there's an income disparity, so I don't want to be showering them with stuff.

I'm aware of Zynga (and other) chess, but that's kinda more complicated that what I'm looking for. So... what are some fun, cheap, asynchronous things (either digital or physical) that you do/share/send with geographically distant friends, family members, or lovers?
posted by deludingmyself to Human Relations (7 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
posted by mdonley at 7:43 PM on November 14, 2012

My mom, aunt, and grandmother used to send each other cassettes they'd made where they would talk into the tape recorder, just telling about what was going on in their lives at the moment. I think it usually took about a week to fill up a tape, and each 'session' would usually occur as they were, say, cooking or otherwise just puttering about the house.

As a kid I always looked forward to my mom getting a new tape in the mail - they were more fun to listen to than you might think - and now, a few decades later it's even more wonderful to be able to hear my grandmother's voice again on those tapes, and just to hear about my family members' day-to-day lives back in the 80s. I would imagine it would be pretty easy to fill up 30 to 60 minutes or so to send to people now, either burned onto a CD or some other digital format.

(What a fun question! Can't wait to hear what other people suggest.)
posted by DingoMutt at 8:12 PM on November 14, 2012 [6 favorites]

mail art
posted by ead at 8:46 PM on November 14, 2012

Well, you could play the "David Petraeus CIA Dead Drop" game, where you communicate by taking turns editing a draft email in a gmail account to which both people have the password. Total cloak-and-dagger spy stuff!
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:55 PM on November 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

If you have iPhones: Hero Academy! Great asynchronous play, plus a built-in chat engine so it's easy to mock each other while playing
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:17 AM on November 15, 2012

I had a pen pal I would send an Item to with a note about acquiring the item.

They would then trade the item for something and mail that to me with a note about how the trade came about.

Rinse Repeat

until someone trades it for a plane ticket and ruins the whole thing! (it was actually awesome)
posted by French Fry at 7:41 AM on November 15, 2012 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Follow-up: DIY mail art postcards are now occurring, as well as a cookbook-driven book club of sorts with a family member (we're alternating picking one recipe a month from the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook). Also lots of plane tickets, and possibly some parallel projects (the friend getting postcards and I may make terrariums! fun!).

Still haven't found a good addition for silly phone games though. (Not everyone has an iPhone, but thanks for the suggestion, TFB!)
posted by deludingmyself at 5:45 PM on January 4, 2013

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