tiltfactor » buffalo
“Buffalo is a brilliantly compact game that broadens horizons, exercises wits, and gets players sharing their knowledge about all manner of wacky and unexpected things.”


Can you name a flamboyant popstar, a blind scientist, or a skinny superhero? You’d better think fast, or your fellow players will leave you buffaloed!

A card game of quick wits and zany combinations, buffalo asks you to name-drop faster than your friends, collect the most cards, and win! How fast can you name a vain artist? How about a glasses-wearing heartthrob? Don’t be surprised if you find yourself surrounded by curious players eager to name an annoying conqueror or perky religious figure!

buffalo is a 20 minute party game for adults and families (2-8 players ages 14 and up), and players are encouraged to join in the middle of a game!

Game Contents:

  • 200 Blue ‘Person’ Cards
  • 200 Orange ‘Descriptor’ Cards
  • How to Play Instructions

Game Play

Have someone flip over one card from each color deck face up onto the table. All players immediately race to think of, and shout out, the name of a real person or fictional character who matches the descriptors on the cards. The first player to name a match takes the matched cards. When the decks run out, the player with the most cards wins.

Whenever the group finds itself Buffaloed by the cards on the table and unable to make a match, someone adds another card from both decks to the table.


Frequently Asked Questions About Playing buffalo

If I only have a buffalo card and one other card on the table, can I name a person who matches the single descriptor?
No, the group is buffaloed. Add two more cards.

If the group is buffaloed, and I add two more cards, and one of them is a buffalo, do I add another two?
No, you only ever add more cards if matches cannot be made.


Why buffalo Matters

buffalo was developed as part of a National Science Foundation-funded project called “Transforming Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for Women and Girls: Reworking Stereotypes & Bias.” The grant has allowed Tiltfactor, with additional assistance from the National Girls Collaborative Project, to research and create a number of games, with designs informed by psychological theory and research, aimed at reducing gender bias and broadening participation in STEM. Initial data suggests that buffalo reduces prejudice and encourages greater inclusiveness in players’ representations of social identity groups.

  • Game Design: Mary Flanagan, Max Seidman, Sukdith Punjasthitkul
  • Art Direction: Zara Downs
  • Executive Producer: Mary Flanagan
  • Producer: Sukdith Punjasthitkul
  • Buffalo Text: Sharang Biswas, Mark Essig, Mary Flanagan, Geoff Kaufman, Janet Kim, Andrea McClave, Sukdith Punjasthitkul, and Max Seidman
  • Playtesters: Friends, families, and students in the NH/VT Upper Valley and beyond.
Warning: In compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) we are notifying you that some of the products we sell may contain small parts or parts that may break off potentially causing a choking hazard to small children. Please supervise small children to ensure their safety.


Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
  • Tiltfactor invents new ways of thinking about important social issues through engaging games and play. Founded and directed by leading innovator Dr. Mary Flanagan, Tiltfactor is the award-winning design studio and research laboratory that takes on problem areas of national need and creates solutions through playful design.