If there’s anyone who’s leading the charge in relationship advice, it’s Esther Perel.

The world-renowned Belgian psychotherapist’s awe-inspiring research on intimacy and connection sparked viral TED Talks, best-selling books, and two leading podcasts. No topic is off limits—from why infidelity doesn’t have to be the ultimate betrayal to the truth about why sex only gets better with age, Perel has advice for it all.

Perel designed a card game, Where Should We Begin? ($40), to help people cope with social anxiety and uncertainty in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Storytelling serves as one of the greatest (and oldest) mediums for human connection. Perel’s game riffs off of this notion, tapping into your inner storyteller to inspire engagement and connection with others, both romantic and platonic. It’s a deeper, more meaningful ice breaker to spark conversation at your next dinner party or on a date.

“The pandemic left us missing intimacy and play. So I created a game that helped us do both,” says Perel. “The game is designed to help us connect and reconnect in a time of social atrophy.”

There are various ways to play the game, but here’s how it works: Each deck contains two main elements, Prompt cards and Story cards. Players draws multiple Story cards, which all contain the first line of potential stories. Then, the first “Storyteller” (the game’s official nomenclature) turns over a Prompt card and sets it in the middle of the group. These cards include moods, or directions, that help inform the stories people share.

From there, each player puts down a Story card in the middle of the table, allowing the Storyteller to shuffle through them and pick which one they’d like to use to tell their story.

So, say the Storyteller chooses a Story card that reads, “A dream I’ve never shared…” and the Prompt card reads “That’s changed your worldview…”—they would start the story by sharing a dream they’ve never told anyone before that’s changed how you they the world. Make sense?

The point is to make connection a little less scary and a lot more fun. It’s about laughing, listening, and taking risks—all of which help set the foundation for healthy, happy relationships with everyone we let into our lives.

Where Do We Begin? is available for pre-order in the U.S. now, with deliveries beginning July 7, 2021.

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