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With a Twist

Entrepreneurs, in resurrecting old board game, find new ways to reach customers.

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  • | 12:00 p.m. May 27, 2021
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MarkWemple. Jane Bennett, left, and Jill Ramsey of Socially Twisted Games.
MarkWemple. Jane Bennett, left, and Jill Ramsey of Socially Twisted Games.
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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Forget Jack and Jill. Instead, get behind Jane and Jill: That's Jane Bennett and Jill Ramsey. The duo recently released a card game that, among some other entrepreneurial lessons and pandemic-led pivots, is taking TikTok by storm. 

The game is called Socially Twisted. It consists of story and word cards that lead to someone being crowned the “twisted winner or loser.” Each player makes up a silly (or twisted) story using six cards: four story cards, a location card and a dodgy (inappropriate) word card.

Roughly 25 years ago, Ramsey and her brother invented a board game called A Rhyme in Time. It sold close to 100,000 units. But life got in the way and Ramsey became busy raising a family.  “I’ve been looking at it over my shoulder for a long time, thinking that I need to resurrect that,” Ramsey says. 

'A board game has a lot of moving parts. From a startup business (standpoint) a card game is just a lot easier.' Jill Ramsey, Socially Twisted Games.

With the extra time from the pandemic and her children grown, Ramsey was ready to finally do that. She reached out to Bennett, founder of boutique advertising agency Be Creative Studios in Sarasota, who loved the idea of creating a card game to spin off the original board game. 

“A board game has a lot of moving parts, not that that’s a bad thing,” Ramsey says, “but from a startup business (standpoint) a card game is just a lot easier.” 

Six months of focus groups, with people aged from 12 to 75, helped the duo bring the game into the 21st century. The partners then took the game a step further by making an app version. The free app is similar to the physical game in that each player makes up a story using the cards they’re dealt. 

“It really is for anyone as long as they have humor and aren’t slightly offended,” Bennett says. The duo is also working on a kids version as well as a family version. 

While the Socially Twisted duo has a website for buyers to purchase the game, it was important to them to be able to sell it on Amazon to gain reviews. Currently, the game is rated five out of five stars. The game's price, $25.99, is strategic: it automatically fulfills the free shipping eligibility of $25 so even shoppers without Prime membership can enjoy free shipping. 

Distributors looking at stocking Socially Twisted , the duo says, can see them selling 30,000 games by fourth quarter — nearly $800,000 in revenue at the $26 per unit price. 

With the pandemic, the duo lost a year of traditional toy and game fairs where they would have been able to showcase the game. They’ve had to adapt to find new ways to engage clients, and part of that has come from their social media presence. “We had to reengineer that approach, but it’s working out for us and we’re looking forward to doing that in the new year,” Bennett says. 

Since there’s not another card game like this one, they don’t have to worry about direct competition. But they did have to learn about scalability in the market. To that end, the partners are constantly wondering if they ordered enough games. “The world is our oyster, but the world being our oyster is our biggest challenge in terms of scalability,” Bennett says. 

The rule of thumb when it comes to social media, meanwhile, is to start AB testing, Bennett says. Most of the game’s traffic from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is organic, so the process of growing an audience is slower. 

The business partners use Facebook to test different brand ads in different states to see where they have the most impact. But they also rely on their younger employees to tap into what’s trending. That’s how they took on TikTok. They use this platform to engage with the audience by posting videos of Socially Twisted Games team members playing the game and making up silly stories. 

Bennett and Ramsey also focus on analyzing Google ads to determine the demographics where they have the most reach. 

Understanding the demographics has helped them focus sales to audiences they know will do well. To that point, Ramsey says their sales ideas are changing daily through their marketing techniques. One of their current ideas is trying to find ways to tie-in influencers, specifically in improv and comedy. 

Another obstacle the duo faces is interruptions in manufacturing production due to the pandemic. But they take that in stride — like many other aspects of their venture. “It’s been more exciting," Ramsey says, "than challenging.”


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