How comfortable are you with talking about death? Would you feel more comfortable talking about it over some beers and pizza with friends?

TW/CW: This article mentions alcohol, questions about death, and feelings surrounding the topic of death.

On March 7, Keiro, a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of older adults and caregivers in Southern California, and Yo! hosted a collaborative Death Over Drafts event at Five Point Five Brewing Co. in El Segundo, CA. Attendees played The Death Deck, a party game that allows players to discuss the topic of death in a new and more casual way with hopes of normalizing these conversations. The night started with some beers from Five Point Five Brewing Co., as well as their signature pizzas—we highly recommend the Corazon de Oro lager and GTX Muscle Car pizza! Attendees then played the game in small groups and met later in the night for a larger group discussion.

There were a fair share of questions on the humorous side, such as:

“Which of these would you be most mortified to have as the cause of your demise”

  1. An erroneous swim in piranha-infested waters
  2. An electrical mishap hanging holiday lights
  3. Death by nachos”

Deeper into the deck, there were also more serious cards that inspired a good amount of introspection for most, such as: 

“When you are dying, what will matter most? 

  1. Comfort and freedom from pain
  2. Having my loved ones by my side
  3. Spiritual support in transitioning to the other side”

The lighthearted cards cut some of the tension when we began, and also allowed for everyone to ease into the more difficult cards. My small group also appreciated how the cards had multiple choice answers; this allowed those who were not as comfortable to choose from the available answers, but also served as a jumping off point for deeper conversation. I personally liked the game because of the varying levels of questions. For me, it was the first time I had thought about questions such as if I would want to purchase a haunted house (which the answer is absolutely not!), or the environment that I would choose to pass away in (I think I chose a hospital room). My groupmates also mentioned how they could see themselves using this game to introduce these topics to their families in an easier way, especially with starting off with the humorous approach.

To wrap up the event, the groups discussed which questions were the easiest and hardest to answer, as well as if we consider advance planning to be important to our lives. Michelle Hirano from Keiro mentioned, “Death can seem far away and [like] a daunting discussion to have, but it doesn't have to be! We hope tonight showed how these conversations can still be deep and meaningful, but fun. We also hope you can bring a question or two back to your family or loved ones, and try it out.”

In all honesty, I was a bit apprehensive about walking into a night where everyone would be discussing a taboo topic. My family seems open to these discussions, but it felt different to actually start these conversations with people around my age. While it may have seemed uncomfortable at first, I left feeling grateful that I participated. I was also thankful to have these conversations with community members that shared my understanding of cultural and familial barriers that may prevent our families from having these conversations in the first place. I would definitely recommend The Death Deck to anyone, regardless of their experience with, or grasp of, the topic.  

Thank you to Keiro and Five Point Five Brewing Co. for hosting this event!

Keiro will be releasing a collaborative, Japanese American culturally-sensitive Death Deck in spring of 2024 and an interest form is available here


You can find Keiro here:


Instagram: @KeiroConnect

Watch Keiro staff play the Death Deck

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