Friday, June 18, 2010

Games! Games! Games!

Oh Sandpit. I love you. For those of you who don't know, Sandpit is a monthly (more or less) event put on by an organization called Hide & Seek, and it is a testing ground for pervasive games. If you search for a definition of pervasive games on Wikipedia it redirects to location-based games which I'm not totally sure I agree with, but close enough. Point being, FUN! and PEOPLE MY AGE! and WHEEE! I love Sandpits because to me they feel like a networking event at a convention for interesting people doing interesting things. Case in point, on Wednesday I met this guy, who was getting spooked because so many people were recognizing him on the internet. I also had some great conversations with a pair of people who do satirical theatre events in North London, a tourist from LA who was stoked that he chose this time to come visit the ICA gallery (where this month's sandpit was based), and one of the people who run The Fun Fed. And those are just the *new* people I met, I'm already friendly with about, maybe 10%? of the folks who show up to these things.

So the way it is organized is that you show up and you are given a schedule and description of the games being played that night. Then you choose which one's you want to play and you go to the reception table thing and get stickers for 2 games. They've been having trouble at the last few events because there have been way too many people for the number of games planned. So this month they beefed up their offerings and overshot a little bit. This doesn't bother me because it meant that I ended up getting to play 5 games. Well, except that the last one was oversubscribed again (people were just showing up without having stickers) so we split the group in two and instead of playing I ended up leading the second group.

I remember what I played because I've still got the row of stickers attached to my T-shirt:
7:00-7:30: Fun Fed - outdoor games that basically boil down to "warm up activities for workshops" and/or "team building exercises." (My favourites.) There were only four of us who managed to get out there for the first time slot so that was lovely but then I had to leave early to get to...
7:30-8:00: Pavement Wars- one team was on lines and the other on cement squares. Each team had a "king" surrounded by the other team and though we could only move one person 2 spaces (lines or cement squares) each turn we had to get to reach the king and have the whole team hold hands at once.
8:30-9:00: Sangre Y Patatas- run by a guy who has developed this game as an iPhone app we were in a black box theatre with bells hung from the ceiling. Everyone had their eyes closed and whenever you bumped into someone you had to say "patatas" if you were a benign potato or "sangre" if you were the monster. Every time the potatoes bumped into the monster the potato died loudly and dramatically. (or quietly saying "oh, crap.") This was actually hilarious and amazing. Our group was so big that after the first free for all we were broken up into three mini sessions and timed to see which monster could get the potatoes out fastest.
9:00-9:30: Fun Fed- I went back again but this time there were more people and it was awesome.
10:00: Werewolf- this one is a tradition at Sandpit events. I gather that they keep trying to not do it but then get yelled at so they keep putting it on. It is "Mafia" but where the evil creatures are werewolves instead. At the planning meetings for Montreat in 2001/2002 we played this every night, so I'm familiar with it. Basically you get a group in a circle and give everyone a secret role- werewolf, villager, seer, or healer. Then each night (everyone puts their heads down) the werewolves decide who to kill, the healer decided who to save, and the seer gets to find out which players are werewolves. Then when everyone wakes up (opens eyes) they are told who was brutally eaten by werewolves and then get to start wildly accusing/defending the other players until they eventually decide on one person to lynch. (This game is rather violent, isn't it?) If the werewolves are convincing enough they can win, if the villagers are clever enough and figure it out- they win.

So that was the games. It was well good.

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