Joel City of Play report.

The city of play festival was an interesting experiment in group organized games amongst strangers. I  only played about 4 games while I was there, yet two of them seemed to fall under a very similar category. One was roaming gnomes, a game where about two dozen uniquely painted gnomes are placed are the ground, evenly distributed across a large area. Every player is handed a card which has a direction, in gnomish of course, and some translations for another direction. Players must seek the person who has the translation for his/her direction, find the translation then do it. For instance, move the candy cane colored gnome to the green tile. Another similar one was a group game where every player had a card with a type and a few goals. Players must create groups that had no two of the same type and all had a common goal and then do this as many times as possible. The obvious result from trying these types of games with a group of players is mostly every standing in a clump yelling out at one another. Eventually, through sheer dedication you will eventually find someone you are looking for through brute force. I did not find this a very compelling type of game for group play. So why was this? firstly, I just outright did not find it very fun. In addition to the annoying yelling in my ears from every direction, it felt more like a task than an actual game. None of the ‘objectives’ really took much skill to do or were very rewarding to complete. I think it was more the experience of being in a crowd of people yelling silly things that made it an arguably fun experience for others.

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