Stepball is a turn-based ball tossing game in which players can only move when the referee calls ‘Step!’ Each team must toss the ball to a teammate standing in the opponent’s goal area for a point, and the first team with 7 points wins. Although I had traumatic flashbacks of high school P.E. class after putting on a colored bib, I ended up really enjoying Stepball in spite of its very simple gameplay. While I really liked how you only needed a ball to play the game, I think the strongest point of Stepball is that athleticism is not actually required to do well–since the game does not involve running or actively manuvering around other people, the only skills needed are throwing and catching. After Dave, Swetha, Nivetha, and I played, we were all joking about how Dave was surprisingly good at the game despite being totally unathletic (i.e. a CS major). And as someone who is also prodigiously incompetent at sports, I am grateful for this form of gameplay because it makes me feel more valuable as a team member (you can imagine my joy when I helped my team score a goal). My only issue with this game is that it gives tall people a significant advantage, which makes it difficult for shorter players like myself to catch the ball without having it interfered by someone else. I remember feeling frustrated whenever I would be so close to catching the ball before a taller player from the other team swiped it away. At the same time, it is common for sports-based games to be favorable to people with specific body types–such as how basketball works well with tall people.
Unlike Stepball, Mont Trottoir has a much more complex gameplay and requires the use of multiple ‘props’. The premise of the game is that the players are ‘mountain climbers’ who need to go from one end of the field to another. The mountain climbers travel in pairs and are connected to each other by a rope, and the first pair to get to the top wins. The climbers are also equipped with cards that allow them to do special moves such as use ice axes to hold onto objects and summon yetis to attack another pair. The game is turn-based, so for each player’s turn they can take two steps and use at most one of their cards. Additionally at least one person must stand on a platform–such as a bucket–to be ‘safe’ and ensure that their partner can still hold onto the rope by the end of their turn. While Mont Trottoir is very fun to play, its complicated rules made it difficult to pick up initially and we had to ask the supervisor many questions throughout the game. However, what I find particularly interesting about Mont Trottoir is that it enables the involvement of non-players. For example, the ‘yeti card’ allows a player to have a non-player make a yeti impersonation, and the player closest to the yeti has to fall back to base camp. This characteristic of Mont Trottoir distinguishes it from other games in that it allows people who are not playing the game to still experience it in some way.