Student Area

Dave – Best Games Fest

Step Ball:

Step ball was pitched to us as a game that is like Ultimate Frisbee but is turn based. It was a lot of fun, despite being a game highly reminiscent of the disgustingness of gym in middle school. Its main tweak on the traditional team-based game is that each person is only allowed to take a single step before the ball is passed. The benefit is that people who are less athletic (aka me) is not too disadvantaged, because catching, throwing and blocking becomes less about timing and coordination. It is also a lot more about teams, because each person’s individual skills is not as important as the person’s positioning, and we have more time to calculate who is the optimal person to throw to instead of just passing the ball to the best player. However, the game does give advantage to people who are taller. In the end, it was fun and I got exercise, so not too much complaints here.


Mont Trottoir:

Turn based, partner based game, where teams race to climb a mountain using cards as buffs. It was very complicated; for most of the time I was very hazy on the rules, and if the coordinator was not there the whole time, I would have just ditched the game. It required a lot of physical precision and communication. By the end, after I finally got the hang of the game, it became fun. My favorite part of the game is that the course depends on the environment, so its replayability is extremely high. My least favorite part is that a turn can take a while, so the other teams just had to sit and wait in a style reminiscent of games like monopoly. This contrasts it with stepball, which is also turn based, but even if my team does not have the ball, I still felt involved and relevant.

Tess – Best Games Fest Review

Game 1: Nashville

A deck of cards is split into black and red cards, 2s and jokers removed. The face cards are handed out randomly to a group of people. Those who get black cards are the bandit, those who get red cards are the law. The black king signifies the bandit head honcho, the red king is the sheriff. The rest of the cards are split up according to team, so that the bandits have all the black cards from 3-10 and the law has all the red cards from 3-10. There are two parts of game play.

The first part is a series of shootouts, where each player engages in a shootout with a member of the opposite team and “draws” a card of their choice from their hand. Whoever’s card is higher wins the shootout and gets to select a card from the loser’s hand to save for the boss’s clip during the boss shootout. The “shot” during each shootoff are torn in half so they can’t be used again. After 30 minutes, players give any cards they have won to their boss. Any unused cards serve a special purpose.


The second part of play is a boss shootout. This involves the bosses taking all of the cards collected by their team and having a massive shootout. Any unused cards can be used to “deflect” enemy fire if they are the same number. Whichever boss is left standing at the end wins.


This game was exciting, but 30 minutes was entirely too long for 2 teams of 5 to have all their shootouts. I think if the terrain had been more challenging than a parking lot then the time limit would have made sense to hide out and ambush the enemy to ensure they had no cards left to deflect with. As it was, many people left for the 30 minutes after about 3 minutes of shootouts in quick succession to play other games in the meantime. The game worked, I just think that either more strongly encouraging role play or having a shorter amount of time would greatly improve it.


Game 2: Unwanted Entities


The players goal is to earn more points than the other team by trying to occupy higher value properties with their own Figures. Part of the strategy is cleaning high value properties from Gray Figures by displacing them onto properties with lower value or placing them onto the other team’s property and outnumbering their figures with grey ones.

You claim a property by placing your figures on them. You can place each of your figures only once. If they are kicked out of a property by a pedestrian, you will loose that figure, you are not allowed to place them back in. Tip: Use your body to protect your figures from pedestrian. You are not allowed to remove the other teams figures or ask non player pedestrians to do so. Play fair!

You can move the Gray Figures freely from one property to another. Players must not carry more than one Gray Figure at a time. You must not place any of your figures until you have placed the Gray Figure in a new property.

Every Team has one special figure, represented by a larger game piece: The King. The King counts as 5 little figures and doubles the value of the zone it is placed in. For example, if there is a red King and three green figures on a zone valued 50 – red earns 100 points. If there are six red figures and a green King on a zone valued 30, read earns 60 points. If two teams place their King on one zone, the value is doubled only once.

Playing time is around 8 minutes after which points are counted. The team who has the most figures on a property cashes in the points for the property. In case of a tie, no-one gets any points. If there are more Gray Figures in a zone than any other colors, the Gray Figures cash in the points. The Gray Figures can win the game.

The referee and her helpers can celebrate the counting of points by doing a procession from property to property, collecting the figures and announcing the points through walkie-talkies. It is also very nice to have some music to go along with the procession.


We kind of broke this game. I think it was because there weren’t enough players or it wasn’t explained thoroughly. Our strategy (3 people) was to have everyone switch off being the mover so legs stayed fresh. Mover would move unwanted entities between 2 high-point properties so builders could build quickly. When we ran out of materials we started dropping our unwanted entities on other people’s highest point properties. We picked the furthest corner so nobody dropped any unwanted entities on us.


It wasn’t explained until after that the unwanted entities represented the homeless population in Budapest, which get shuttled between neighborhoods when developers want to build. They are “dumped” into these other neighborhoods. This to me didn’t really make sense, since the rules were that you couldn’t build until you removed an unwanted entity, and then you could only build one thing. It made the unwanted entity a sort of asset that was necessary in order to build, which just didn’t make sense to me.

Nivetha – Best Game Fest

Step Ball

So Swetha, Ticha, and I got to play step ball. This was essentially a football game where you could not take more than a step. Each team needed to get the ball to the opposite end of the field for a goal. However, people could only take one step when the referee yelled “STEP”. Then whoever had the ball had to through to someone. So these were about the only instructions we were given – which was actually quite nice since we all got to improvise a bit because of the lack of strict, detailed rules. During the gameplay, we found out that if a team is able to intercept the throw of a ball, they could keep the ball. Even if they could not catch it themselves, as long as they made sure it did not go to any person on an opposite team, their team was allowed to have the ball. However, due to this rule that came up during gameplay and the fact that someone had to be there to yell “step,” it seems the game is almost totally reliant on having a judge. Also, because the actual rules were sparse, there needed to be a judge to tell us what to do in a situation not covered by the two rules (ex. “can you pivot in your position? can you jump to catch the ball? etc). I’m not sure it is good game style to have the play so reliant on a judge. Another big flaw in the game was that tall players had a HUGE advantage. If you were taller, you were able to intercept more tosses and  bring more points to your team. Especially since shorter players weren’t sure if they were allowed to jump (or at least I wasn’t) it was very easy for tall players to intercept balls.

Mont Trottoir

So this was a game where there NEEDED to be a judge/interpreter and someone to enforce the rules and keep a record of who is winning. This game was basically a horizontal mountain climbing game. Each group of two had to be attached by a rope at the start of their turn and could only take two steps and play a card each turn. Each teem could also “karate chop” the rope of another team which will send the player not in a ‘safe’ zone back to their home base. Each team got a set of card that let you do different things. For example, one of them was a ‘yeti’ card which let you ask someone not in the game to impersonate a yeti and whoever is closer to them would fall back to home base. The game had so much cards and rules and it was hard to tell who’s turn it was. Honestly, if we did not have the judge, we wouldn’t have known what we were doing at all. Even at the end of the game, I couldn’t make out how each turn worked… I would suggest the game should be a computer game simply because of how many elements we had to keep track (it would be easier to display and store the data on a computer) if not for the amount of fun I had actually physically performing the game. The physical aspect of the game was really fun for me. I had no idea what I was doing but I had a ton of fun simply because we were moving and playing a game different from anything I had played for awhile. I also liked how partner-based yet confrontational the game was. Overall, the game was fun and I really enjoyed it. However, the sheer number of rules and things to remember while playing this game could be a turn-off.

Sylvia – Best Games Fest

3:10 To Nashville

In this game, there were two teams assigned by red and black cards (outlaws and law enforcement). The goal was to wander around a predetermined game space made up of several blocks of the city, and to find members of the opposing team and duel with them. Each player was given a hand of 6 cards which they could use to duel by drawing one card. The card with the highest value would win the duel and capture one of the loser’s cards. At the end of the game, players would report back to their team leader with the cards they captured, and the team leaders would face off in a final duel with these captured cards.

Interestingly enough, what I found was the most fun part of the game was the “roleplaying” aspect of it. To initiate a duel with someone you encountered on the streets, you would have to say “Are you from Nashville?” and they would have to respond “Dem’s fightin’ words!” and the duel would only commence after this exchange. This increased the Western cowboy theme of the game, which was fun. It’s interesting to me that what I viewed as funnest part of the game was just a small ritual which didn’t really have any affect on the core game mechanics themselves. This shows that even the smallest thematic elements of a game can have a huge impact on the game experience.

To make Nashville better, I would suggest giving players larger hands of cards, since I ran out of cards really quickly and would have enjoyed having more time to wander around and duel with people. Also, duels were decided basically on chance (i.e. who was lucky enough to get a higher value card) so it would have been more interesting with more complex rules (maybe making the different suites have different power-ups, maybe letting the teammates you were walking around with be able to help you in the duel, etc.)

Turtle Wushu

This game was basically Joust. The core differences were that in Joust there are cool electronics involved (accelerometer in the playstation move controller, cool lights/atmosphere etc.) whereas in Turtle Wushu you have to balance a plastic turtle on your hand and try to knock off turtles from other players’ hands. I think Joust definitely has a stronger play atmosphere, but Turtle Wushu did add an interesting element to the game, which is the concept of protecting this turtle figure. By having a cute object to protect rather than just a glowing sphere, it made the object you have to protect more precious and adds more sentimental value to the game.

Time Squares

Each participant in the festival got a card with some sort of instructions on it. You had to trade cards with other players based on the rules of the card, and if certain rules were fulfilled, you could add things to a sheet of paper.

It was kind of hard to find people to trade with, since there were specific rules for trading, and people kept entering or leaving the festival. I only traded one or two cards I think. Also, people were adding things to the sheet of paper in a random way, by just writing the date and some event that occurred in that date. The sheet of paper was kind of unorganized. It probably would have been more successful if it was more of a timeline, so people could see what is happening in each year. It was an interesting idea to keep a kind of passive game going on in the background in the form of Time Squares, but I think in this case Time Squares was a bit too passive. There was no motivation to look back at the sheet of paper and see what kinds of things people were adding to it.

Ladder Toss Thing

This game isn’t listed on the website, but basically it consisted of two orange ladder-like objects facing each other. You have to throw objects which are two balls connected by a string at the ladder and try to make them land on the rungs of the ladder, with each of the three rungs of the ladder being worth different amounts of points. It was a lot harder than it sounds. The game points you earned would be reset to 11 if you got more than 21 points (so you had to get exactly 21 points to win). This meant that you had to be really precise in getting the exact points you need to win, which was hard to do. Overall it was a fun skill-based game.


Rachel – Best Game Fest

Firstly, I played Turtle Wushu. The game is a carbon copy of Johann Sebastian Joust, but with turtles. Because of its repetition, I lost interest in the game quickly. When I pulled my hand out of the center to start the game, the turtle always moved to my disadvantage. Over enthusiasm kills.

Then I played Unwanted Entities, in which teams represent development committees that have to group their own colored buildings in neighborhoods and cast out uncolored sticks (the unwanted entities.) The metaphor is pretty heavy handed: the poor/homeless/racial minorities drive down property value, so get rid of them. Using colored sticks to represent “affluent” majorities was a good choice, but it could have been pushed from primary colors to those of “race.” The group of neighborhoods spread out enough that running from neighborhood to neighborhood was a strenuous activity. Players really worked hard to push out those poor people. This would add to the shock of realizing you’re playing as a bigot, if that information wasn’t given to you at the beginning.

Then I played Mont Trottoir, in which teams “climb a mountain” by reaching landmarks and thwarting the other team’s progression. Of the games I played, I found this one to be the most fun. The presence of a godlike referee was distracting; the opposite team did a good enough job of checking your moves. The card system was also distracting. While the different special abilities added a vengeance dynamic, holding the cards and trying to remember them got in the way of grasping for landmarks and communicating with the team. Other than that, I found this game to be the quickest to understand and sink into.

Gregory – Best Game Fest

Light Fight

Light fight is a turn-based 4-player team game for night time. 4 players split into 2 teams, each player armed with a flashlight. The goal for each team is to get at least 3 of the other team’s feet illuminated. A judge helps decide if a foot is “illuminated”. Players can use cardboard boxes in the middle for defense. Players can also win by having both members of a team reach the opposite side of their starting positions, although this only ever happened once the entire day (during one of the games I played). Another twist — when shining your light, you have to aim it before turning it on — once it’s on you can’t adjust it. This adds an element of skill in addition to the strategy of the game. There’s also an element of luck in the configuration of the boxes.

It’s a pretty neat idea. Light fight is pretty reminiscent to the game Ninja, in that it’s physical and turn-based, but it’s also very different in a few ways: shining lights means the angle between players matters first, and then distance; having no physical contact makes it less violent and react-time based, and more strategic; having teams also contributes to that. However, the team-based aspect was in the background for most of the time. You really can’t effectively “attack” 2 players, so the game mostly splits into two 1-on-1’s. The “judging” part was also very tricky, since it’s a very fuzzy line what constitutes shining light on someone’s foot or not, and even moreso hard to tell before shining a light. I like how the game has a lot of room for strategizing: I stuck one foot out to another player, but they were far away, so they stepped in towards me, thinking their partner would get my partner’s 2 feet the next round. But in doing so, she perfectly exposed herself for me to shine light on both of her feet.


In Scattershot, up to 4 teams compete to control ships on a 2D field. Each player on a team  uses their phone to open a web browser and control a single laser on the ship, and nothing more. Ships move around based on propulsion caused by firing lasers; firing all on one side at the same time lets you move forward; or just firing one causes you to rotate.

The idea seemed interesting. The movement mechanic is a good way to represent how “in-sync” two players can think together, and compete both in that and strategy-wise. However, to me, the game was pretty hindered by high and unreliable latency (~3-5 seconds) between firing and shooting. I’m not sure if this was a technical issue, an intended mechanic, or both. This made it pretty-much impossible to strategize, but my partner and I ended up just independently trying to fire, accounting for the delay, and hit enemies from wherever we are, because the shooting distance made position pretty irrelevant, since there weren’t any strategic obstacles. It did remind me of an interesting game at GDC where up to 5 players push pedals to control independent rockets on a space ship, which was actually pretty fun, so I think with some technical improvements this could work.


melanie – best game fest

3:10 to Nashville (I wrote out the basic rules here)

This two-stage game is cumbersome to explain but quite easy to get used to. The last stage has more fun elements, like the regular players can still participate in the final shootout if they still have their own cards remaining from the shootouts of the previous stage–they can use the cards to “deflect” enemy cards if they are the same numbers. It was fun to play, for sure; there were different ways of interacting with the players, such as screaming across the street to challenge the other player while cars were passing by or sneaking around opponents. We even found deceitful strategies, such as having only one card on hand and still engaging in a duel, so even when you lose, the opponent has not only wasted a card but also cannot win a card at all from you. There was also a safe strategy to stick to: using your highest card in every duel so that the enemy can’t win it in the random pick even if he/she wins.

However, the game could be more complex by utilizing more of the face cards (maybe kings having different powers from queens, jokers being wild cards) and being less dependent on randomness (e.g. some players had a lot of high number cards, thus dominating the duels). Maybe face cards can even be used in duels for more complexity, and the factions could be defined by wearable props (hats!!).

Turtle Wushu (rules here)

It was impossible to not think about Joust while playing this game. Admittedly, Turtle Wushu is arguably easier and more active because the turtle is free to vibrate on your hand as long as it doesn’t fall. We later found out that it was (kind of) important which turtle you chose too–tortoises had a very slight advantage because of their footing. I wanted the game to have more relevance to its name though other than the turtle figures you would play with; Joust was okay because the name of the game implies some sort of arena and people battling it out among themselves. Couldn’t the disqualified players of Turtle Wushu do something more, like slowly moving around the playing field like a turtle and interfering with the players still in the game? It would bring elements of revenge (“you just knocked my turtle away so I’ll help in knocking away yours!”) and more engagement from disqualified players, as I noticed they would just idly stand by and become uninterested in the end. Some didn’t even notice who the winner was.

Michelle – Best Game Fest

Light Fight

Rules: Light Fight is a four player game that can only be played in the dark. Each player is on a team with one other player, and the goal is to light up three of the four opponents’ feet. Each player has a flashlight and stands on four corners of a small field. Throughout this field are boxes that a player can step behind to hide his/her feet. On each turn, a player can either maneuver around with two steps, or take one step and flash a light. There is a judge to determine is a foot is considered “lit”.

My Experience: The games I played were rather short. You definitely have to be very attentive of the spatial arrangement and be aware of your own coordination. If the game was not collaborative, it could have been very detrimental to be focused on yourself rather than strategy. In addition, I liked how the body movements were very unique for this game, and how the flashlights made the mood somewhat intense and sneaky. However, because the definition of a “lit foot” is really subjective, there was a lot of controversy. There wasn’t much the first time around because of the referee, but when the referee left, more time was wasted on superfluous discussions.



Rules: Participate by going to and choose a color and one of the four ships. You and another person control one gun of two on that ship, and you shoot to propel yourself, attack other players, and collect points. The goal is to be the last ship standing.

My Experience: There was a very weird lag when shooting, so strategizing by timing was nearly impossible. Nevertheless, I partnered up with this one girl and we tried our best to propel ourselves by firing at the same time. We ended up being out-of-sync most of the time, so I just fired in order to rotate the ship while she did an amazing job shooting enemies. I didn’t see any scoreboard or any reason for collecting points, so I thought that was unusual. I think the game would be better if it were more physical. Pressing a button, although straightforward, isn’t very engaging. There are way more things you can do with an iPhone.

Ladder Toss

Although this probably doesn’t count as a game worth a report, I just really liked it. It’s much more fun than hacky sack, with basically the same rules.

Swetha – Best Game Fest

Mont Trottoir:
Mont Trottoir was a game that was essentially trying to make us climb a horizontal mountain. It was a race between two teams of two; the intention was to get to the peak and along the way there were a variety of cards, robes, and techniques we could use along the way. One of the things that I felt was disadvantageous about the game were all the small components that make up the game; mostly it was the organizer who was talking us through each turn; it was also required to have a bystander monitoring the game since many of the cards required assistance of some sort (i.e some having to count two seconds, play a monster, etc). The game play itself was fun when we became acquainted with the rules; at the beginning we were very unsure and cautious in our turns however as we came closer to the peak, limbs were stretched, bodies were grounded, and it began resembling a game of twister with how convoluted our positions became.
The card aspect of the game was equally as interesting and although the cards definitely helped be out of a few situations, I am not sure if I actually liked holding them and having to take care of them as I attempted to stretch my body(certain others like dave remedied this by keeping the cards in pockets. Sadly girls’ pockets aren’t that large). The cards, once again, required the presence of a bystander player in order to collect the cards and put them into affect.

Step Ball:
Step ball was a game much like soccer or football. We could only take one step when the referee yelled ‘step’ and could then only throw the ball to each other (no running, jumping, etc). Although these rules also called for a ‘bystander’ player, I felt that he was acting more as a referee rather than just some awkward character looking in on a game of ‘twister’. The game mechanics were also easy to understand and also familiar enough that we did not constantly need to be directed. I especially loved how only being able to take one step made the playing field significantly smaller. I am bad at running and endurance so this gave me the chance the contribute to many goals.
An obvious advantage was the height of players; players who were tall good both receive and block easily and those with long legs could also make more use of their ‘steps’. In this aspect it is very much like basketball.

Ticha-Best Games Fest Reviews

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.

Mont Trottoir
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.

Bowtie Shop

In NYC where 3 Bowtie shops try to make a profit by throwing sales:

Bowtie shops start with $5,000 + $3,000 in the Bowtie Union Marketing Pool

Each turn store owners take a decision in Rock Paper Scissors style. Store owners can choose to have a sale (fist) or not have a sale (open hand).

There are 4 possible outcomes:

Sale in the City – one player chooses to have a sale: this store owner takes $1,000 in sales from each other store owner.

Low Prices, Low Profits – two store owners choose to have a sale: these store owners both give $1,000 in sales to the third store owner.

No Profits All Around – three store owners choose to have a sale: all store owners lose $1,000 in profit, which goes to the Bowtie Union Marketing Pool in hopes of regaining lost industry sales.

Successful, Normal Day – three store owners choose not to have a sale:  the store owner with most money proposes once, without discussion, how to divide the Bowtie Union Marketing Pool. If at least one store owner agrees, the decision becomes effective. Otherwise, nobody takes anyone.

The game ends when the first store owner is out of money. The store owner with the most money wins.

Flavor Change – Greg, Melanie, Sylvia

Flavor change

In da hood where 3 rappers try to accumulate street cred:
3 rappers start with 5 street cred + 3 street cred in the crowd (center of the table)
Each turn rappers take a decision in Rock Paper Scissors style. rappers can choose diss freestyle (fist) or peace out (open hand).
There are 4 possible outcomes:
Outcome 1 – one rapper chooses diss freestyle: this rapper pumps out some fresh lyrics against the other two rappers, gaining 1 street cred from their homies because his/her rap is so sick.
Outcome 2 – two rappers choose diss freestyle: these rappers both give 1 street cred to the third rapper because they get up in each others grillz and make each other look pretty bad.
Outcome 3 – three rappers choose diss freestyle: all rappers look wack and put 1 street cred in the streets because they’re all jocking each other’s style.
Outcome 4 – three rappers choose peace out: the crowd is so impressed with their chillness, and the rapper with most street cred proposes once, without discussion, how to divide the street cred from the crowd–by endorsing each other. If at least one rapper agrees the decision becomes effective. Otherwise, nobody gets any mo street cred.
The game ends when the first player is out of street cred and the player with the most street cred wins, becoming the King or Queen of Rap.



  • 3 bullies start with 5 stolen lunches. Bullies want to become alpha bully. Eugene has 3 lunches. Bullies want.

    Each turn bullies take a decision in Rock Paper Scissors style. Bullies can prepare to beat up Eugene (fist) or take the higher road (putting their hand up in a “NAW THAT AIN’T ME MAN” kinda way)

    There are 4 possible outcomes:

    Outcome 1 – One bully beats up Eugene. He gets all the lunch for the day. Alpha bully. Beat up other bullies. Win two lunches from other bullies.

    Outcome 2 – Two bullies beat up Eugene, get distracted. Third bully steals all the lunch for the day. Steal two lunches from other bullies.

    Outcome 3 – Three bullies beat up Eugene. Bully with most lunches is clearly the alpha bully. Alpha bully decides how to split lunches. If one bully agrees to decision, decision approved. If no consensus is made, lunches go bad. No lunch for the day.

    Outcome 4 – Three bullies take the higher road. Eugene tells the principal, all bullies lose their lunch for the day.

    The game ends when the first bully runs out of lunches. Bully with most lunches wins.

Kpop Boys – Allen, Ralph, Jing

Flavor change

In korea where 3 kpop managers try to accumulate korean singer boys:

3 kpop boy band managers start with 5 korean singer boys + 3 jobless korean boys in the karaoke bars (center of the table)

Each turn managers take a decision in Rock Paper Scissors style. Managers can choose to record a pop ballad (fist) or to record an upbeat pop hit (open hand).

There are 4 possible outcomes:

A Sleeper Hit – one player chooses to record a pop ballad: this manager recruits 1 fame-thirsty korean singer boy from each other manager.

A Brand New Viral Dance – two managers choose to record an upbeat pop hit: these managers both let go of 1 korean singer boy to the third manager to turn into stars.

Pop Downer – three managers choose to record a pop ballad: all managers lay off 1 newly unemployed korean boy who then go back to the karaoke bars

Pop Renaissance – three managers choose to record an upbeat pop hit:  the manager with most korean singer boys proposes once, without discussion nor back room deals, how to divide the karaoke bar boys. If at least one manager agrees, the decision becomes effective. Otherwise, nobody takes anyone.

The game ends when the first manager is out of korean boys and disbands the manager with the most korean singer boys wins.

Flavor Change – Rachel, Maryyann, Michelle

Mating Season (Cuttlefish Style)

In a Kelp Field where 3 Cuttlefish try to woo some females:
3 Cuttlefish start with 5 Flurts + 3 Flurts in the pool (center of the table)
Each turn Cuttlefish take a decision in Rock Paper Scissors style. Cuttlefish can choose Alpha Brawl or Gender Bend.
There are 4 possible outcomes:
Alpha Dominance – one player chooses Alpha Brawl: this player takes 1 Flurt from each other player.
Shmooze – two players choose Alpha Brawl: these players both give 1 Flurt to the third player.
Pissing Contest – three players choose Alpha Brawl: all players put 1 Flurt in the pool
Polyamory – three players choose Gender Bend: the player with most Flurts proposes once, without discussion nor barter, how to divide the pool. If at least one player agrees the decision becomes effective. Otherwise, nobody takes anything.
The mating season ends when the first player is out of Flurts the player with the most Flurts makes babies.

Newspaper Tycoons

Mudslinging Battle
In a battle of the tabloids where 3 editors try to publish the juiciest stories:
3 Editors start with 5 million dollars + 3 million dollars in the public readership (center of the table)
Each turn editors take a decision in Rock Paper Scissors style. Editors can choose A false but juicy gossip story (fist) or Boring but true article (open hand).
There are 4 possible outcomes:
Outcome 1 – one player chooses  A false but juicy gossip story: this editor catches the other newspapers flatfooted and sells all of the papers to the people who want the juicy gossip. This editor takes 1 million dollars of stolen profit from each other editor.
Outcome 2 – two editors choose A false but juicy gossip story: these editors don’t have their facts straight and both their similar stories contradict each other, losing valuable consumer trust. Both give 1 million dollars of lost profit to the third editor.
Outcome 3 – three players choose A false but juicy gossip story: If it’s in every newspaper, it must be true! But armchair journalists on Reddit call them out and you must all pay money to a charity to compensate for the bad press. All editors put 1 million dollars into the public space
Outcome 4 – three editors choose Boring but true article: The public looks on your true stories with approval and increased confidence in the news distribution institution. The editor with most money sanctimoniously proposes a division of the new donations from the public to the union of news companies. Without discussion nor barter, this editor proposes how to divide the pool of money in the public space. If at least one editor agrees the decision becomes effective. Otherwise, nobody takes anything.
The game ends when the first editor is out of money the player with the most money wins.

[Prisoner’s dilemma, minority game, ultimatum game, framing…]

Flavor Change

Rules for “Prom Queen”

In a high school where normal girls and Jennifer the popular girl exchange gossip,

Katie and Melissa want to be the prom queen. Jennifer is the head cheerleader.

The normal girls each start with 10 bits of gossip and 0 social cred points

Jennifer starts with 6 bits of gossip and 15 social creed points

Once per day, the normal girls may trade 3 bits of gossip to Jennifer for 1 social cred.

Each day, the normal girls may also plea for gossip to Jennifer after school or go home immediately.

Jennifer must give the the normal girls 2 bits of gossip if they plea, but doesn’t get anything for her generosity.

A player can become prom queen by spreading 16 bits of gossip to the student body.

If any of the girls has become prom queen and then went home without pleading for gossip, she wins.

The normal girls may exchange gossip and social cred with each other freely.

Subversive Play – TinderTacToe

Every conversation with the nice Tinder folk who played along (or not)

Tinder Tac Toe is fairly simple. I created a Tinder account and asked people to play tic tac toe with me. A bit about Tinder: it’s a photo based meet-up app that shows pictures of people, their age, their gender, and their first name. It has a system to “like” or “nope” people with the swipe of a finger. Users can either make their decision based solely on the first picture or investigate a user’s profile to see other photos or slightly more detailed information. In order to talk to someone through the app, you must both “like” each other. Once two people have “liked” each other, they receive an invitation to begin a conversation. Because of this system, Tinder tends to be a “numbers game”, where people like everyone in order to maximize the amount of people they can. Playing off this principle, I decided that I would like everyone and wait for people to contact me.

I decided to use the same line with everyone once they greeted me. I made sure to not just jump right into the game and acknowledge their greeting first. The greeting I used was “I think tinder can be weird to wanna break the ice with a game of tic tac toe? I’ll go first”. Then I sent a 3×3 grid of question marks and placed my first x somewhere. If it seemed too unnatural to use my scripted prompt, I just asked them in an organic way if they wanted to play tic tac toe.

Surprisingly, most people played along! Some people just laughed or asked if I was serious, but most people figured out how to play along. Usually when the game was over one of three things happened: the person wanted to play again or play another game, the conversation ended, or the person felt like I owed them something. There were never more than 2 games of tic tac toe in any conversation; however, I did have some people suggest some interesting games for us to continue gameplay. A few people suggested trivia and one person suggested a riddle game. These people rarely began flirting, it was almost as if by making Tinder a game platform it had lost it’s flirtation purpose. The people who simply ended the conversation may have come to a similar conclusion.

The most interesting conversations happened where the flirtation continued during and after the game. I often found I had to “play” tinder in order to get people to agree or continue to play tic tac toe. These people were also often disappointed (or indignant!) when I didn’t want to meet them or continue talking to them outside of playing games on Tinder.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how many people were game to play along with me. I was also surprised that it seemed to get people out of “tinder” mindset and into a more playful mindset. I used tinder when I was single (unsuccessfully) as a way to meet people and conversations often got…lewd. I only had one encounter (it’s documented in the photo!) where someone asked me something inappropriate. I think that playing a childhood game brought people out of a tinder mindset and into a more genuine atmosphere to just interact on a platonic level.


Reading + Screenings

In preparation for the next unit read the chapter and watch the two talks below. They are three very different perspectives on designing and understanding non-digital games. Write a short response (not a summary, not a review or a statement of appreciation/dislike) in the comment section.

How Settlers of Catan Created an American Boardgame Revolution – Ian Schreiber

Life and Death and Middle Pair: Go, Poker and the Sublime by Frank Lantz

Train (or How I Dumped Electricity and Learned to Love Design) by Brenda Brathwaite

Average Hexagon


I played Super Hexagon in order to lose at certain points in the game. Whenever I first began this project, I attempted to lose the game on only whole numbered times (x:00 seconds). This strategy required me to look at both the game itself and the timer up in the corner, forcing me to focus on two things at once. However, due to the rhythmic nature of the game, I only managed to win on a whole number 6 times out of the hundreds (possibly thousands, who knows) times I played the game.

So, I opted for a slightly different approach. Rather than only losing at specific times, I decided to lose at every “obstacle” that appears in the game to see the different times that the game actually forces you to lose at. I played every level, and attempted to hit the first 10 blocks that appear on screen (I only played if the level didn’t change rhythmic patterns, which added about half an hour extra in time). This time, rather than focusing on the clock, I had to pay attention to the obstacles much more than I usually do while playing the game, and count them at the same time.

What I discovered is that this approach was much more headache inducing than any way I’ve ever played Super Hexagon before. The zen-like focused state that you achieve while playing bullet-hell style games was completely lost, and my vision even ended up getting a bit weird after about 15 minutes. Throbbing headache soon followed.

Along with the obvious mistake of losing count, one of my biggest problems was that I actually kept losing track of the fact that I was trying to lose, and I would end up missing the obstacle that I was trying to hit for that round. And, while you totally lose track of time when you play Super Hexagon the normal way, this hour and a half long experience felt like an eternity.

I’m gonna stick to playing Super Hexagon the usual way.