Mar 5 2010

Notes so far

Stepping back for a moment and looking back at the first two months of this project, I’m noticing a couple of things.

First, the quality of my writing is… not what I’d like it to be. Mind you, most of these game poems are written as they’re conceived, usually within thirty minutes or so, and then posted with very minimal editing. But still, I’d like to think that I could construct sentences and paragraphs in a more engaging and clear manner. But, like my buddy Dave commented, “writing is re-writing”, and eventually, I plan to revisit each one of these (once I reach my goal of fifty-odd games for the year) and give them the once- or twice-over that they (and you, the readers and players) deserve. In the meantime, please bear with me.

On a related note, if anybody out there is reading (or playing!) these, and has comments, questions, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to post them hear. I’m interested in any kind of feedback, including (especially!) critical feedback, as my aim is to make these as good as they can be, and I don’t believe that I can do that all my my lonesome. I appreciate and look forward to any and all input from my patient and thoughtful audience.

Secondly, I notice that many of these game poems are a lot more… well, “gamey” than I’d originally expected, or intended. But, that’s okay. I’m kind of a gamey gamer, and my designs tend towards fiddly little systems where they may or may not belong. But, that’s where playtesting comes in, and if things are too fussy, out they go. I’m primarily interested in evoking certain impressions, feelings, or emotions with these game poems, but I’m also a firm believer in “system matters”, and I think that the right game mechanics can produce that kind of effect as well as the most finely crafted turn of poetic phrase. Thus, the “game” part of “game poem”. I’m going to try to focus a bit more on making them more evocative through not-rules in the next batch, but I write whatever comes out of my inspiration, so that’s not a guarantee. I hope that they do the job, either way.

Lastly, and kind of related, a couple of my favorite game poems so far (and I’m going to withhold the identity of those at the moment, so as not to taint the judgment of anyone whose opinion of a particular game might be influenced my by own) tend to leave out something important, something central to my conception of the experience that the game should produce. Leave out in the text, in the description of the game here, that is – I believe that these things emerge from the process of play. Eventually, probably not all the time, but as my designer-mind traces through the pathways and possibilities that a given game poem can produce, I see a few of them generating these awesome results that aren’t stated directly in the rules, but are discovered by the reader/players along the way. That makes me very happy, and even if this experiment ended right here and now, I’d feel that I was successful in doing just that. I hope to come back to this point and explore it and talk about it some more in the future, so if I forget, bug me about it, okay?

So, that’s enough jabber for now. I hope that you’re enjoying this game-poem experiment, whoever you are out there. Only ten months and forty-three games to go!

Mar 4 2010

Game Poem 7: The Sign of the Great Old Elder God From Beyond

This is a game for two players. One player will take the role of the mad worshipper, bent on manifesting the Great Old Elder God From Beyond here on Earth, and the other will act as the avatar of the Great Old Elder God From Beyond itself. (You may play the game multiple times, alternating roles, at your own risk.)

To begin, decide how powerful the Great Old Elder God From Beyond will be. Some Great Old Elder Gods are worse than others. Give the avatar a number of tokens – stones, coins, nails, pieces of candy, teeth, whatever you have at hand – to denote exactly how terrible they actually are, with fewer tokens being worse. For example, you may give the avatar of the GOEGFB five tokens if they are just plain horrible, or even just a single token if they are quite horrible indeed.

The avatar of the Great Old Elder God From Beyond then asks their foul master to deliver unto them an action that the worshipper may perform that will allow it to assume a monstrous form in our plane of reality, and lay waste to the insignificance of human civilization. This may be something as simple as touching one’s nose with the left index finger, or as complicated as jumping up and down on one foot while rubbing your belly and whistling “Mean Green Mother from Outer Space”. The difficulty of the action is entirely up to the avatar, depending on how sadistic they think the Great Old Elder God From Beyond is feeling today.

Once decided, the avatar declares, “BEGIN, MORTAL!” The worshipper may then begin asking questions about the summoning action, which must be able to be answered with a “yes” or “no”. The avatar of the Great Old Elder God From Beyond must then answer the question to the best of their ability. If the question is unclear or unable to be answered, the avatar may simply respond by bellowing “MY MASTER IS DISPLEASED WITH YOUR INQUIRY!”, and the summoner may ask another.

If the avatar answers the supplicant’s question in the affirmative, bringing them one step closer to bringing ecstatic devastation to mankind, the worshipper becomes just a little bit more unhinged. After answering “yes”, the avatar of the Great Old Elder God From Beyond must choose one of the words that the asker used in their question, and declare it forbidden, stricken from their mind. The worshipper may not speak the word, but they may emit gibberish from their mouths in place of it.

For example, the worshipper may ask, “Shall I touch a finger to my forehead?” The avatar answers, “Yes, and you are now forbidden to utter the word ‘finger’.” The mad god’s servant may then ask, “Do you wish me to use my pinkie?” or “Must I use my middle galbahrah to summon you?” Bear in mind that the worshipper may only ask questions verbally – they may not use physical gestures (“Do I use *this* finger?”) to get information. If these strictures are broken – if the worshipper uses a forbidden word, or physical gesture to ask a question – then that question is stricken, and they must give the avatar of the Great Old Elder God From Beyond one of their tokens in compensation for their transgression. If they have lost their last token in this way, the GOEGFB immediately strikes them down where they stand, and they lose the game.

Alternately, if the avatar is able to answer the worshipper’s question “no”, then the avatar must give the worshipper one of their tokens. If the avatar has run out of tokens, and cannot give them one, they may demand that the inquisitor immediately attempt to summon the Great Old Elder God From Beyond, on pain of being torn limb from limb by invisible demons. This is most unpleasant, and is to be avoided at all costs. The avatar may also demand that the worshipper attempt a summoning if they cannot formulate an understandable question – it is possible, nay, likely, that so many words will have been elided from the questioner’s mind that all they can do is spout unrecognizable gibberish. If this is the case, the GOEGFB may demand that the avatar remove all tokens from play, as the worshipper makes one last desperate attempt to interpret their demands.

The worshipper may attempt to summon the Great Old Elder God From Beyond at any time – or when required to, as above, when the avatar is unable to give them a token for a negative answer. The summoner announces that they are beginning the ritual by discarding a token, and attempting to perform the action that they believe will bring ruin to the worthless insects that crawl upon our world. If they successfully perform the action that was communicated to the avatar by his dark overlord, then the Great Old Elder God From Beyond is able to manifest upon the earth, wreaking destruction and havoc to the great delight of its followers. Hooray! If the attempt fails, and the worshipper has not discovered the correct action to bring about the End of Man, they must give another token to the avatar, and continue trying. If they have lost their last token by doing this, the Great Old Elder God From Beyond becomes extremely displeased with their failure, and is able to breach into our dimension just long enough to consume their degenerate worshipper, and drive the avatar into utter madness and despair. Way to go, guys.

(A simpler version of this game may simply eliminate all of the foolishness with the tokens, and simply focus on the elimination or gibberish-ifying of the worshipper’s vocabulary, and their ridiculous attempts to fulfill the wishes of the Great Old Elder God From Beyond and its avatar. Continue until the proper summoning action is discovered, or until there is no sensible language left available to the summoner. Have fun destroying the world!)

Feb 27 2010

Game Poem 6: Slower Than Light

Find three to five players. You will each be going on a long journey, traveling far away from the others. You will still be able to stay in contact with each other, although as you travel, the distances between you will become greater, and the time it takes the messages to travel between you will increase. But still, you will continue to write, to maintain the threads of connection.

First, agree what kind of journey you will each be embarking upon. Perhaps you will be blasting off into deep space in silver rocket ships, jetting further and further away from each other into the cosmos, or you might be exploring the oceans on old sailing ships, or trekking across undiscovered country with your caravans. Whatever your journey may be, you will be mostly isolated, individually, with the brief letters that you send to each other as the only contact with other people.

Now, each of you will need several small pieces of paper, or index cards, and a something to write with. You will keep the first one for yourself, to keep track of how far away your friends are. Write each of the other players’ names on the paper, one per line. This will be your message log.

Now, choose one to write a message to, and make a hash mark next to their name on your message log sheet. Take a new piece of paper and write them a short message, no longer than a sentence or two, taking maybe thirty seconds or so, but absolutely no longer than a minute. The message may be about anything – what you’ve done or discovered on your journey, a question about how they are doing, passing on greetings from another traveler, or anything else that springs to mind. When the message is written, fold the paper in half, and write “From (your name), To (their name)” on the outside. It might be nice to hold the folded paper up so that everyone can see that you are finished.

Once everyone has completed their letter, or the minute is up, hand the paper to the person it is addressed to. Each player will take a moment to quietly read their message to themselves – either silently, or out loud, in a soft voice, if they choose. Keep the message that you have received safely next to you. When everyone has read their message, it is time to write another.

Every message that you send after the first is likely to take longer than the last. Decide again who you will write your letter to. (Remember that you will only be writing a sentence or two, at most.) If you are once again writing to someone who you have not sent a message to yet, do the same thing as the first message – put a hash mark next to their name on your message log, write your message on a new piece of paper, fold it up, put your name and theirs on the outside, and once all the messages are done, hand it to them to read.

However, if you have already sent someone a message – you will know by the hash marks next to their name – it will take longer for them to receive it this time. Write the short missive as before, fold the paper, but when you write your name and theirs on the outside, draw an empty check box next to their name, one for each hash mark after their name on your message log sheet. Once you have done that, add another hash mark, and when it is time to pass the message on, hand it to someone else, anyone who is not the intended final recipient. They will hold on to it for the next round.

(This means that the first letter that you send to someone will arrive immediately, as the first one did, the second letter that you send will take an additional round of messaging to arrive, the third one will take an extra two rounds, and so on. One extra message round – one empty check box – for each letter that you’ve sent them previously.)

So, what do you do when you receive a letter in transit, one that is not addressed to you, which has empty check boxes next to the recipient’s name? When you first get the message, tick off one of the check boxes. Then go ahead and write your own letter to whoever you choose, and remember to mark them off in your log, and add the appropriate number of check boxes next to their name. Now, look at all the outgoing messages that you have in front of you, including the one you’re sending right now. If a message has no unchecked boxes on it – either this is the first message to that recipient, or all the boxes have been checked off – you may simply hand it to them, and they will read it immediately. If there are still unchecked boxes on the letter, however, you must continue passing it to someone who is not the noted recipient (maybe even the original sender), until it has traveled long and far enough to reach its final destination.

Continue writing and passing and reading messages in this manner for a dozen or more rounds – about fifteen or twenty minutes worth. When everyone agrees that they have written their last message, it is inevitable that there will be many undelivered letters floating around. Take a few rounds to pass the messages around, without writing new ones, checking off the boxes until the last letter reaches its destination. Do not read these messages now, however – take them with you, and read them later, when you are alone.

Feb 25 2010

Game Poem 5: Everything You Do Is Stupid

Gather your players and have one of them set a timer for fifteen minutes. After the timer has started, another player should tell them how stupid it was to use the kind of timer they used. If they used a kitchen timer, tell them to join the twenty-first century and get something digital. If they used their iPhone, tell them that they’re being trendy, and complain about how Apple has locked down the app store and how they won’t ever let people use flash on their phones. Whatever they did, it was stupid, and you should let them know. The player who set the timer should acknowledge verbally that what they did was stupid, and totally agree with the person who told them that it was stupid to set the timer that way.

After the stupidity of setting the timer that way was been accepted, you may begin the game in earnest. The person who told the person who set the timer how stupid it was to set the timer that way should begin recounting their boring day, starting as early as possible. As soon as anyone gets the urge to tell them that something they did was stupid – and that urge should come easily, since everything you do is stupid – they should tell them exactly why what they did was stupid, and how they could have done it better, or why they shouldn’t have bothered doing it at all. You don’t need to go into great detail, but a general dismissal of the method of doing something (say, oh, I don’t know, brushing your teeth, just off the top of my head) or a statement of the pointlessness of doing it in the first place.

“God, that’s so stupid. You don’t have an electric toothbrush? What are you, some kind of hippie?”

“Really, you don’t use organic toothpaste? How stupid. You must really hate the planet.”

“It’s stupid to brush your teeth every day. People survived for thousands of years without brushing their teeth!”

After someone points out something stupid that the person talks about doing – and really, it could be anything, because everything you do is stupid – that person should start talking about their own day, starting off from about the same point. If the last person talked about brushing their teeth (“You’re just making the hygiene product companies rich, you know.”), the person who berated them for their stupidity might start talking about taking a shower (“It’s stupid to get up extra early to shower – I just take a bath at night.”) or eating breakfast (“You brew your own coffee? That’s so stupid! Starbucks, dude.”) or driving to work (“You still drive when gas costs this much? Man, it’s stupid not to ride a bike everywhere now.”).

When telling someone that something they did is stupid – and remember, *everything* you do is stupid – you may be as serious, crazy, well-founded or extreme as you wish. The only rule is to pick out something that is stupid, tell them that it was stupid, tell them why, and then start talking about your own stupid day. Also, be sure to point out that the thing that they did was stupid and how, and not tell them that they themselves are stupid, no matter how offended you may be at the stupidity of their actions. This is about pointing out the shortcomings of each others’ actions, not pointing out how dumb you think your friends are as people.

After the fifteen minutes is up, and the timer goes off, you may finish the last judgement of stupidity if you need to, or just stop immediately where you are. After you’re done speaking, let a moment or two pass. When the time is right, someone will say, “Wow, that game was stupid.” Then go do something else.

Feb 17 2010

Game Poem 4: Behind Their Back

This game requires an even number of people – at least six, but no more than ten or so – a deck of regular playing cards, and someone to be the dealer and referee for the game. If there aren’t the enough people to choose a referee, have the most trustworthy person available act as the dealer for the game.

To set up the cards, go through the deck and pick matching pairs of unique numbers, one card for each player. (That is, do not pick the same number for two pairs, so that all four suited cards for that number are in play.) So, for example, for a group of eight players, the dealer might choose the cards: twos of hearts and diamonds, jacks of spades and hearts, threes of clubs and spades, and eights of hearts and spades. The dealer should choose the cards as randomly as possible, maybe by secretly dealing out a card, then going through the shuffled deck in order until they find a matching number, and repeating the process until all the cards are chosen. Or, if they’re feeling wicked, picking a set of cards that will ensure optimal mayhem. It is completely up to the dealer, but a random selection of card pairs should be totally fine. Regardless, the actual cards selected should be kept a secret from the rest of the players. Dealer, be a decent person and try not to commit the chosen cards to memory, as well as you can.

After the cards are selected (and the dealer has done their best to forget what they were, if possible), put the rest of the deck away, shuffle the selected cards and deal one to each player. Everyone now has a mate – the person who has the other card that matches their number – and at least two people will have one or more secret lovers – the person (or persons!) who match their card’s suit. Players should announce their number, find their mate, and join them. At no time should anyone show anybody else their card, not even their mate, or say what their card’s suit is.

(It should go without saying that “mates” and “secret lovers” are assigned and accepted without regard to gender. But I’m saying it, anyway.)

Each mated pair should privately decide on some casual physical signal of intimacy that they will use to show their devotion to each other. It may be silently mouthing a certain endearing word or words to the other person. It may be touching your fingers to the other’s arm, shoulder, neck, or ear. It may be making a specific funny face at each other. It could be a playful sock to the jaw, or a tweak of the nose. Whatever it is, spend a minute or so establishing the signal and making small talk with your mate. After everybody is settled in, the dealer will say, “mingle!”, and each person should find someone else to talk to – preferably, not their mate.

You may now be talking to your secret lover, or you may just be chatting with a pleasant stranger. You have no idea at this point. You must find a way to subtly indicate your suit through normal conversation, without being too obvious, or stating it outright. Maybe you talk about your jewelry, or golfing, or valentine’s day. Maybe you tend to alliterate the starting letter of your suit a bit more than you would normally. Whatever you do, you must make sure that nobody else could possibly overhear what you’re trying to tell (and find out) from your conversation partner. If you do happen to overhear someone else being crass and obvious about their suit, you are well within your right to pause in your chit-chat, tap them on the shoulder, and explain to them gently, but clearly, how embarrassed they should be about speaking of private matters so openly.

After a minute or so – maybe more, maybe less, according to the number of players – the dealer will again call out “mingle!”. Everyone must find a new partner to talk with. The dealer will continue to encourage the players to mingle, until everyone has had a chance to talk with everyone else at least once, and this may go on for fifteen minutes or so. When the dealer thinks that everyone has had their fun, they may say, “mates!”, at which point everyone should find their mate, and attempt to make their signal of intimacy once again.

Attempt? Oh, yes. In the course of mingling and attempting to allude to your true nature – the suit of your card – you may very well run into someone who shares your suit. This person is your secret lover, and you must try to express your covert relationship with them. If at all possible, when you find a secret lover, you should attempt to share your signal of intimacy with them, and if they recognize that you are doing that, they will try to share theirs with you, as well. If you happened to notice what the original couples were doing with each other in their initial conversations, you may be able to recognize this immediately. Once you’ve done this, attempt to discreetly establish a new, secret signal of intimacy with your lover. This should be something that will be recognizable across a room, but only to the two of you. Inevitably, you will be separated, but you may try to reconnect as many times as is feasible in the brief course of the game.

Public intimacy between secret lovers is not without its dangers, of course. While mingling, people should be aware of who their mates are talking to, and what they’re doing. If they see that your mate is sharing your private intimacy signals with someone else, it’s a good chance that they’re carrying on behind your back! Do not say anything. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe you should try to reconnect with them the next time mingling is called for. Are they going back to the same person? Are they acting funny with them now? Be cool. Wait until the dealer calls “mates!” – if they try to use your private signal with you now, after they’ve done it with someone else, you are well within your right to brush them away or glare at them, to let them know that you’re on to their shenanigans.

After allowing the couples to check in with each other, the dealer should ask for pairs of people to turn in their cards. If your partner has discovered your perfidy and brushed aside your intimacy, you’d probably be best off turning in with your secret lover, if possible. If you’ve been cuckolded, you probably don’t want to turn in your card with the person who’s been sneaking around behind your back. Maybe you’ve got a secret lover of your own – you may turn to them, and see if they’d like to turn in with you. Unless they haven’t been caught out by their mate, of course. Then it might be best to just exchange your secret signals, swallow your pride, and go with the one who brought you. You may not win as hard as the pairs that remained true to each other, but at least you won’t be turning in alone.

Feb 10 2010

Game Poem 3: Three Old Men

This game requires exactly three players. The three players will play the parts of three old men in a retirement community: Charles, Peter, and Michael. Each of these three men wish each the others dead. If there are more than three people who want to play, they may watch (as other residents of the retirement community), but may not intervene, and must remain silent for the duration of the game.

Beginning with the oldest player, each player chooses one of the old men to play. Charles is wealthy, and is willing to pay people to carry out his malicious intentions for him. Peter carries a heavy walking stick that he imagines that he will use to cave in the skulls of his enemies. Michael keeps a straight razor in his pocket, and he fantasizes about drawing it across the throats of the other two. In any life-or-death conflict, and only in a life-or-death conflict, Charles will win over Peter, Peter will win over Michael, and Michael will win over Charles.

Charles, Peter, and Michael have known each other since they were boys, and have shared much of their lives together. Now, every day, the three old men sit together and complain. They complain about their health, women, the weather, politics, the other people in the community, taxes, their children, people of other races or social classes, but especially, they complain about each other, and the wrongs that they perceive have been perpetrated upon themselves by the other two men.

The player who has chosen Charles begins by reminding one of the other two men of something that they did to annoy, slight, or injure him. This could be anything from borrowing money and not repaying it, to running down his daughter-in-law with an automobile, to taking the last good seat at lunch. It can be trivial or serious, but the complaint must be genuine, and bitterly felt. The accused man may choose to defend himself or not, but must very soon thereafter tell one of the other men why they have wronged him, in the same manner, and that man must lodge a complaint against one of the others again in turn, and so on. Each accusation leveled against one of the other players must be of increasing significance to the accuser – Charles spilling grape juice on Peter’s white pants may not be objectively worse than the fact that Michael slept with Peter’s first wife while he was away fighting Germans, but dammit, he liked those goddamn pants.

Two things may modify this circle of escalating indictments.

First, if anyone feels that their accuser has gone too far, struck them so deeply that they have no recourse but to finally make their stand, they may stand up and bellow, “God Dammit! That’s enough!” When a player makes their stand against their accuser, they initiate a life-or-death conflict, describing how they intend to at last end the life of the miserable bastard. The man who is being attacked then describes the outcome of this conflict, remembering the rules above: Michael will always kill Charles, Peter will always kill Michael, and Charles will always kill Peter.

After one of the men is dead, the remaining two must pause, lock eyes, and regard each other before deciding what to do next. If one of them wishes to make a move against the other, now is the time. If a conflict results in one man remaining alive, alone, that man is the winner, and may take a sentence or two to describe what happens next, before fading to black.

The second thing that may be done within the circle of recriminations is to, when accused of a wrong by another man, instead of returning another accusation to one of the other two, to simply complain about something else. It’s been colder this year than previous years, and my joints ache. Did you see that news story about that lady on welfare? It’s been a month since my birthday, and that no-good grandson of mine still hasn’t called. When a man issues a general complaint instead of lodging an accusation against another man, the others may either continue to respond with accusations as before (“Yeah, well I wouldn’t visit an old louse who cheats his friends at cards, either!”) or respond with another general complaint, either in agreement with the previous one, or on another topic altogether.

If it happens that all three men make general complaints without accusing another of wrongdoing, the game has ended. Each of the men in turn must look into the distance and say, “Yep.” Then they all walk away, and will return to begin again the next day.

Feb 4 2010

Game Poem 2: All The Color Has Gone

All The Color Has Gone

Find two coins, and a few friends to play with. Sit with your other players. The person wearing the brightest color begins by naming a place that they have a strong memory of. The starting player picks up one of the coins, and hands the other coin to one of the other players. The starting player begins by noting their memory, only briefly, and then describing the place in which it took place. They may not use any color words in their description. After a minute or so, the player with the other coin waits for the starting player to note a particular thing in their description, lets them finish their current sentence, and then holds up the coin, asking “What color was that?” Both players then flip their coins.

If the two coins do not match, the starting player must pause, blink, take on a confused look, and say, “I don’t know.” If the two coins match, the starting player may answer with one or two color words, blink, take a deep breath, and then hand their coin to a player who has not yet asked for a color. The player who just asked “What color was that?” now begins describing their memory and place, as the starting player did, until the person with the other coin stops them again, and asks for a color. Coins are flipped again, they respond again as above, and then the describer passes their coin to someone who has not yet asked for a color. This is repeated until everyone has done this once.

After every player has had a turn describing their place, with or without a color, the two players who hold the coins flip them one more time, and then place them in the center.

If the coins match, a single color has returned to those who answered “I don’t know” to the question about their description. Each of those players take a turn describing one element of their place that they now remember having a vivid, brilliant color, using only a sentence or two. After every player has had the chance to name a color, pause for a moment, then, beginning with the starting player, go around and have each player speak their color aloud, in turn.

If the coins do not match, color has fled from those who were able to recall one color in their description. Each of those players take a turn describing how the colored item in their place fades, using only a sentence or two. After every player has experienced the loss of color, pause for a moment, then, beginning with the starting player, go around and have each player in turn speak silently, in their mind, the color that they know should have been in their place.

Remember your color, and hold it in your mind until the next time you play. Perhaps then you can remember another.

Feb 4 2010

January Failure

I failed! *takes bow* I wanted to post four game poems in January, and for various reasons, only posted the one. So, Groundhog Day reset, let’s double down and do this thing. Trying again…

Jan 6 2010

Game Poem 1: Stone and Feather

The game begins with three to six players sitting in a circle, or at a table. In the center, there is a single feather, and one small stone for each player. (If a feather or stones cannot be found, feel free to substitute as needed.)  Whoever has flown most recently will begin, and describe in one brief sentence what type of bird they are. What color are you? What are your eyes like? Are you large or small, sleek or clumsy, predator or prey? The only restriction here is that the bird must be able to fly.

Once everyone in the circle has described themselves briefly, the first player will take the feather from the center and describe his or her nesting place in a sentence or two – high in a tree? in a crag by the sea? deep in the desert? a post in the hunters’ camp? – and then tells the others what it is like to take to flight, to leave the nesting place and to go in search of something. You may be searching for food, a mate, someone to play with, a place to stretch your wings in the sun and wind, anything. After a moment, this bird will take a stone from the center and put it in front of themselves, and then pass the feather to another player who does not yet seek something. They will describe taking off in the same way, until every player has done this.

When every player has taken a turn describing taking off in search of something, the feather may next be passed to anyone who has a stone set in front of them. Any bird who receives the feather this way will then describe what they see below them as they fly. Take a few sentences and describe the landscape, or the sea beneath you, the quality of the air, the weather, the sensation of the wind flowing over and through you. Do you see people? Animals? Natural or man-made structures? Nothing? Nobody? Do you have a sense of what it is you seek yet? If you remember something that another bird described, or the one who passed you the feather, and that affects your description, marvelous. If not, that is also fine. After a moment, this bird will pick up its stone, and pass the feather to another player who still knows that they seek something by the stone in front of them. They will describe their flight in the same way, until every player does this.

When every player is holding their stone, the bird who holds the feather places it back in the center, and pauses for a moment. Look around at the other players, and choose one to place your stone in front of. That bird will take a couple of sentences to briefly describe what ends their flight. Do they find the thing they sought after? Do they return to their nesting place, or is their flight interrupted terribly? Do they find something new to search for, or are they contented? If they remember something that another bird described, or the one who passed them their stone, and that affects their description, wonderful. If not, that is also fine. After a moment, that bird’s story is over. They look at the other players, and choose one who still holds a stone in their hand, but has no stone in front of them, and places their stone in front of them. They will describe the end of their flight in the same way, until the every player does this, and every player has a stone in front of them again.

Take a moment, and one by one, each player will choose to return their stone to the center alongside the feather, or keep it with them. If they wish to take a sentence to explain their choice, they may, but it is not required. When everyone has chosen, give the feather to one player. They will begin the next game, next time. Leave the stones where they lie.

Jan 6 2010

Game Poems

This is where I’ll be posting my weekly game poem.

You can find out more about game poems here:

Ideally, I’ll be posting a new game poem every week, ideally on Mondays. Ideally. By the end of the year, I should have fifty or so. Ideally. Let’s see how this works out, hm?