Jan 4 2011

Game Poem 36: Office


Welcome to Office! Office is a game for three or four players at the very least, but it will support arbitrarily large numbers, so feel free to play and experiment. To begin, pick one player – let’s say the oldest – to be the Manager. All other players will be Employees.

The Manager is in charge of setting up everything that is needed to play Office. They will need to find a whole bunch of coins or tokens, at least a dozen or so per player, and a bowl or some kind of container in which to hold them. The Manager will also need to assemble a stack of index cards or slips of paper, and several writing implements. The manager will also want to assign the role of Human Resources to one of the Employees, and put them in charge of distributing two tokens to each Employee. The manager begins with no tokens.

While HR is distributing the initial paychecks, the Manager should take a few moments to write down a bunch of initial assignments on the paper or index cards, at least one for each Employee to begin with. These are the tasks that the Employees will be performing in the course of their work day, and should be relatively simple, straightforward, and easy to verify. Each assignment should take a minute or less to complete, and take up mental space and processing power, but require no special or unusual skills. You will probably want to keep a variety of materials around to ensure the possibility for an interesting collection of tasks.

Here are some sample assignments to get you started, but feel free to make up your own:

  • Write out multiplication tables for the numbers one through ten
  • Write a list of animals, or male and female names, one for each letter of the alphabet
  • Write a list of two or three dozen countries or U.S. States
  • Write out the first thirty numbers of the fibonacci sequence, or the first thirty powers of two
  • Put a shuffled deck of cards in order, Aces to Kings, Hearts to Spades
  • Write out a sequence of times starting at noon, every eighteen minutes, to midnight
  • Count the frequency of letters in all the Employees’ first and last names
  • Draw a series of shapes according to your instructions
  • Write out the words from a short paragraph in alphabetical order
  • Drawn two dozen simple faces with different expressions
  • Write out a list of two dozen movies that are currently playing
  • Sort out a jar of coins into piles of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters
  • Write out your full name twenty-five times
  • Draw one hundred circles
  • Make a list of your thirty favorite songs
  • And so on…

Assignments must always be written down on an index card, not communicated to the Employees verbally. They may be discussed very briefly, but the assignment must be completed exactly as written, and must be written in such a way that they may be verified for correctness likewise.

Once the Manager has created the initial set of tasks, they will distribute them to their Team, one per Employee. When the last task is assigned, the Manager will start a timer for fifteen minutes or so. As soon as the timer starts, the day’s work has officially begun; when the timer goes off, the work day is done, and the game is over.

During the work day, the Employees may do a couple of things. They may work on their assignments, and when they are done, turn them in to the Manager. When a task is turned in, the Manager will give the Employee that completed the task one token, and also take one token for themselves. The task should also be verified for correctness; if it was completed properly, the Employee earns an extra token, and a bonus token will be awarded to either the Manager or the Employee, at the Manager’s discretion. Once they’ve collected their pay, the Manager will assign them a new task, and send them back to work.

An Employee may also decide to malinger and shirk off their assignment for a while, instead of working. To do this, they just need to go talk to another player for a bit about sports or television or politics or what they did over the weekend or their hobbies or anything that isn’t work. While they talk, the player that is being distracted may not work, but must count slowly to ten, and when they reach ten, they must give the slacker one of their tokens, and they can both go back to work. Or go forth and slack some more, somewhere else.

It is clearly in the Company’s interest to minimize goofing off, so the Manager or the Human Resources representative may interrupt someone who is distracting another player. If the malingerer is interrupted before their target counts to ten, they don’t take a token, and must go back to work without wasting any more of the Company’s time. Keep in mind that the Manager must also be continually coming up with and writing down new tasks for their Team, so they must split their focus between keeping an eye on the Employees while making sure that there’s always work to be done.

Employees may always feel free to complain to their Manager at any time if they think that the Manager is doing a bad job, rewarding them unfairly, giving them tasks that are too hard or too simple for their abilities, or ignoring the inappropriate behavior of the other Employees, or whatever comes to mind. There is no mechanical reward for this beyond the airing of the complaint itself.

Eventually, the timer will go off, and the work day will end. The Employees may turn in any tasks that they have just completed, but if the Manager says that it’s time to go home, then no more work may be turned in, and the game is over. Each player will count up their tokens, and the one who generated the most value for the Company wins! (If there is ever a tie, the Manager decides the winner.) This will very likely be the Manager, so you will also want to see which Employee has the most tokens – that player will be awarded the title Employee of the Month, and may play as Manager next time!

Dec 3 2010

Game Poem 35: Warriors of the Celestial Emperor

Dragon Phoenix Tiger Tortiose

For centuries, the earth-bound warriors of the four celestial clans have fought each other to gain the favor of the gods. This battle will continue for many years to come, each element defeating the one before it, and defeated in turn by the next, as the great martial cycle wheels on through eternity.

This is a quick fighting game for two to four players, each taking on the role of a warrior from one of four ancient clans of warriors, vying against each other for the favor of the Celestial Emperor. This fight is but one of many, each victory bringing their order of martial artists to final victory.

To play, you will need a regular deck of playing cards. Each player will take the thirteen cards from one of the suits in the deck, as each suit represents a different school of warriors:

  • Diamonds: Dragon Clan, from the East. Represents the element of Wind. Their color is Green, and their season is Spring.
  • Hearts: Phoenix Clan, from the South. Represents the element of Fire. Their color is Red, and their season is Summer.
  • Spades: White Tiger Clan, from the West. Represents the element of Metal. Their color is White, and their season is Autumn.
  • Clubs: Tortoise Clan, from the North. Represents the element of Water. Their color is Black, and their season is Winter.

Each clan has a distinct fighting style. Dragon Clan warriors are swift and precise, and are said to sometimes be able to focus their energies to move the air itself against their foes. Phoenix Clan style is volatile and explosive, and adepts of this school can burn their opponents with a touch. Fighters of the White Tiger school are aggressive and relentless, and are skilled in the fabrication and deadly use of all manner of weapons. Finally, the Black Warriors of the Tortoise Clan have formidable defenses and a methodical fighting style that is bolstered by their power over water, both moving and still.

If there is a member of the Tortoise Clan present in this battle, they will describe the setting where the fight will take place. (If there is no Tortoise, then the White Tiger will detail the setting, or a Phoenix if there is no White Tiger.) Are the warriors meeting somewhere deep in a bamboo forest, next to a bubbling stream? Are they perched upon a cloudy mountaintop, or do they face each other in the moonlight atop the roofs of a village in the hills? Do they fight among the stones of a ruined temple, or in the courtyard of a palace?

Once your environs are decided upon, it is time to begin the fight! Dragon Clan warriors will always attack first, followed by each subsequent player in the cycle: Phoenix after Dragon, then the White Tiger, and then Tortoise, and back around to Dragon. It may be helpful for the players to sit in order, but it is not required.

To make an attack, the fighter will choose someone as a target, describe how they wish to attack that target, and place a card from their hand face down in front of them. Remember to be colorful and vivid in describing your attack, using any and all elements available to you, whether they be part of your Clan’s style or a piece of the setting. A Phoenix may lash out at their opponent with a whip of flame, or perhaps a White Tiger will slash their target with their dual Singing Jade Swords. A Dragon warrior might strike his foe with the legendary Coiled Cloud Fist, or maybe the Tortoise will maneuver his enemy towards a cliff that overlooks the sea, intending to send him over the edge, and onto the rocks below!

Whatever the attack may be, after the initiator has laid his card, their target will choose a card from his own hand and play it to the table as well. The players will then flip over their cards and compare the values. If the cards are of equal value, then the round is a tie, and both cards are discarded. The target of the attack may describe how the attack was nullified, but no advantage was taken by either side.

However, if one of the cards is higher than the other, the person with the high card wins this round of the battle. (Aces are low cards, and are beaten by every other card.) The victor describes how they either strike a powerful blow upon their enemy, if they were the attacker, or easily turn away the attack of their aggressor, if they were defending. After the victor describes their present success, the loser of the exchange then tells how they move away, into a different part of the setting, or alter or re-frame some part of the environment. So, for example, if a Dragon was successful in slamming a Phoenix warrior into the ground with a great gust of wind, the Phoenix may describe how they kick-spin up and run upstairs to the second story of the tavern, setting the room ablaze behind them, or they may blind the Dragon Clan fighter for a moment with a flash of heat, allowing them to run into the street outside. Perhaps a Tortoise Black Warrior sidestepped a White Tiger’s spear thrust, grabbing the weapon and neatly snapping it in two; the White Tiger may respond by flipping backwards and grabbing a pair of swords from the wall, or leaping up onto a chandelier!

After both sides get a chance to briefly describe the outcome of the attack, each player will take the card that the other player laid down and put it into their hand. After this exchange, each player will choose a card to discard from their hand – not necessarily the same card they just picked up – and place it on the table, face down. The winner of the attack will take these cards as a “trick” and place them in front of him to indicate that he has scored a victory. Neither player may look at the discarded cards.

When the round has ended, the next fighter in the cycle (Dragon -> Phoenix -> White Tiger -> Tortoise) will choose someone to attack, and proceed as above, describing their attack and playing a card, the target defending, and so on. Anyone may attack anyone else on their turn, until their hand has dwindled down to one last card. A player holding only a single card may neither attack nor be attacked, and must place their last card face-down in front of them to indicate that they are no longer in the fight. When no player is able to attack another player, either because they have only one card, or because there are no targets available with more than one card, the battle has ended, and it is time do determine the ultimate champion.

First, if there is a player left who has more than one card in their hand, they must discard down to a single card. However, each one of the cards that they discard counts as a trick for them! So, if the Phoenix won four rounds of fighting, and was the only one left at the end with three cards, they would discard two cards, down to one, which would give them six tricks total for the endgame. (This is a good reason to keep track of how many cards the other players have, and make sure that nobody is just standing by and not participating in the battle!)

Once every player has a single card left, everyone will reveal what their last card is. Each player will count the number of tricks that they have taken, and if there are one or more players whose final card is equal to or lower than the number of tricks that they have taken, the player with the highest card that is lower than the number of their tricks is the final winner of the fight! Ties are resolved by highest number of tricks taken, and then, if there is still a tie, by reverse order of play, beginning with the Tortoise, then the White Tiger, then the Phoenix. If no player has a final card whose value is lower than or equal to the number of tricks that they have taken, then the player who has the final card with the lowest value is the winner; ties here are broken the same way as above.

The ultimate winner may take a moment to describe how he has vanquished his foes, and then the other players may tell how they intend to return to fight again, continuing the warriors’ cycle.

Jun 11 2010

Game Poem 24: The Knight, the Rogue, the Princess, and the Dragon

The Knight, The Rogue, The Princess, and the Dragon is a quick little story-telling game for four players. Take the face cards and aces from a deck of regular playing cards, and distribute them to the players, so that each player has the Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of a suit. Each player should shuffle their four cards and place them in a pile face-down in front of them. For the purpose of this game, we will refer to the cards as the Knight (the King), the Princess (the Queen), the Rogue (the Jack), and the Dragon (the Ace).

Starting with the youngest player, take turns flipping over the top card of your stack until someone turns up their Knight. That will be the starting player. If any of the other players have not turned over a card yet, they should do so now, so that everyone has at least one face-up card showing. The starting player begins the story by holding up the Knight and saying something like, “Once upon a time, there was a brave (or rich, or young, or ambitious, or proud) Knight…” They may describe the Knight however they like, telling the other players what he looks like, how he behaves, or what he thinks. Just take a sentence or two to do this, and then hand the Knight to one of the other players. That player puts the Knight card that was given to them face-up under their draw pile, and continues the story.

To continue the story, the new storyteller takes the card that they have turned face-up in front of them, and proceeds to tell how the Knight encounters or interacts with that new character. For example, the Knight may know the Princess that the new storyteller has in front of them – describe her as beautiful, or as a tomboy, or generous, or vain, or lonely, or how she loves cupcakes, or perhaps she is the Knight’s sister. Or, if the new storyteller has a Dragon in front of them, they may tell how the Knight heard an old tale about a rich dragon sitting on a pile of gold in his cave, or he may meet a tiny baby dragon stuck in a tree, or he may have to defeat a dragon to rescue his King, or the dragon may be his steed, or anything! A Rogue may be incorporated into the story by having him try to trick the Knight somehow, or rob him while he sleeps, or maybe he wants to become a knight himself somehow. The new storyteller’s card may even be a second Knight, in which case they may either further describe the original Knight, or tell more of his past adventures or his motivations or who he serves, or it may be another actual knight in the story who he meets, or who he has fought with, or who is is friend, or his captain, or his rival. Any of these things – or anything else the new storyteller may think of – are wonderful ways to continue the story.

Once the second player has added their piece of the story, and how their card connects with the Knight at the beginning, they then take their character’s card and give it to another player, just as the first Knight was given to them. The new storyteller takes that card and puts it face-up underneath their draw pile, and if they don’t already have a card face-up in front of them, they must turn over a new one now, and continue the story in the same way. The Princess told him this, or the Rogue attacked the Dragon sneakily, or the Knight challenged her to a game of chess, or the Dragon flew off with something valuable, or anything that you can imagine. Play continues this way, with each player adding a new bit according to the card that they have showing, giving that card to the next player, until every player has used all four of their cards in the telling of the story. (Make sure not to pass your character card to a player that has already used all four of their cards!) Eventually, all the players will wind up with a pile of face-up cards that have been given to them by other players, and there will be one player holding a character card, with nobody to give it to after they have added their bit to the story.

This last player should place their final character’s card face-up in the middle of the table. You should have a relatively involved little story spun out now, but how to end it? Well, as the final card is played to the table – this will become the “story pile” – that player may begin to wrap things up, telling how that character has succeeded in whatever they need to do to get what they need in the story. Maybe it’s a Knight card, and he has retrieved the queen’s necklace from the Dragon’s swamp. Or perhaps the Princess has finally trained the Dragon to be her new pet, or the Rogue has become the new king. Maybe the Dragon has even managed to eat all of the other characters at this point!

But this is not the end! All of the players may now look at the card on top of their face-up pile of cards that they have received from the other players, and if they can play a card on top of the story pile that beats the card that’s currently on the top of the stack, they may add something that allows their card’s character to reverse their fortune and achieve their desires instead! The cards beat each other in the following manner:

  • Knight slays Dragon
  • Dragon captures Princess
  • Princess charms Rogue
  • Rogue deceives Knight

These are not necessarily strictly the actions that happen in the story when one card beats another, but they are just a handy way to remember which card beats which. Of course, if you want to use those elements in the story as the end twists and turns, please, feel free to do so!

Eventually, there will come a point where none of the players are able to play one of their cards onto the story pile. Or perhaps all of the players decide that they like the ending as it stands, and do not wish to play another character card, even though they are able to. The player who laid down the last card on the story pile  may finish up the story with a sentence or two, wrapping it up with a moral or a happily aver after if they wish.

Of course, that may not be the true end of the story, but just the beginning of the next one…

Apr 30 2010

Game Poem 15: The Pitch

....and Chewbacca, for some reason.

The Pitch is a game for at least four players. (It should accommodate up to eight or so fairly well, and may even work with two or three.) Players will take the parts of employees of a company who are attempting to sell a particular product or service, and their clients or potential clients who will be deciding whether or not to buy what they’re selling.

To start, decide what you’ll be pitching or deciding to pay for. A long-term insurance policy? A remodel of a house or building? A new sports car? An advertising campaign, building a web service, or developing a new image? A collection of antique brass keys? A camping trip? A new kitchen gadget? Partnership in a communal living arrangement? It could be anything at all, as long as everyone thinks it’s okay, and it sounds a little fun. Don’t worry about picking the perfect thing – just throw out some ideas, and talk about it for less than a minute or so before grabbing something that sounds good.

Now, split up the players into the pitchers and the clients. The sides should be the same size, if possible. It’s better to err on the side of more clients, so if you have an odd person, make the extra player a client. Now find yourself somewhere to play – have the clients and pitchers sit across a table from each other, if you can. Oh, you’ll need a regular deck of playing cards, too. Grab some, shuffle them up, and have a seat.

There are two things to set up before you start playing. First, each player draws a card from the deck, and does not look at it. Do not look at your own card! Show it to the other players, and then put the card somewhere on your person where all the other players can get a good look at it while you’re playing – on your forehead, in your hat band, poking out of a shirt pocket – but where you are not able to see it at all. This first card is an indicator of how important you are to the rest of the group, and they will behave accordingly. So, a two or three is pretty low on the totem pole – maybe you’re an intern, or if you see that a client is a two, you don’t care about their business at all, or maybe the guy trying to sell something to you is a three, and you’ve already blown them off in your mind. Likewise, someone showing a face card is fairly high status – a king might be the CEO of the company, or a very rich, very influential client that you’ve been courting for a long time, or maybe just someone that you’ve had a crush on since high school. Try your best to keep your card visible to everyone else throughout the game, to give the other players a constant reminder of how important – or unimportant – you are.

The second thing you need to do before you begin is to draw a second card – this time, you will look at the card, and make sure that none of the other players see it. This is your motivation, or objective during the game. Look up the value of your card on the following list, and use the corresponding item to inspire you during the negotiations:

* Ace: You actually genuinely care about this product or service, and whether you’re a client or a pitch man, you really want this deal to work out as well as possible for everyone involved.

* Two: You are extremely attracted to one of the other players. Look around and choose someone now! You will do everything in your power to get them to go out, make out, or sleep with you.

* Three: You are sick and tired of the company or team that you’re part of now, and you want to leave and join the other side as soon as possible. Don’t let your current partners know, though – you don’t want to hurt their feelings.

* Four: You just want this meeting to be over with. You want to get out of here and get home. Maybe your kid’s soccer game is starting right now, maybe your wife is taking the day off and waiting for you, or maybe it’s just a beautiful day out.

* Five: All you care about is money, having money, and taking it from other people. If you’re a client, you basically want whatever they’re selling for free. If you’re pitching, you will squeeze every last dime out of these suckers, and then some.

* Six: You are very, very, very hungry. You didn’t eat breakfast, you skipped lunch to get here on time, and all you want to do is fill your belly with tasty, tasty food. There is no food at the pitch meeting, unfortunately, unless someone brought some.

* Seven: You are extremely religious, and enjoy proselytizing deeply. You would very much like to convince someone in this room to change their religion to yours. It doesn’t matter if they’re on your side already or not.

* Eight: You have to go to the bathroom very badly, but can’t leave the room until the meeting has been concluded.

* Nine: You are in a terrible mood for some specific reason. Something that someone here did, perhaps? You will turn down anything that anybody suggests to you, and won’t be happy until everyone else is as miserable as you are.

* Ten: You really don’t care if this deal goes through or not. What you do care about very much is whether or not every single person here likes you. You want to be everyone’s best friend, and vice versa.

* Jack: You just got an offer from a competitor this morning, and you jumped on it. You haven’t signed the papers yet, but if this deal goes badly, your new gig will benefit greatly. Don’t blow it, but don’t tip your hand too soon.

* Queen: You aren’t especially concerned about the business side of things here at all. What you are concerned with is making sure that everybody with a stake in this deal feels okay about everything that happens.

* King: The most important thing in the world, whether the deal happens or not, is that everybody in your presence recognizes what a smart and intelligent person you are. Much, much smarter than they are, in fact.

Once everybody has taken a look at their objective card and had a moment to think about it, and has also had a chance to look around at the relative importance of all the other players, it’s time to get going! Set a timer for ten or fifteen minutes, and let the pitchers begin their spiel. Interact normally with each other, and try to behave as if the status cards and your motivations are real and compelling. Whatever is said by the players should generally be accepted as truth during the game, so try not to cancel out or invalidate something that someone says without a very good reason.

When the timer goes off, the meeting is over, and you must immediately decide if the deal is off or on. Take a minute or so to come to a decision, shake hands, and wrap up. (After everything is settled, take a look at your own status card, and see if you were able to figure out how important you were, based on how the other players were treating you!)

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.

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.