POSTPONED – The 2011 ITP Camp Games Mega-Tournament

>> FUN — LEARNING ABOUT GAMES — PRIZES — GLORY!!! <<

You are invited to come have fun, socialize, and learn about different types of games in a practical hands-on way this Sunday at 3pm at the 2011 ITP Camp Games Mega-Tournament.

(That title is firmly tongue-in-cheek. It’s more an un-tournament, being organized as an ad hoc follow-on to my session on games this past Sunday. EVERYONE’S WELCOME and no need to have come to that session to enjoy the tournament.)

Please sign up below. It will be very helpful for planning to know how many people are coming.

There will be around 10 games of all sorts, some physical, some strategic, some fast-paced, some artistic, some social, some solitary. All games will all be accesible and easy-to-learn on the spot. You can also come a bit early to practice if you want (and only if you want). NO EXPERIENCE WITH ANY OF THE GAMES NEEDED.

The better you do in each game, the more tournament point you’ll earn. We’ll keep a running tally on a wall of how everyone’s doing and in the end give our various prizes (e.g. best at strategy games, best at physical games, etc.) and of course a Grand Prize for being the best overall.

To make it more competitive, we’ll try some handicapping based on player’s general level of experience (starting from “none”) with the games, and we’ll also have a tournament scoring formula that, for instance, ignores the 2 or 3 worst scores on individual games you got.

At the end of the tournament, we’ll spend some time talking about the experience, referencing the different game platforms, game mechanics, social mechanics, and types of fun discussed at last Sunday’s session. Again, no worries if you didn’t come to the session; it will all still make sense and be educational.

Finally, hopefully we can get someone to take some photos and videos of highlights during the afternoon, and perhaps someone can DJ some music. And we’ll see about beer and snacks.

Here’s the tentative game-plan, subject to revision.

As an ice-breaker, we’ll start with a group party game called Mafia:

1. Mafia – the classic party game of social persuasion and acting in which everyone plays together. You are either a mafia member or a townsperson. Each “night” someone gets secretly killed by the mafia. The townpeople then debate who to kill in return for being a suspected mafia member. The longer you live, the more tournament points you get. If you’ve never played, you are in for a psychological treat.

Then we’ll have a series of small group games:

2. Scrabble – 4 players at a time. The normal word-tile game, except with a chess-style timer to keep things moving along. Play multiple times with different opponents as time allows. The more Scrabble points you get, the more tournament points you get.

3. Stratego (the Barrage of “speed” version) – a face-paced version of Stratego, a classic 1-on-1 board game simulating two armies fighting each other. Easy to learn, hard to master.

4. Harbor Master – a top-selling “casual game” for iPad. You are the harbor master and have to make sure the ships unload their cargo without crashing. It’s a at times calm, at times frantic game of “attention management”. Use the wonderfully intuitive touch interface to draw routes for ships, shoot the attacking pirates, and kill the giant squid. If time allows, we’ll play single player and two people cooperating at a time. Also we’ll project the image on a large screen for spectator enjoyment.

5. Bomberman – a classic dead simple but completely engrossing multiplayer game where everyone is trying to blow up everyone else. 4 players at a time. Last person standing wins. Great fun, and great to watch also.

We’ll also have a few 1 player games:

6. Clock – a mesmerizing, abstractly beautiful game of concentration and hand-eye coordination by game designer Luke O’Conner. Featured at NYU Game Center’s recent No Quarter exhibition of indie games, for which it was commissioned. Takes a minute to play but totally addictive and you’ll want to keep playing to get it right.

7. Whac-a-Wall – my ITP Camp 1-in-1 project! Like Whac-a-Mole but on a wall, using Kinect for motion detection. See how many critters you can whack in a minute. Involves jumping and waving your arms around and getting maniacally laughed at when you miss (or when my calibration is off…)

8. Passage + reflections on Passage. Passage is a 5-minute “art game” by noted indie game designer Jason Rohrer (see this Esquire magazine profile). Be warned, this surprising little game might make you cry. The contest is this tournament isn’t to cry the most, but to express your thoughts and feelings in the most compelling way after you play. We’ll put the game in a separate room and give you some time to write or draw some post-play thoughts. Then everyone will vote on the thoughts and you get tournament points based on these votes.

For a note of randomness, we’ll have: 

9. Pass the Pigs. A game of complete chance that you can’t stop playing once you get in the mood. Good dumb fun — or deep philosophical truth?

And finally, to end the festivities, we’ll play:

10. Ping Pong — Around the World! We might be able to get a full-sized ping pong table onto the floor so we can play. One idea is to end the tournament with the group game variant of Ping Pong called “Around the World”. Everyone runs around and around the table hitting the ball back and forth. You get eliminated from the rotation if you miss. Last person to survive wins. Watch this for an idea of how it works.

The exact plan will evolve over the coming week. Please share suggestions, ideas, and requests. 

At the end of the tournament, we’ll hand out prizes and see what we’ve learned after an afternoon that will hopefully have been a lot of fun together.

Again, please sign up below so I know how many people to plan for, or email me. Also if you want help with video/photos, DJ’ing, keeping score, or whatever, that’d be much appreciated!