The Come Out and Play Festival is a street games fesitval dedicated to exploring new styles of games and play.

Come Out & Play 2006 in New York City

Payphone Warriors
Control city turf by capturing the city’s payphones. A fast-paced game of territory control.

Location: Washington Square Park
# of players: 20 players
Duration: 30 minutes

Payphone Warriors is an entirely new take on the classic game of capture-the-flag. Each payphone within the game area serves as a flag which a team can capture and control. Teams capture the payphone by making a call to the game headquarters and identifying their team. The team controls the phone until another team can make a call from that phone. The game cleverly repurposes a common piece of the urban landscape, turning the infrastructure of the city into the game pieces.

Players engage in a strategic battle to earn points by capturing city payphones. Players capture a payphone by making a call to HQ. The player’s position is identified by the caller ID of the phone number.

The team controls the phone until another team can capture the phone by making a call. For each minute the team controls the phone, they score one point. Teams can control multiple phones. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. Official Ruleset


Each team must move around the play and try to capture and control as many payphones as they can during the course of the game. Run, spy, follow, steal. Do whatever you must to control as many phones as possible.

During the game players will receive SMS messages updating them on the score.


  • The game last 30 minutes.
  • Each player is given a map of the game area and payphone locations.
  • Payphones are point-producers. For every minute that a team controls a payphone it produces one point for the team.
  • A player takes control of a payphone by placing a call from the payphone to the HQ phone number.
  • After taking control of a phone, a player can remain at the payphone to guard it from rival teams; if a player is guarding a payphone, rival players cannot capture it unless a greater number of players from another team approaches.
  • If a greater number of players from another team approaches a guarded phone, the guarding player must cede control. Peacefully.
  • If two players are running to reach a phone, the player who places his hand on the phone booth first wins the right to place a call.
  • Banks of several phones only count as one base. You may place a call from any of the phones (the system groups them together).
  • Quarters are a scarce resource. Each player is alotted only 10 quarters. Quarters can be redistributed amongst players however the team sees fit.
  • The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
  • No scratching, hitting or biting. We’re all friends here.

Designers: Abe Burmeister, Gregory Trefry, Cory Forsyth

Abe Burmeister is a designer, writer and artist. In 1999 he co-founded One Infinity, an animation studio that developed award winning cartoons and websites with Disney,, MCA Records and Frog’s Leap Winery. After leaving One Infinity in 2003 he
obtained a Masters degree in Interactive Telecommunications from NYU and wrote a book on alternative approaches to economics, Economies of Design and Other Adventures in Nomad Economics, using the pen name William Abraham Blaze. Presently he is developing real time data
visualization tools for stock trading, and is in the process of starting Intense Objects, a non-profit organization developing clothing for bicycle commuters. His blog is

Cory Forsyth wrote his first program at age 7. He excels in many programming languages including Java, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby as well as the Ajax and MySQL/LAMP web architectures. He programmed the Popularity Dialer, one of the first social software projects to use asterisk. His work on that project and others like Pheeder has placed him in the vanguard of the open source PBX/VOIP movement. He is the lead developer of Snagu, a mobile social software project that won a digital incubator grant from MTVu and will be presented at the Come Out and Play Festival this fall. He graduated magna cum laude from Pomona College with a B.A. in Physics.

Greg Trefry likes to wander around New York City and make up games, because he loves games and he loves New York City. His website is because he thought calling it "I am the Laffer Curve" would make people think he was a Reagonite.