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

Come Out & Play 2008 in New York

Human Blackjack

Start Time: Sunday June 8 at 2 PM
Starting Location: Tompkins Square Park inside the 9th St & Avenue A entrance by the columns
# of players: 56+
Duration: 30-60 minutes
URL: &
Designers: Lindsey McCosh, Eleanor Lovinsky, Jacquie Jordan, Sherry Smith

A "moshpit" of 52 "cards" shuffle in a mad-cap frenzy of fun, each vying for his or her chance to be part of the next hand. The dealer randomly selects each card, "hurling" them toward the four awaiting contestants who have hedged their bets with the hope that luck will be their lady.

Human blackjack is a highly participative, fast-paced rendition of the classic card game, with those playing serving as both the contestants ("gamblers") and the deck itself ("cards"). Visually stimulating oversized cards contribute to a surreal environment - think "Alice in Wonderland goes to Vegas," with hints of other beloved and chaotic childhood games such as "Red Rover" implied by the ensuing chaos.

The Rules
General gameplay will follow the widely-known rules of blackjack, one of the most popular casino card games in the world. Participant roles in Human Blackjack include both "cards" and "gamblers." Due to the fast-paced nature of the game, some players may even have the opportunity to be both "card" and "gambler" during the game’s duration.

Each hand will have four "gamblers," each of whom has the goal to beat the dealer by having the hand with the highest total as long as it doesn't exceed 21. Each player with a higher total than 21 "busts" and loses. It is important to note that each "gambler" has an independent game with the dealer, so it is possible for the dealer to lose to some "gamblers" but still beat the other "gamblers" in the same hand.

"Gamblers" who beat the dealer will be allotted one comically oversized chip. Losing "gamblers" will not receive a chip. Depending on turnout, these losers may have the ability to switch roles with a "card." Alternately, they may have the ability to play another hand.

In the event we have a "run on the bank," with a surplus of participants wishing to "gamble," the bank may require potential contestant to earn their buy-in with some sort of impromptu performance.

At the end of the game’s allotted duration, players will have the opportunity to cash their chips in for "fabulous" "prizes," which may or may not include cheap plastic crap, baked goods and other superfluous goodies to be determined at a later date.

View Larger Map