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

Come Out & Play 2009 in New York

Signals on the S
Win points by sending the correct secret messages to your teammates in Grand Central Station or Times Square by giving beads to the appropriate travelers on the Shuttle (S) subway train!

Start Time: Friday June 12 at 5 PM
Location: Times Square, Exact Location TBA
# of players: 11-30
Duration: 1-2 hours
Designers: Karen Schrier, Josh DeBonis, Liz Gorinsky

Underground NYC: the land of no cell phone signals. But here's a new "s"olution. Players will participate in a type of "Subway Telephone" and will use travelers on the S shuttle from Times Square to Grand Central (and back) to send their secret messages. Half of the team will be in Grand Central, and the other half will be located in Times Square. Participants will put beads on Shuttle travellers to signal to their team the messages or clues they want to share. Team members are not allowed to ride on the shuttle--so if you get stuck on the train, you'll lose points! The team with the most correctly transmitted messages wins.

Register to Play

The Rules
The game is played at both of the S shuttle stations in midtown, Manhattan (Times Square and Grand Central Station).

Half of the team is at one station, and the other half is at the other station.

The goal of the game is to transmit the most correct messages, communicating via only the travelers on the shuttle and colored beads. Shuttles leave approximately every 4-5 minutes during Saturday and Sunday daytime.

Each team will receive the same form with the following categories. Members of the same team will each have the same order of categories. Members of the opposing team will have the same categories, but in a different order. Some of the categories are more difficult than others:

  • Gender: Male/Female
  • Age: Child/Adult
  • Style: Jock/Nerd/Hipster/Suit
  • Status: Single/Dating or married
  • New Yorker?: New Yorker/Tourist
  • Clothing: Dress or skirt/Pants or shorts
  • Hair: Brown/Black/Blonde
  • Glasses: Glasses/No Glasses
  • Decide: Likes to shop/Likes music/Likes to read
  • Height: Short/tall
  • School: Still in school/out of school
  • Lives: Lives in Manhattan/outer borough
  • Politics: Democrat/Republican

Each team's form will then have one choice circled for each category. The choice is random. They may or may not be the same for the different teams, and they may or may not be the same for the other half of the team (since one half of the team goes to Times Square, the other goes to Grand Central, they will each have the same form, but with different things circled).

Each team will then need to use beads to signify to the other half of their team which of the choices were circled.

Each team will get two different colored beads. One will signifiy "yes, these are the people who have this characteristic." The other color will signify the negative, "these aren't the people who have this characteristic." Team members will need to note which colors are theirs, and which are positive or negative to figure out which choice was circled. The opposing team will also be "beading" travelers at the same time, and may have other beads to use.

Both teams will all begin at the same time, and the game runners will synchronize so that the teams know when to begin looking for and sending the beads.

After the sheet has been completed (i.e., enough shuttles have come in and guesses have been made), the teams will all meet in Grand Central, where the results will be tallied. The team that guessed the most right signals wins.

Notes: Both teams are both sending and receiving signals, so there are many instances where teams will have to both look for beads and also send off beads.

We will use colored beads that stand out, like red and blue, green and gold.

We will make sure that both teams aren't sending over the choice for the same category at the same time, so that they don't fight over travelers too much.

Once a traveler is beaded, they cannot be beaded by another team.

Team members can go on the subway to give out beads, but if they get stuck on the subway, they will get a penalty and automatically lose that round.

No team members are allowed to use any cell phones or any other communication devices.

Bio: Karen Schrier, Josh DeBonis, Liz Gorinsky
Karen Schrier is an executive producer at Scholastic and a doctoral student at Columbia University, where she studies games and learning. She also teaches at Parsons. Last year, she co-created the game, Priced Out, for Come Out and Play.

Josh DeBonis is a game designer and the president of Sortasoft, an indie game development studio he founded in 2004 for the purpose of creating unique and original games which focus on gameplay and creativity. Through Sortasoft he has self-published Funky Farm and Retro Records, and served as a game design and development consultant for numerous other game developers.

Liz Gorinsky edits speculative fiction books, volunteers with the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, and spends much of her time on the streets of New York City.

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