Nomadic Branch Week 4 - Framework and location


This week we will try to create a framework, a starting point for our design and location scouting.

Framework: starting from the ideas that you shared here, see if something already emerge that is fixed and you are sure you want to explore.
It could be that you know the kind of game that you want to do (a card game, a street game…) but also things that you don’t want (I don’t want to much noise in my game!).
Other questions: duration and participants, “how long is your game? weeks or minutes?” and also it requires you to run it or is out-of the box? Who are the people you think will participate/see your game? What is the kind of experience that you want them to have?

Try to synthesize your thoughts and have maximum 3 sentences.

The second part of the post is about location scouting.
While this will change, try to give yourself an afternoon to go out and wander in an area that you think could be interesting for your game.
Look at it with your most curious eyes, stop, write down something, ask information, if you feel comfortable take pictures.

Thanks for sharing! See you for our session of read&comment Thursday Feb 13th at 3pm (CET).

Framework for us! Please read during the meeting and comment :smiley:

A portable yarn maze full of playable artefacts and questions for 2 or more people - curated or deployable pack.

‘Pick the colour you are today, and follow me…. you think it’s all yours from start to finish… Now look again…’

An experience that makes you feel part of something larger than yourself.

Yarn path prototype to get the feel for it

Maze walls prototype to get the feel for it


city squares? they seem great and would attract a lot of attention…permission is a tricky one in London.
parks? they are a bit more hidden but this would definitely work in a park - bamboo sticks sink into the ground!
‘public’ spaces outside of train stations…how do you invite people to play? that really depends on the space and if you are ‘allowed’ to set up a game there. A sign that says ‘pick a colour/what colour are you?’ For some reason we do love spaces near train stations because there is so much traffic and everyone is using that space for various reasons all on top of each other

This is Liverpool St station…

Looking forward to watching the meeting and feeding back!


Hello! The MICA team (@jyow and @LeaLeroy and I) discussed some basic framework ideas and this is what we came up with! They may extend their own thoughts on this, of course.

We want to make a sort of charcuterie board of quick and simple versions of various styles of urban games, and potentially hold a festival of our own around the MICA campus. The three of us have experience in a couple of different types, and this could also serve as a learning experience to research other styles! By focusing on small games, we believe we can make nice, tailored experiences that can be exchanged and dropped into a multitude of situations, and serve as a sort of taster for those unfamiliar with the genre.

In terms of locations, I scouted out a plaza over by the University of Baltimore (UB), which is a short walk (~5-15 minutes?) from the MICA campus. I like the flow of the space for setting up booth like sections. The area gets a decent amount of foot traffic, so if we set up there people could stop by and play some games! This may be dreaming too big for the time I have, but I would love to go to the other schools around here and get some other projects involved in this potential festival.

There is another location that I have in mind, but unfortunately did not get pictures of. On MICA campus we have a grassy spot called Cohen Plaza that MICA holds a lot of events on. It is not as big as the UB plaza, and would only be readily accessible to people on MICA campus, but is still a nice spot to host events! Here is an image found online of Cohen Plaza.

I look forward to seeing everyone’s posts, and talking tomorrow! Have a lovely night!


The themes I want to explore is limits / visible&invisible / collaboration

Borders Bore Me:
Starting with this phrase, I would like to create a game that gives the opportunity to players to explore physically and play around some vertical limits and borders of the city. More specifically I want to take advantage of the height difference between buildings and the height difference between a rooftop and the street level. (the photos from the location scouting will explain my inspiration for this).
I would like to have two teams co-creating some shapes inspired by the matchstick puzzles or something similar. So the one team will be following directions to create the shapes (made of big long objects maybe) and the team who is able to observe from above will give the directions to solve the puzzle.
This would be the mission of the players but still need to think of how it could be more fun. I would also like to introduce moments in the game that have to do with observation and interaction with the actual location. I initially thought of creating a card game to give guidelines/instructions to the players but I am now flirting with the idea of creating a social media account to do that. Instagram/ twitter will allow the sharing of photos in real time in order to move forward to the game. If anyone has something to suggest please do! Since I do not want this game to be 100% exclusive to people with smartphones and social media experts I want to add some objects in the game (e.g.binoculars, megaphone). I think it requires more than one person to facilitate but I guess I will have to do some playtest in order to say how this could work.
I think that it should be a game that lasts between 60-90 minutes! Number of participants : 10-20 people in 2 teams (not equal number in the 2 teams). It is a game that needs to be organised in advance and invite players to register. But I would also like to create conditions for interaction with passers-by.

Location Scouting:
This is an illustration of the old town of Nicosia, my city and capital city of the island of Cyprus. You do not see it in this illustration but there is a border dividing the city in 2 : in the North lives the turkish speaking community and in the south lives the greek speaking community. I would love to play around the different borders/limits in the city and take advantage of the different heights and levels. Initially I said I wanted to create a game to be played on rooftops but I want to expand it in creating a game that can be played in locations that have height difference. Thus there can be an interesting playful experience between players being at the lower level and players being at the higher level.

In the last photo above the upper level of the Fortification is part of the occupied area and the lower level is part of the independent part of Cyprus. So I would really love to create a game that creates a collaboration between the two sides and two levels.
This site is very specific to my town but I would love to do something that could be played in other cities as well. So, I would love to create a game that can be played in any location with height difference where one team can be the observers from above (on a rooftop) and the other team can be at the street level or on a rooftop that is lower.


I love your idea for a maze game since the beginning…And the yarn path with different colors could also become a unique installation to trigger some questions and create another layer of interaction between the participants and the space.
I do agree that train station plazas are interesting urban spaces and it would be nice to explore some of them in London and check what kind of vertical elements are already there for you to use as supports to create your maze…

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I think it’s a nice idea to create a festival and take advantage of the fact that you are all together in the same university and you alla have different styles and things to bring in the project…looking forward to seeing your examples of games you are thinking about…

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Hi @BagelandBalloon! I love the prototyping you are doing and have a few questions for you.

Curated would mean that you have a structured system set up that players could hop right into, correct? So what would a deployable pack be? A take home version that players set up themselves? Can you elaborate on how you are thinking that would be designed? I am not sure if people would be willing to create an elaborate string maze on their own, but I could be wrong!

I am curious what the small wheel symbol on the scrap of paper represents. Are you thinking of having smaller interventions at these points?

If a space like a train station gets a lot of foot traffic, how large are you thinking this yarn maze would be? You might get some push back if it is too large and in the way of unwilling passerby’s, but I imagine a larger scale journey would feel nicer in the game? I tricky dilemma, but I agree that setting up in those types of public spaces is wonderful and tempting.

Thank you for posting your thoughts thus far!

Hey Bagel + Balloon!
Would it be feasible for you to guide players from a more traffic-y area to one better suited to the game? (Like using the maze structure of yarn+sticks to lure players from the area outside a train station towards a park) I think that facilitating directly outside a train station would be tricky because a even though they get a lot of foot traffic, you may not get many participants depending on how long your game takes to play + the train schedule.

I’m really curious about this! How are you planning on presenting those artifacts/questions to the player? It sounds like you’ll have a facilitator there for the players to follow (I could be misinterpreting though) so it’s possible for the facilitator to be the one to hand the interventions to the players. However, as this is a maze, be careful to make sure that the players’ sense of agency is preserved. If they feel they’re being railroaded through the maze and questions it won’t feel like a maze so much as a guided tour. Mazes are all about following where your choices lead you, so it would be cool to see that reflected in the way the players interact with artifacts.


Hi Marina! I really enjoy the idea of playing with different height in structures and also with distance between teams. This could create some interesting dynamics of play! I’m imagining communication not just with a megaphone, but with body language and symbols to aid (or get in the way of) puzzle solving.

I would think about the knowledge each team has access to, and play with that in interesting ways to have a greater interplay between teams. I think that would be more interesting than one team solving the puzzle on their own and just telling the other team what to do. The teams should need each other to succeed! That could look like hidden information on the side of the taller structure that only the people below can see, or perhaps both teams have activities they need to do in tandem with the other team?

I am looking forward to where you will go next! Thank you!
~ Ally

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Hello Bagel + Balloon!
I’ve just finished to read a book about labyrinth and mazes so I’m all immersed on that (Henry Elliot’s Follow this thread) - btw I don’t know if I liked it - anyway!
I really love the idea of a pack or a out-of-the-box maze that could change temporarily the shape and function of a public space, sometimes this kind of devices could become theatrical machines and be the excuse for some sort of street performance as well (this is the wrong example but I love tennis)

Since spaces like the picture above, are strongly functional, in the sense that the majority of people is literally running to catch a train, probably it will need a lot of negotiation in order to block walking flows, or security exit and escape routes, which is a very meaningful conversation to have and raise.

Maybe the other thought that stick with me reading the above mentioned book, is that labyrinth are also a place of illusion and self-discovery. Like we use physical limitation to discover new places inside our mind…so it made me think that the labyrinth is already around us but it’s not physical? Maybe a labyrinth is a mind-space that with the help of your game, we can reach?

In the ARG tradition there is a lot of hidden information, in-plain-sight clue, that could make you enter another layer of reality (The Jejeune Institute)

In term of physical labyrinth I remember a Minotaur game by HideandSeek in a Festival in Edinburgh but I cannot locate the link ;(

Looking forward to reading your next steps!

Hello @MarinaKy14!
Your starting point is really interesting and reading trough the post I was keeping thinking about the concept of opposites and double.
In term of puzzle you made me think about Tangram (Tangram - Wikipedia), we have a copy here at the lab and one version of it that I think is interesting is similar to the one you are planning, so one person will move the pieces and the other is giving instructions, since the pieces are hard to name, and understand rotation, is a giant exercise on communication and deep listening.

Also, another level of opposite is language in your case, I wonder if these two teams have to communicate in a new random language from the future.
I really love also the idea of having the game playable everywhere there is a difference of height (or problem of communication :))

Hey folks, sorry for coming late to the party. I was caught up in work and viewing apartments.

I will simply go ahead and share some of my notes (in a more orderly fashion) with you. The list of cards is very small still since I haven’t given it much thought yet (and was more collecting stuff I came across and where I felt it was worthy taking a not).

I have not yet scouted a location (I was a bit tight on time and the weather was also extremley bad, that means stormy). The game itself is also quite non-specific in terms of location, so it would be rather a matter of choosing interesting neighbourhoods. I’ll update this post soon.


[catchy title] is a card-toolbox for two (or more) people to playfully explore and reflect the relationship between the participants, and their relationship to their social and urban environment. The cards enable the participants to spontaneously design an adventure to dive into the vibrant everyday life of a city that can last between 1 hour and 4 hours. [catchy title] can be used and played by anybody who likes to walk on the edge of what is regarded as proper behaviour in public space.

Card Ideas

  • Go on a blindfolded walk
  • walking backwards
  • taking pictures
  • drawing/painting with chalk
  • rearranging objects

Card Types

  • places: defines where a part happens
  • activities: defines what happens
  • time: defines the duration
  • focus: defines a focus of a part


Version 1

  1. Meet up.
  2. Shuffle the different piles (each type is one pile).
  3. Each player draws 4 cards of each pile.
  4. Taking turns in playing or discarding a card.
  5. As soon as the layout of the meeting is defined, each part is put in an envelope. Write the number of the part on the envelope.
  6. Start the journey.

Hello MICA team!

Knowing the square probably it will be useful to think about a sort of Iconic landmark, that can identify the fact that there is a mini-festival going on, I remember when we did the Basilicata Border Games how crucial was to be visible, open for discussion, criticism and negotiations.
Also it could make sense to think about a weekly or monthly appointment, (sandbox) more then a single shot, having less stress on the single day but allowing yourself to create a community of aficionados (we are doing a Festival vs we meet every week and we play games).
As a vegetarian that was born and raised in the region where we kill the higher number of pigs in Italy, - w the result of one the best selection of charcuterie in the world - I love the concept of tasting multiple things at once, and I’m grateful that instead of meat we will have small bites of fun!


I like the word “meeting” a lot, maybe is part of you [catchy title]? :slight_smile:

If you’re interested here is a repository (in Italian but Google Translate could help you) of almost 400 urban tasks that the community of CriticalCity Upload developed along the course of 5 years.

But I love the level of randomness that your design has, I think it make the experience easier to enter and every time unique.

Looking forward!

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Thank you for your feedback and the ressource. My Italian is very basic, so I will probably find a friend who can help me translate (in case I don’t get far with algorithmic translations).

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I really like what you have here! I think this is a great start to a fun experience with friends.

What stands out right away as a concern is the idea of a blindfolded walk. In a city, this could be disastrous, but I like the concept! I would be sure to include safety guidelines and perhaps even tell the other players to walk around the blindfolded player to make sure they don’t get themselves hurt.

Other than that, I think you are on to something! I am interesting in seeing the type of activities you come up with.

Thank you!

The blindfold walk would mean that only one person is blindfolded and the other guides them around (eventually switching roles). :slight_smile:

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That’s good to hear. I expected there to be some guidelines for that but I wanted to make sure!

thank you @awhitney for your comment. I agree with you that I need to think on how there can be more involvement of both teams so that to avoid that the one simply follows the instructions of the other. There is indeed the possibility of providing different information to the teams that will be hidden from one another and create an interdependence between them in order to advance in the game.

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Hi @matteo_uguzzoni ! Thank you a lot for your comment, I love the reference of Tangram and you are right that it would be more fun to give instruction on how to rotate them since they are all so different. And it has that symbolic aspect of juxtaposing different/opposite things to solve the puzzle.
I also love your comment about the language/communication barrier… It is indeed one of the inspirations for me. Here you can see I project I co-facilitated with the Urban Gorillas, a collective I am a member of: In-communicado Project
Could you provide more information on the concept of opposites and double?

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