Week 6 - Prototypes and Rule sheet


This week we dive deep into the first design iteration of our games, I’m really excited to see the first prototypes!!

This is a moment in which we will take different routes, since we have very different ideas is important to acknowledge that some game will be easier to prototype that others, but it’s important that we start this process otherwise everything will be always floating in our heads and never become a game :slight_smile:

To start the first think that you can ask yourself is what is the core of my game, the most important interaction that will happen inside it?

Usually game are complex, with lot of different phases etc. but, if there is one single thing that is more important then others, then we should, for the first prototype, focus on that one.

The goal for this week is in fact to have a list of materials or a paper prototype, that everybody can look and read, plus a draft of a rule sheet of your game.

  1. list of materials or a printable jpg with all the materials (if these are cards, coins, or other similar prompts)

  2. a Rule sheet, aka the instructions to play test your game

It seems easy, but it’s actually a lot, especially the second part -the rule sheet- can take a lot of time.

See you for our session of read&comment Thursday Feb 27th at 3pm (CET), so please post the materials before that time or at that time, thanks!

p.s… if you’re not able to post in time, please share in a comment when you are going to post it so we can connect and read your materials at that time, thanks for respecting each other time :wink:

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UPDATE: Printable card file now included in the link section!

Hi everyone,

I have prototyped some cards and written a manual on how to use them. Since I am a bit tight on time (yes, writing the How to Play took a lot of time) I am not sure if I’ll manage to put the cards into a printable form before tomorrow. That’s why I include the two links down below:

Manual for :a meeting: (you should be able to comment inside the document)

List of Cards: document (there are three different sheets in there, see “decks” for the first draft of the Standard Deck)

Printable Cards: it is obviously a rough design, and a bit more empty cards for yellow/red/green and less for blue as stated in the manual

Looking forward to your responses and your prototypes!



Hello everyone!

@LeaLeroy @jyow and I present our first patch of our charcuterie board of urban games, this time taking inspiration from sports and, more specifically, balloons!

That being said, these selections of 4 small games require a different amount of multicolored balloons, from one (1) to at least five (5) differently colored balloons (the more the merrier!). Please find something suitable to playtest with!

Here is the rule sheet containing the 4 different games. #4 is the only one I could not come up with a name for, so if anyone has any suggestions for alliterated names, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you, and I look forward to playtesting everyone’s games!


Hello everyone!
i hope that you took Lizzie´s idea seriously and tested some spinning posts at the playground :smiley:

The model for Pocket park TiP installation has developed - from turning “stepping stones” there are added shades and more defined shapes of plates. The positions of shades and sitting (or stepping) plates are off-centre - this allows the structure to be different every single turn and people might explore (individually or together) the spinning system so that they can sit closer or create more shade when turning the poles in specific directions.

The circles are inserted for the “safety” reasons if anybody wants to stand up and hold the pole when spinning. But it symbolises also the windows-channels in between people sitting on the same plate. (it is supposed that children will use it throw objects through)

Here is an idea about the shades it might create

And here is an idea of the mobility of the plates

The levels vary to avoid collisions.

The position of the poles is only indicative - I have not thought about any specific composition. But I was thinking about a feature linked with local texts or signs (when the plates are turned into a specific position, a person might read a message - maybe something linked with the hiphop culture, in which JUMP is very active). I would really love to pay special attention to the visual aspect of the coating of this structure.

But we were thinking also about creating only frames and weaving local threads in it (this technique is often used for chairs in Burkina) or some natural material (especially for the shades).

Ladji proposes to work with dancers on some physical games with this structure (individual pole or whole installation) once it s installed. I cant wait they are back from their tour abroad.

This brings me to the fact that I dont have rule sheet for the structure (i have only expectation what the situation might develop). Might the rule be that there is no rule?

Have an excellent day!

Soly and Ladji

Hello everyone!!!
The name of my game is “BirdsEyeU” and it is an urban birding game.

Here is my List of Materials

And here is my Rules Sheet

I am currently in Spain and I play-tested with some friends the part of moving the tetrominos using the furniture in the accommodation I am staying. I wanted to test how difficult/easy would be to give the instructions by symbols and flags so I gave the rule not to speak. And I also wanted to see how complicated/easy were the puzzles I chose.

Feedback from playtest:
*Maybe I can create a grid on the ground floor with a tape so that it guides the movement of the tetrominos
*Maybe I can add a sign indicator for “Stop”
*Think about whether the next shape starts from the position of the last puzzle or do the players have to undo it so that they can more easily start from zero when thinking about solving the next puzzle. It will be more challenging if they must de-construct them in their heads and try to think about how they should be rotated to shape the next puzzle.
*When the players were asked about how they felt to receive the directions to move the tetrominos from the big bird: they said that they felt that they were collaborating and thought it was fun because they didn’t know what is exactly the desired shape-mystery.
*Think about what happens when the participants are becoming birds. The next puzzle will be solved by the winner of the last challenge, but then what are the roles of the birds that are already up? Do they divide the roles only? Is there another way to create more fun up there?


I don’t have permission to look at your document.

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Thank you for letting me know! It should be fixed now.

I think the idea of a card-generated playful meeting is really interesting! However, in your manual you only outline the steps leading up to the meeting & the meeting itself.

I think a good idea to consider implementing would be guidelines for how to end the meeting, and what to do after it to. A debrief of some sorts, or some practice that allows players to slowly exhale and leave the mindset of the meeting. A set of standard questions to ask each other, a conversational outline, a quick meditation, etc. Anything to help them simmer down from the possible emotions of the game and exit the experience with some semblance of reflection, because the game is all about reconsidering space.

I’m really looking forward to testing the cards themselves!

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Hello @KyrAvram thank you so much for you work!!
I added some comment on the doc, so I will not repeat myself here, I’m really excited about the play test phase!

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So far, I am very much enjoying the concept of your game. It seems to be coming along nicely! The different play styles is a nice touch and could lend for a variety of experiences, as well as the blank cards. I can see various players making up their own versions and each set will never completely match another.

I love the “Be water, my friend” sections. I think it is a wonderful way to suggest adaptability to the players without strictly stating it in the rules. It feels like a guideline and not a command.

There are some basic wording questions that I have had while reading your rules so I have left some suggestions! Feel free to adapt them as you see fit.

Thank you, and I look forward to a version I can print out and play!

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Hey you three,

I like the four games very much, reminding me a lot of my childhood, too! There are very easy to set up, and I feel like trying them out.

I was wondering about playing with balloons in the urban space, however. Since wind is a thing in the outside world, I was wondering if you plan to play them somewhat sheltered? There might be weather situations where this becomes impossible to play (if you do not have hyperspeed-superpowers).

On another note which is maybe a bit more general. Since we are specifically working on “urban games” I keep asking myself in what way the game that I am working on / playing is relating to the urban environment. Is it just about being playful in urban space? Or is there a dynamic between my activity and the environment that makes it meaningful encounter of these two parts? I was wondering if you have any thoughts on that. :slight_smile:


Hello @awhitney @LeaLeroy and @jyow, looking forward for colored play-test, just shared live, but i will do it also here, one balloon game that I play.

Balloon Blitz
for one (1) or more players
Inflate the balloon but don’t close it, release it into the air, (I suggest you aim for the sky) and try to catch it before it touches the ground.
If you play in more then one player, use helmet, your head will probably bump on each other (bonk!)


Hi Soly!

I’m interested to see where this goes! My only concern is that the top platforms could swing and hit someone in the head if they were tall enough. Is there a specific height to these that you were imagining? Are the upper plates necessary? I love the circles to hold on to! I think they look visually interesting.

Thank you for your post!

Hey Soly and Ladji,

thank your for putting the work into illustrating your visions. I get a much better picture now of what you are aiming at.

Thinking of what the instructions with this place could be: I am not 100% sure if they need that. To me the point of such an structure is that I don’t really know what it is there for – and this leaves me space to explore how I can interact with it.

Once this is standing, maybe there is a sort of metagame around that that could work. F.ex. you could gather a group and then give an instruction/a challenge on how to use the space: a) Try to use this structure as an eating place. How would you arrange the poles? b) Try to use this structure as a sleeping space. c) and so forth

Thanks! We chose the balloon as an entry point because our overall concept is a mini-festival of quick, playful experiences to introduce people to urban games. It’s far from the only thing that we’ll have on display! We are going to exhibit small games that exemplify different categories of urban games that we decided upon.

This is our “sports” prototype, and we think the natural elements will pose an interesting challenge for the game that (hopefully) won’t cause too many problems. We might need to come up with a sport alternative if the weather gets too bad, lol.

We’re also considering games with LARP elements, dexterity games, and various others that utilize the space in interesting ways. If you have any ideas for categories of games to consider, we’d love to hear it!

That’s a really good question! I can’t speak for Ally or Léa, but personally I think that defining urban games as games that can only occur in “urban” space is a little limiting to the genre. “Urban” literally means city, sure, but I think of it as a temporary label for a genre that is still being defined.

I think that the most important thing about an urban game is that it requires more space than a table, and that it forces players to reconsider how they move through that space. It’s about expanding the boundaries of the magic circle. I think we all agree that cities need to be kicked in the right playful direction, and that games are a good tool for it.

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Hi Marina!

While looking through your rules document, here are my thought that came up!

“8-12 players”
Is there a reason you should not go below 8? or above 12? These numbers seem pretty specific, when the model could work for at least 2 people (it may be a shorter game) or even 30 (a very long one)! Is there something you are imagining with this group size?

“(could be as simple as rock, paper scissors challenge but I have to explore ideas)”
I would consider building this into the system of the game instead of using an outside game to determine the big bird role. Something I think about a lot in my game design practice is whether an action is pulling people out of the game space (“magic circle”) and if I can keep them inside that at all times. If people go in and out of this magic circle, then their attention will be all over the place and they will potentially lose focus on your game. Perhaps there is a challenge built into interacting with the pieces the players built in some way? I think you will find this section of the game will feel smoother if you consider this!

“When passers-by sit on them, then their creation is embraced and the birds celebrate by taking a photo from above!”
Will players have to sit and wait until this occurs? Is there a back up plan for if no passersby want to disturb it? There is also a lack of consent to being photographed that these passersby may not know about, so how can that be considered into the design?

Overall I love where this is going and I look forward to seeing more soon! Thank you!

Hello @soly oly and welcome Ladji!
I like that the Trainee group is growing, thanks for joining!

I agree with you about the rules, since what you are building is open ended it doesn’t make sense to restrict it to specific activities, let the users decide which kind of games they want to play with it.

One thing that you should consider design-wise is the levels differentiation, (image number 5), since the poles will be in the ground and used to spin, they will probably get out of axes pretty soon, so this could end on them hitting each other and get stuck. If there is more space between the levels (both the platform and the shaders) or a way to move them up and down, you can avoid this jamming.

The idea of combining contemporary language (hiphop) and local techniques it’s amazing as well, it can make the design process intergenerational and create powerful interactions.

The only rotating system that I saw this days are our chairs here at the Lab, they are technically called Swivel chairs and this is the mechanism that they use to rotate, (here there is also a jolly granpa explaning how to convert a normal chair to a swivel one).

We keep looking!

Thank you everyone for your feedback so far! I will consider all your comments soon and upload a printable version of the cards by the beginning of next week. I will answer the comments in the document and leave them up in case you want to come back for the discussion.

My energies are rather low at the moment. I am moving this wekend, and I am going through a lot of griefing again, and I simply cannot concentrate anymore right now. I am sorry, @MarinaKy14 , that I could not properly look into your rules yet and I hope to do so tomorrow.

All the love!

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Hey @MarinaKy14, thanks for starting play-testing already, this is great!
I cannot edit or comment you google doc so I’m going to write here some suggestion about the rules sheet :slight_smile:

  • maybe there is a funnier and more in line rule to decide how starts being the bird (the last person that saw a living chicken/the last person finding a feather…)
  • I’m not sure about the bird - player dynamic, basically every time a puzzle is solved someone from the team goes up and the “puzzle solvers team” loses one person? So they have to ask for help now, is that correct?

One thing that also it fits with your imaginary (birds…) could be to give names to the different puzzles that you have, some of them reminds me of things, (the5th one is definitively a duck and the first one is a water gun?), it could be interesting to have the name showcased to the “puzzle solver team” before starting. This would add to the confusion, but they will also start imagining something in their head, which is good.

Plus, maybe there is a name for the team on the ground that make sense with your imaginary? I really love the picture of the pigeon, I think they are the best!

Hey @soly these designs are looking beautiful! I love the idea that it’s not only moving across the space but also manipulating the shade. The weaving and hiphop link also sound really great.

I didn’t see any play equipment with movement mechanisms this week in Lisbon, but I managed to find some photos online of the place I mentioned that I’d been to in England a little while back. They’re different solutions for crossing a space that require balancing…

Also I found a nice description of how the spinning mechanism in different styles of playground roundabouts work…