Modern Backyard Classics

The higher focus on active video games like DDR and Wii Sports make me happy that today's young gamer is experiencing something I never did at their age: exercise.

That's why I was delighted to see Brian Crecente's Backyard Adaptations Of Video Game Classics, a series of outdoors, active interpretations of classics like Pac-Man and Frogger. The one that really caught my interest was Katamari StickWithMe, which has many of the physical, group-coordination, and team-agnostic elements that I enjoy running in social games like Survive DC.

So with that in mind (and with a little egging on by Crecente himself), I decided to design a couple Backyard Adaptations, myself. As with any active game, be sure to be careful where and how you're playing - if someone gets hurt, everybody loses!

Tagsassin's Creed

Objective: Tag your target and get back to a safe hiding spot before they catch you!

Need: At least two players, and anyplace that has a lot of hiding spots. A hiding spot is anyplace between two similar objects within arm's reach - between two trees, two bookshelves, two swings, etc.

To Win: Catch the Tagsassin when he tags you.

Inspiration: Assassin's Creed

  1. Pick a player to start as the Tagsassin.
  2. Everybody else goes to a hiding spot and "blends in."

  1. At a hiding spot, you can "blend in" by taking a pose like the two items you're hiding between - if you're between two rocks, you might curl up like a rock; if you're between two trees, you might stand up straight with your arms out like a tree.
  2. The Tagsassin sneaks up on someone who is hidden and tags them, then tries to run to a different hiding spot and "blend in."
  3. Whoever is tagged must try to catch the Tagsassin before he blends in and hides again.
  4. If you catch the Tagsassin, you win, and can pick a new hiding space to begin again.
  5. If the Tagsassin gets away, you are the new Tagsassin, and must pick a new player to tag.

Prince of Playground

Objective: Take turns jumping, climbing, and balancing your way along a path without touching the ground.

Need: A playground or other suitable series of large objects for climbing and balancing, like tree stumps, logs, large rocks, sturdy furniture, etc.

To Win: Successfully travel from the start to the finish without touching the ground, or successfully catch someone who falls to the ground.

Inspiration: Prince of Persia

  1. Each player takes turns playing as either the jumper or the catcher. If there is only one player, they are the jumper.
  2. Players pick a Start (where jumpers will begin) and a Finish (where jumpers will try to reach without touching the ground.)
  3. The catcher waits on the ground near the starting point, and the jumpers get in position at the Start.

  1. The jumper tries to travel from Start to Finish without touching the ground - jumping over gaps, balancing on beams, climbing on monkey bars, etc.
  2. A catcher isn't allowed to interfere with a jumper unless they're touching the ground (or about to hit the ground).
  3. If a jumper touches the ground, they have to run back to the Start before a catcher tags them. If they make it back to the Start, they can begin again from there.
  4. If a catcher tags a jumper who's touched the ground, that jumper becomes a catcher.
  5. If a jumper reaches the Finish without touching the ground, they win.
  6. If the jumpers are all caught by the catcher, the catchers win.
  7. Play again, taking turns as jumper and catcher!

Mutant in the Middle

Objective: Toss a water balloon between the vault dwellers without letting the supermutant get it.

Need: At least two friends, and some water balloons (full, but not too full!).

To Win: Keep the water balloon from breaking for as long as you can!

Inspiration: Fallout 3

  1. Pick two or more players to be the survivors for the first round.
  2. Pick one or more players to be the supermutants for the first round.
  3. One of the vault dwellers gets a water balloon (the "Pure Water") to start.

  1. Survivors cannot stand closer to each other than 5 feet.
  2. Supermutants can move wherever they want, but cannot touch survivors.
  3. Survivors take turns tossing the Pure Water to each other. They cannot hold the Pure Water for longer than 10 seconds.
  4. Supermutants try to catch or burst the Pure Water.
  5. If a supermutant catches or bursts the Pure Water, they win and can be a survivor in the next round.
  6. If the Pure Water bursts when a survivor throws or catches it, without a supermutant touching it, then all of the survivors swap with all of the supermutants for the next round.
  7. Keep playing until you're out of water balloons, until you're thoroughly soaked, or until nuclear armageddon!