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!
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
- Pick a player to start as the Tagsassin.
- Everybody else goes to a hiding spot and "blends in."
- 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.
- The Tagsassin sneaks up on someone who is hidden and tags them, then tries to run to a different hiding spot and "blend in."
- Whoever is tagged must try to catch the Tagsassin before he blends in and hides again.
- If you catch the Tagsassin, you win, and can pick a new hiding space to begin again.
- 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
- Each player takes turns playing as either the jumper or the catcher. If there is only one player, they are the jumper.
- Players pick a Start (where jumpers will begin) and a Finish (where jumpers will try to reach without touching the ground.)
- The catcher waits on the ground near the starting point, and the jumpers get in position at the Start.
- The jumper tries to travel from Start to Finish without touching the ground - jumping over gaps, balancing on beams, climbing on monkey bars, etc.
- A catcher isn't allowed to interfere with a jumper unless they're touching the ground (or about to hit the ground).
- 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.
- If a catcher tags a jumper who's touched the ground, that jumper becomes a catcher.
- If a jumper reaches the Finish without touching the ground, they win.
- If the jumpers are all caught by the catcher, the catchers win.
- 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
- Pick two or more players to be the survivors for the first round.
- Pick one or more players to be the supermutants for the first round.
- One of the vault dwellers gets a water balloon (the "Pure Water") to start.
- Survivors cannot stand closer to each other than 5 feet.
- Supermutants can move wherever they want, but cannot touch survivors.
- Survivors take turns tossing the Pure Water to each other. They cannot hold the Pure Water for longer than 10 seconds.
- Supermutants try to catch or burst the Pure Water.
- If a supermutant catches or bursts the Pure Water, they win and can be a survivor in the next round.
- 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.
- Keep playing until you're out of water balloons, until you're thoroughly soaked, or until nuclear armageddon!