Games for Dorset Park

In July 2016, Hand Eye Society ran a series of outdoor weekend workshops in Dorset Park, Scarborough. Fourteen kids worked with a group of game artists to learn about game design, and ultimately design their own games, which we’ve written up here.

The Designers

Annie, Anojan, Arojan, Amy, Baseem, Dorothy, Ethan, George, Kahzmir, Leena, Mathushan, Mohamed, Omar, Raymond & Tahim

The Facilitators

Laura Barrett, David Fono, Jesse Gazic, Alexander Martin, Damian Sommer

This all happened with Animating Toronto Parks funding, thanks to
Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation.

The Games

Roofball

Forest Monsters

Ghost Bells

Turtle Totter

Tree Ball

No-Move Soccer

Quicksand Tag

Meep and Go Meep

Secret Tag

RoofBall

A game for 2-6 players, beside the gazebo. Bounce a ball back and forth across a roof, but it might not go where you expect!

Rules

 

Get a soccer ball, volleyball or beach ball. Divide into two teams.

The court is divided into 3 adjacent zones (see diagram). The zones at either end belong to each of the teams. The zone in the middle is the shared zone. Players can move around within their team’s zone as well as the shared zone.

Play begins with a player serving the ball by throwing it onto the roof. Their goal is to make it bounce and then land in either the other team’s zone or the neutral zone. If the ball lands in either of these zones, the serving team scores a point. If the ball lands outside of these zones, or does not bounce off the roof, the ball is “out” and receiving team scores a point. If the ball is caught by someone on the receiving team, no one scores, and play continues with the receiving team taking their own shot by throwing the ball back onto the roof.

Passing between players on the same team is allowed.

NOTE: If you’re playing 1 vs 1, get rid of the shared zone, and play with only two zones right next to each other.

Turtle Totter

A game for 3-4 players, in the playground. Balance turtles while a teeter totter balances you!

Rules

 

Go to the teeter totter. Divide the players into Turtle Masters and Rockers. There must be 2 Turtle Masters, and the remaining players are Rockers.

Turtle Masters must bring or find their “turtle” — this may be any small, flat object that can sit on the back of your hand, like a stone or a bottle cap.

Turtle Masters stand on the teeter totter’s bar, with one foot touching (but not on) the center square, and the other foot stretched towards the end of the bar. They then put their turtle on the back of one of their hands.

When the game begins, the Rockers try to shake the teeter totter so that the Turtle Masters fall. They can do so however they like, as long as they don’t touch the Turtle Masters. If any of the Turtle Master’s feet touch the ground before either Turtle Master wins, the Rockers win.

Meanwhile, the Turtle Masters try to knock each other’s turtles off of their hands. They cannot touch the teeter totter or their own turtle. The only contact they can make with the other Turtle Master is hitting their hand that holds the turtle. If their turtle falls, the other Turtle Master wins.

Quicksand Tag

A game for 3+ players, in the playground. Run for your life and stay off the ground!

Rules

 

Start by choosing a player to be “it”. If the “it” player tags another player, they become “it” instead.

If you’re not “it”, you can only stand on the ground for 5 seconds. When you touch the ground, start counting. After 5 seconds, you must freeze in place for another 5 seconds — after this, you’re free to move. If you get off the ground before the 5 seconds are up, you’re okay.

If you’re not “it”, the only way you can drop onto the ground from anywhere else is by going down a slide. If you step onto the ground from anywhere except a slide, you must stop where you land and freeze for 5 seconds.

The game ends when everyone decides it has ended.

Forest Monsters

A game for 5+ players, in the northwest corner of the park. Collect twig monsters and send them off to battle!

Rules

 

Every player’s first goal is to start finding twigs (aka Monsters) on the ground — the longer the better. Snapping twigs off of trees or bushes is not allowed. 

Once you have one or more Monsters, you can tag another player who also has Monsters to challenge them to a battle.

In a battle, each player secretly chooses a Monster from their collection. They then present their chosen Monster to each other at the same time. The longer Monster (twig) wins the battle. The winning player snaps this Monster in half, as close to the middle as possible. Finally, the winning player spins around the number of times they have won a battle — one spin after their first win, two spins after their second, etc.

Also, if someone is involved in a battle, you can’t challenge them until that battle is complete.

The game ends when someone wins 5 battles.

Tree Ball

A game for 4+ players, in the northwest corner of the park. A fast, simple sport for a place with trees.

Rules

 

Get a soccer ball, volleyball, or something similar. Divide into two teams.

Each team chooses a tree. This is their goal.

Choose a player from one team to start with the ball. They start touching their team’s tree.

To score a point, hit the opposing team’s tree with the ball. After scoring, a player on the defending team takes possession of the ball and starts touching their tree.

When you have the ball, you can only take 3 steps. After this, you must pass or shoot. You can handle the ball however you like, and there is no penalty for the ball touching the ground. Once someone has the ball, it cannot be stolen by other team except via an interception. Physical contact between players is not allowed.

Play to 5 points, or more if you feel like it.

Meep and Go Meep

A game of for 4+ players, in the northwest corner of the park. Meep your team’s meep, but make sure to meep the other team before they meep you.

Rules

 

Divide into two teams. Each team chooses a small, easily identifiable object to hide.

Teams take turn hiding their objects, while the other team keeps their eyes closed. They have 20 seconds to hide their object. Once both teams have done this, the game begins.

The goal for each team is to the first to find the opposing team’s hidden object. However, there’s a catch: while searching, the players on a team must remain linked by holding hands, and can only communicate using their word “meep”. No other spoken language is allowed.

The game ends when one team has found the other’s hidden object.

Ghost Bells

A game for 3-4 players in the playground.

Rules

 

Pick one player to be the Ghost King and 2-3 players to be the Mischievous Teens. Find two objects to use as bells and go to the playground. Place the bells in the two corners of the playground closest to the swingset. The Teens start at the “front doors” (the teeter-totter), while the King starts in the middle of the playground.

The Teens attempt to take a bell and bring it to the highest point of the playground (to banish the Ghost King from his castle). The King tries to tag the Teens and continue to haunt his castle for eternity.

If the King tags a Teen who has a bell, the Teen must return it to its original location, circle the playground, and re-enter through the front doors. If the Teen does not have a bell, that Teen is out. The King must stay at ground level, but can tag any Teens he can reach.

The Teens win if they get both bells to the top of the castle. The King wins if he tags out every Teen, or if the game lasts longer than two minutes.

Secret Tag

A game for any number of players in a place you would play tag.

Rules

 

This is tag, with a single twist. Find a small object that you can comfortably fit into the palm of your hand. Before starting the game, everyone closes their eyes — someone (who isn’t playing) must now secretly put the object into one player’s hand. This player is “it”, and in order to tag someone else and make them it, they must sneak up on another player and slip the object into their hand. The person who becomes it must not react in any way. In addition, any communication about who is it is forbidden, including pointing, gesturing, or shouting “That person is it!”

No-Move Soccer

A game for 6+ players in an open, grassy space.

Rules

 

Set up markers for goalposts and divide into two teams.

The game is played like soccer with some variations. Players on the field must remain stationary, while the goalkeeper can move only between the goalposts. Players may pivot and kick the ball to reach the other team’s goal. If the ball travels out of reach of any player, all players can take one hop to reach it. If no players can reach the ball, hop again.

Play until one team scores three points, or until your legs get tired.