DCGames Fest 2012's Games Are a Go!

Thanks again to everyone who submitted games to the second DCGames Fest. We were honored to chose from such a talented group and are thrilled to finally make public some of the games we'll be playing at our September 1 festival!

Without further ado, here's the urban games we're inviting you to play at West Potomac Park.


Moralityball is inspired by the prisoner's dilemma and the tragedy of the commons , blending in elements of flag football and capture-the-flag. Any game of Moralityball can be won by *all* players simultaneously, but only if they cooperate perfectly. In practice, it never quite works out that easily.

"It's so rare for game designers to have room for their players to run around! There's still a lot of untapped potential in big, active, athletic games. That really interests me, and that's what I'm trying to tackle with my game," said designer E. McNeill. "Moralityball goes to show that you can make big games with strategy and a message while still having a lot of simple, physical fun. It's an active game, but it's also a thinking game, and both kids and adults can fully appreciate it."

Rule Rundown: The rules of Moralityball establish a complicated and intense interpersonal dynamic. Three tennis balls for each player are placed in the middle of the field. Players are tasked with transferring balls to their base, carrying just one at a time, by picking up tennis balls from the center pile or from the bases of other players, which is usually easier. The goal of the game is to have at least three tennis balls inside your base at the end of the game.

Each player wears a flag football belt. At any time, players may rip off another player's flag, which must immediately be dropped on the ground. If a player's flag is ripped off, the player must immediately drop their tennis ball (if they are carrying one), carry the flag back to his or her base, and reattach it before continuing to play, allowing players to defend their bases.

All players who meet the goal of three or more tennis balls at their base officially win the game and are given a small reward (e.g., a piece of candy).

Memorial Dash

Grab your smartphone and get ready for a race around the Tidal Basin in this mobile scavenger hunt. Players will be led to locations around West Potomac Park as they unlock clues on their smartphone by taking pictures of stickers, markers or objects. The team or individual who reaches the last location first wins.


Staccato is a two-on-two playground game of strategy and finesse where the goal is to score more points than your opponents.

Rule Rundown: The game is broken down into two roles: offense and defense. Offense consists of strategically moving and passing the ball around the perimeter of the court in an effort to score points. On defense, players do their best to defend the goal from being scored on. The catch is that defenders are only allowed to move when the ball is in motion.

Each team will have one minute to try their best at each role, and whoever comes out scoring the most points wins!

Humans vs. Mosquitos

Humans vs. Mosquitoes is a physical field game where players are divided into two teams: humans and mosquitoes. The humans attempt to defeat the mosquitoes by clearing out their breeding grounds while the mosquitoes attempt to defeat the humans by depleting their blood supply.

"Humans vs. Mosquitoes represents active learning. There’s a life lesson embedded in the strategic physical play. Players run around avoiding and attacking each other, embodying the plight of humans in times and places plagued by a vector borne disease," Lien Tran, one of the game's creators, said. "Originally designed as a teaching tool for Red Cross volunteers to teach school children, the game has been enjoyed by people of all ages in both formal and informal settings."

Rule Rundown: Each team is designated a side of the field with their safety zone at the far ends of the field. In the game, eggs and human blood are interchangeably represented by an object (a ball or card). Over the course of a round, each human may try and remove a "mosquito egg" from a breeding ground without getting "bitten" (or tagged) by a mosquito, and each mosquito may attempt to lay an "egg" in an existing breeding ground or "bite" (tag) a human. A human is eliminated from the game if he or she has no more units of “blood”. A mosquito is eliminated when a breeding ground is completely cleared of eggs.

Created by graduate students and faculty at Yale University and Parsons The New School for Design, Humans vs. Mosquitoes was designed for Red Cross Red Crescent to use in the field and teach children about vector-borne diseases and climate change. This game shows both kids and adults how mosquitoes can spread diseases, how climate change will intensify mosquito-borne diseases and how humans have the power to collaboratively tackle these problems.

Humans vs. Zombies

Humans vs. Zombies is a game of moderated tag played at schools, camps, neighborhoods, military bases and conventions across the world. Human players must remain vigilant and defend themselves with socks and dart blasters to avoid being tagged by a growing zombie horde.

"We're very excited to run Humans vs. Zombies at the DCGames Festival, and it has always been a dream to play on the mall with players of all ages and sizes," said Joe Sklover, founder of Gnarwhal Studios, which designed Humans vs. Zombies.

Rule Rundown: All players start as humans, except for the original zombies, who are randomly chosen at the beginning of the game. Zombies wear bandannas on their heads; humans wear bandannas on their arms. When a human is tagged they move their bandanna from their arm to their head. When a zombie is stunned with a sock or dart launcher they are out of the game for 10 minutes.


Running yourself ragged on a field not your thing? Then flex your creative muscle in the collaborative storytelling game Story-Go-Round, designed by Jane Friedhoff, Kelly Tierney and Mike Susol. Story-Go-Round challenges players to solve problems creatively with just the things, places and people physically around them.

Rule Rundown: Players work together to create a deck of real 'usable' that might be handy in a disaster. They're then given a disaster type—anything from zombie apocalypses, giant llamas and world-dominating robots—and an ETA for when it would occur. After being dealt a limited number of cards, players share and strategize about their items to create a spontaneous, unusual and often insightful (and ridiculous) story about how they'd survive.

Tug-of-War (but definitely not the kind you're thinking of!)

Using three different colors of balloons (red for Republican, blue for Democrat and white for Independent), Tug-of-War will attempt to gauge the political leanings of DCGames festivalgoers. Just like a traditional tug-of-war that uses a rope, this game will have a flag in the middle that will be pulled toward either a conservative side or a liberal side, depending on which has the most balloons. The results will be announced to attendees at the end of the day.

"With the upcoming presidential election, I thought it would be interesting to formulate a sculptural installation that not only represents the colors of the American flag, but also creates a visually compelling representation of real time political polling," said designer Mike Minadeo. "Everybody loves balloons, and tug-of-war is a fun game that uses balloons to fill a large outdoor space in a creative, colorful and interactive way."

Rule Rundown: As they enter the DCGames registration area, participants who are of voting age will be given a voting ballot with a series of questions and asked to choose a balloon based on their political beliefs. They will attach their balloons on the side of the rope that they feel they most identify with and will be encouraged to write their own personal feelings about the American voting process on their balloon.

The Game of Posts

With the ambitious goal of creating a game that will revitalize sandlot sports in the U.S., the Game of Posts can best be understood as a form of cricket that's played every-man-for-himself.

"The sad truth is that with video games, the Internet and social media, it's just about impossible to get 18 people together to play a game of baseball. At the height of sandlot sport in the early/mid-1900s, this wasn't an issue. In 2012, it is," Game of Posts creator James Lomuscio wrote in his submission to DCGames.

Rule Rundown: Players are either batters or fielders. Two players are always up at bat, one at each of two "posts," and they attempt to score runs by tapping their bats to the posts on the field.

When a batter is holding his bat against a post, the post are safe. When the player lets go, in order to try and score another run, the Post can be "closed" if it's hit with the ball. When a Post is closed during the game, both batters rush to the remaining open Post (though one player is usually very close by), and whoever doesn't make it is out. A new batter takes the vacated batting spot, and resumes play.

If a player gets out, he or she loses all of the runs scored, and the next batter steals them. In order to keep runs, a player must "declare" them and announce that they are ending the batting voluntarily, and keeping the runs he's scored to himself. The next batter inherits an "empty bat" with no runs, and he'll start from scratch.

With each of these Declarations of runs, the game ticks closer to its conclusion. After a set number of declarations (equal to the number of players plus one), the game is over.


We're putting on our best TV infomercial voice when we say, "But that's not all!" We've got a few other additions in the works, including short-form improv and games designed specifically for kids. Keep an eye on our webpage and social media channels (Facebook and Twitter at @DCGamesFest).

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