The evolution of Evolution

I was recently contacted by Dale Le Fevre, a colleague of mine from the days of the New Games Foundation and proprietor of Dale Le Fevre's New Games, who, in turn, was recently contacted by Rabbi Rachel Brown of B'nai Jacob Congregation, who was trying to remember how to play a game that involved eggs, chickens, dinosaurs and rock/paper/scissors. She wrote:
"I remember playing this game, but I cannot remember the specifics. I think everyone started out the same, and you went around greeting people and making some sort of predetermined sound or movement, and if you did the same sound, something happened, and if you made different ones, something else happened (one person would go on to a "higher" form, the other would remain). It was really funny when people started singing "Stop! In the name of love.."
Dale wrote me, and I, of course, took up the challenge with alacrity and stuff. My exhaustive research led me to the Ultimate Camp Resource, which described a game they called "Evolution," played as follows:
Have the group in a circle. Everyone starts out as an egg and places their hands above their head and together so that they look like an egg. When you say go each person will find another egg. Once they found that person they will then farkle (Rock, Paper , Scissors). The loser stays an egg and the winner becomes a chicken, placing their arms as wings and making chicken noises. The chicken then looks for another chicken while the egg looks for another egg. When you win as a chicken you become a dinosaur, placing your hands out and roaring like a dinosaur. If you lose as a chicken you drop back down to an egg. Dinosaurs then find other dinosaurs, where they will play to become the ultimate people. Ultimate people put their hands over their heads like superman and look for others like them. If you lose as a dinosaur you go back to being a chicken, looking for other chickens. If the Ultimate person loses to another Ultimate person they go back to a dinosaur, and if they win they stay as ultimate people.
I wrote her back with my find. She expressed gratitude mixed with some minor disappointment, because she remembered the delight of everyone singing "Stop in the Name of Love" at the end of the game. I responded:
There could be different games for the evolution - rock scissors paper, or Bear, Hunter, Princess, even; then maybe odds and evens, maybe start out with thumb wrestling. Or how about a team version of Rock/Scissors - like Panther, Person, Porcupine? When you lose, you join the other side. We could call it "co-evolution." O, so much to play with.
Later on, I discovered that Evolution was also a popular theater game. But, of course.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith


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Blogger Rick Hamrick said...

Bernie, here's an easy way to get from the game you found to the memory Dale holds.

When two Ultimate people compete, the winner becomes a Supreme Being.

Obviously, a Supreme *should* sing "Stop, In the Name of Love," don't you think?

Blogger Roger said...

My introduction to Evolution was a brilliantly evolved version Evolution in which those who reached the most highly evolved stage drop out of the game and become singers of Old MacDonald had a Farm which fits quite well with all those chickens and dinosaurs running around.

From a game design aspect this tweak at the end is a stroke of brilliance. Without this tweak it is a thinly disguised elimination game where the so-called 'winners' hang around with nothing much to do except jeer at the 'losers'. The singing changes everything...

For the first lone singer it can seem like a forfeit (even though they have 'won') but as the singing chorus grows the whole game rises to a wonderful crescendo - or (almost as wonderful) - ends with a mixture of exhausted singers and exhausted eggs.

Roger Greenaway


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