interference, the game

Eric Zimmerman and Nathalie Pozzi have created an innovative strategy game/event for museums and other public spaces. It’s called Interference.

The game is played on “Five suspended, superthin steel walls dotted with organic patterns resembling cell tissues.”

Here’s Eric’s description:

The game is played by pairs of opponents (there need to be at least two pairs of players). Each pair plays only on a small section of one of the walls – a “cell colony” which is centered on a special black piece. Your goal is to have more of your color pieces in each of the cells of your colony than your opponent.

Complicating this simple strategy game is the fact that each turn, you take pieces from other colonies – the active games of other players. And they are doing the same to you, creating chaos in your game as you are playing. Typically, Interference players begin to metagame heavily, striking deals with players in other pairs, and telling them which pieces to remove.

The result is a game that is at once satisfyingly strategic and maddeningly manic – both highly logical and highly social. A crowded game becomes a beehive of activity, as players race around to visit games on other walls, strategizing with and against each other, becoming allies and enemies with strangers.

Take a look:

I love this game for so many reasons:

  • It’s beautifully executed, most clearly museum-quality
  • It invites play: The rules are simple. They can be understood almost immediately.
  • It invites engagement with others. Because you “steal” pieces from other people’s games – and there are so many games going on at the same time – you can easily choose how confrontational you want to be. The further away you go to pillage your piece from someone else’s “cell,” the somewhat less likely it is that they’ll try to “metagame” a piece back from yours, while the more likely it is that someone else will find your abandoned game board of noteworthily accessible.
  • And, most important, it’s an invitation to community. Fun. In a museum. With strangers.

And one thing more. Perhaps even more important. As evidenced by the clip below:

  • It invites playfulness: You can, quite easily, if you are so moved, invent your own rules.

Eric adds: “That’s part of what I love about the amazing physical structures that Nathalie designs. They are so beautiful that you don’t really need to follow the proper game rules at all.”

Museums, event planners, game designers, artists, members of the playful public – take notice.

1 Comment

  1. Lily on July 3, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    It reminds me of a silent auction, with lower stakes of course. Strange analogy? Not really. Serious players will stay near their wall, monitoring for changes. Less serious players will float in and out. checking here or there to see if there are any changes, whimsically adding to those they want to.

    Love and laughter,

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