After months of work with Nathalie Pozzi, Flatlands is now live and open to the public. These photos showcase the amazing work by Nathalie on the space design, including the delicious wall graphics by Rachel Morris. We were all extremely happy with the way that the game turned out.
The game design went through many revisions since we started work in August, and the final version is a game about discussion and aesthetics. Two players each choose a board from an “archive” of nearly 200 game boards and make short statements about them by playing cards. The cards are adjectives and nouns that recombine to make statements like “questionable / ideology,” “rectilinear / layout” or “childlike / colors.” Your goal is to make statements that apply to your board but not your opponent’s. A third “judge” player decides on who wins each round, and if you win with 3 of your boards you win the game. A sprinkle of ritual in the rules, such as the players bowing at the start and end of the game, lend a slightly metaphysical flavor to the proceedings.
At the opening, players took to Flatlands with gusto, playing games back to back the entire time. The social interaction among the players is left ambiguous in the rules, and so the games varied quite a bit. Some players focused on the cards to make the judgements, while most focused on discussion and conversation. Exchange ranged from free-flowing arguments to formal debates. But players reported that they were forced to look and think about the games in new ways. That’s me in the photo above barely besting Frank Lantz in the final match of the evening.
In the back of the gallery space, Babycastles has curated a handful of games from my company Gamelab: BLiX, Arcadia, Diner Dash, and LEGO Junkbot. After the bittersweet end of Gamelab in 2009, It was excellent to see these games recognized. Even hearing Michael Sweet’s soundtracks playing in the background of the show was very touching for me. The photo of these games above showcases the Babycastles artist-made arcade cabinets, as well as the architectural stacks of boardgame boxes Nathalie improvised during the installation.
Special thanks to Babycastles and curator Matthew Hawkins for making this possible. Flatlands is up through December 11, when we’re having a closing party. More info about that soon. In the meantime, enjoy these photos and come back here for more details.