I really want to start setting up more casual, massive public games now that I’ve settled in here. Something I’ve been mulling over is a SMS-enabled game of campus-wide Red Light, Green Light. I think this could be really entertaining, considering that the buildings of north campus’s academic spine are all connected by above-ground hallways that run between buildings. Imagine trying to get down a regular-width hallway that is suspended above the ground, full of people who are playing Red Light, Green Light via txt!

The problem with UB is just that there is very little room for large group gatherings. Conducting a pillow fight or similar would not be as hilariously disruptive as it was at Michigan. However, I think on the Promenade, there are square tiles — it might be possible to set up that game of Giant Scrabble that I’ve always dreamed of but never was able to execute. The problem is, of course, getting teams together that are THAT big.

Giant Scrabble will involve team-based play — each player will be assigned a letter in advance of the game date, that ze will have to bring to the game. No one is allowed to disclose their letter to anyone else. Once the entire alphabet is assembled, team captains will pick teams. The order in which team captains pick their teammates is the order in which their letters will be played, instead of pulling randomly from a bag. (You would need a pretty large bag.)

The group of players who get to decide what to play next will be the 7 players whose letters are up on their team’s rack. Once your letter is played, you are “benched.” I kind of want there to be audience involvement — we could say that each team captain is in charge of managing players in play and can also consult spectators and passers-by. Of course this kind of team play, where teams are constantly in flux, endangers the secrecy of each side. That’s just part of gameplay in Giant Scrabble.

Giant Scrabble requires 3 umpires, who will score, arbitrate challenges, and ensure that each team has 7 active players at all times. They will also determine when a side is out of players who have yet to play, and what to do if a player must leave the game before ze has played hir letter. (In this case, I think it would be acceptable to pass the letter on to a player who has already played hir letter.) Umpires can also punish players for spying on the other team, but can’t punish spectators and passers-by for sharing insider information!

If we were to play Giant Scrabble on campus, I’d like there to be an announcer, and maybe we could webcast the event, as though it were a major sporting event. Then we’d also have an audio archive of the proceedings. I imagine Giant Scrabble would take a couple hours to play, just due to the considerations of having so many players involved. Maybe the players of the winning team in the first game of Giant Scrabble at UB could win a trophy, too.

Who wants to play?

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