26 February 2019
Art of the deal
A London-based ‘festival of experimental game design’ hopes to make art out of the silly gags, questionable doodles and personal touches players add to their games.
Now Play This is being held in Somerset House this April as part of London Games festival, and has out out a call for submissions of cards from games personalised by players – whether that’s through text, drawings, stickers or even cards made completely from scratch to work in existing games.
Among the examples it suggests are cards from games that openly encourage personalisation – such as the plain cards included in games such as Blank (pictured), Apples to Apples and 1000 Blank White Cards, as well as the customisable cards of legacy games such as Pandemic Legacy – and cards from games where adding your own touch isn’t officially part of the rules, such as custom Monopoly properties and scribbled-on or photoshopped playing cards. (Although the team apparently draws the line at “anything from Cards Against Humanity”.)
The aim is to take all of the cards sent in and combine them into a single big artwork to be displayed during the festival, letting the world bask in the glory of that one cartoon dog you can draw perfectly or that one-liner you found absolutely hilarious at the time but now don’t understand at all.
The project’s creators say they’ll then take an intelligent look at the submissions, putting together up an analysis that finds the smart reasoning and trends behind what’s likely to be a mish-mash of touching and bizarre creations.
“We think that showing the ways that people create and transform their own personalised cards is a great way of looking at how we play games,” they explain.
“We want to look at the ways that games can be private experiences for a particular person or family or workplace or group of friends; at how tabletop games can develop house rules, and private jokes, and different ways of playing among different groups; at games as something transformed by their players. We think by showing a wide cross-section of cards that have been customised, we can show a really interesting range of the different ways that people approach games and the different contexts they exist in.”
Involved with the project is Now Play This festival director Holly Gramazio, whom Tabletop Gaming magazine readers will recognise as the author of the Kickstarting from Scratch column which followed social drawing game Art Deck from concept to crowdfunding last year.
If you’re interested in sending in your cards before the submission deadline on March 22nd, the full guidelines and details are up on the Now Play This website. (You won’t get your cards back, obviously.) The finished artwork will be showcased as part of Now Play This from April 6th to 14th.