You’re a member of a family that’s had a generations-long feud with another family. And members of both families are time-travelers.
Will you successfully erase your rivals from history? Or will the star-crossed-in-love youngest member of your own family execute their grandparent, causing a rift in time and space that swallows up all of existence?
This is Kill Your Grandfather, a game we created for the Come Out & Play Festival in NYC.
One day in April, I got an email from Claire, proposing a group meeting to come up with a game for the Come Out & Play Festival. Specifically, for their outdoor field day event. And with a deadline less than one week after our first meeting.
We each thought about the kind of games we played as kids, and picked out which were the common elements, or the things that drew us, to each of those games. Nishat talked about playing kick the can—and how she and her friends could make toys out of anything. Becca described a game where she and her sisters would pretend that piles of freshly-cut grass were bird nests, upon which they had to hoard balls-as-eggs. All of the games I used to play as a kid were imagination games, aided sometimes by declaring territories, or by the addition of dress-up and costume elements. But for the most part, those stories existed totally in my head.
By doing some rapid iteration, we came up with the idea of dividing the play area into zones representing different time zones. In our first version, each player was tied to a different period of history, and could be killed by a specific object from a specific time period. Like musical chairs, players could dash around, collect objects and return to their time period before the timer ran out.
That was enough for the festival application, so we sent it off into the ether. We didn’t know that we’d been accepted until we got an email reminding us to submit our information to the site (somehow the acceptance letter itself went astray).
We made some tweaks, simplifying the game’s story and play (incidentally, it ended up being pretty much identical to Becca’s childhood egg-collecting game), and sent it off. We’re now playtesting it to see what further refinements can be made.
If you’d like to play the game, find the rules and some helpful diagrams on the Kill Your Grandfather Ludocity wiki page. (Let us know how it goes!)