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Bacterius

Bacterius

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Bacterius
Syringe.jpg
Designer: Pippa Johnson and Holly Gramazio
Players: 12+
Stuff required: Balloons, doctors outfits
Crew required: two/three
Preparation: Ten minutes.
Time required: Variable.
Place required: Outdoors space.
Activities: Running, sneaking, teamwork.
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This is a playable game - it's finished, tested and ready to play.
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This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)


A game of infectious disease and gently baffing people with balloons.

You will need

  • at the very least 12 people, but more is better
  • some balloons - you will need one colour for each disease for each player
  • a playing space outdoors
  • a few people to act as doctors (depends on total number of players but roughly 1:15)
  • a list of diseases

Setup

Decide how many diseases (teams) you want from the list below or invent your own.

Divide yourselves into teams of at least 4.

Identify suitable start points to spread play across the available space.

Each player should have a different coloured balloon for each disease being played.

Give doctors a clearly identifying item and make them clear to players.

Suggested diseases

Flue, a disease which causes [green] swellings. Flue convinces sufferers that they are a chimney. This results in an oddly stiff gait and a tendency to inhale loudly.

Stroike, a disease which causes [purple] swellings. Stroike makes sufferers speak in a West Country accent and slap their thighs at inappropriate moments in conversation.

Goute, a disease which causes [white] swellings. Goute causes sufferers to feel a permanent urge to taste everything they can see, and to have a French accent.

Zoonose, a disease which causes [red] swellings. Zoonose causes sufferers' noses to become incredibly itchy and occasionally hairy.

Bear-polar disorder, an illness which causes [blue] swellings. Sufferers switch between being almost un-bear-ably happy and thinking they are a polar bear.

Gameplay

  1. Follow the doctor in charge of your disease to your start point. S/he will give you three balloons. Each balloon represents a disease: [green] for flue, [purple] for stroike, and [white] for goute etc.
  2. The doctor will tell you which disease has infected you. You will have to blow up the balloon of the corresponding colour – but don't tie it! Just pinch it in your fingers and keep it full. If you are infected with another disease later on, you will need to let the balloon down.
  3. Once the game begins, head off (showing the symptoms of your disease as best you can) to find some victims to infect!
  4. To start the infection process, you must tap someone on the shoulder with your balloon and say “My, you're looking well today.” Once you've done that they will be too polite to run away; they must stay and engage in conversation.
  5. You now have to guess one thing that you have in common with your victim. This cannot be a visible thing, so gender, hair colour and so on are all off limits. Siblings, home town, job, favourite ice-cream flavours and number of Sandpits are all fair game, however. You will have two attempts to guess something. If you don't manage to find a link along which the infection can pass, you can run away – they have to wait thirty seconds before chasing you.
  6. If you do guess something, then you have passed the infection on, and your bacteria must fight! Play a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors.
  7. If you (the initiator of the battle) win, then they have caught your disease and are cured of the disease they had! They must let down the balloon they had inflated, and inflate the balloon of your colour!
  8. If you (the initiator of the battle) lose, however, nothing happens – they have to wait thirty seconds if they want to chase you to challenge you back, and you can't challenge them again until you've been involved in a challenge with someone else.
  9. Watch out for doctors. The will try to cure you! To do this they will tap you on the shoulder and say “Ah, Mr/Miss Smith, my 8 o’clock hasn’t turned up so I can see you in now”. You must then play Rock-Paper-Scissors against them – and if they win, they will confiscate your balloon, immunising you against that disease for ever. (If you are cured, you are still in the game but briefly not unwell – you can still be infected with other diseases. - the doctor may even chose to experimentally infect you with something new...)
  10. The disease that has the most sufferers at the end is the winner. Good luck!

Notes for doctors

Make sure you spread the teams out at the start and keep and eye on the end time.

If one team is becoming too dominant too quickly you may wish to focus your efforts on that disease (and any good health agency would). If you can make it more fun by infecting people with a new disease when you cure them then we won't tell anyone if you won't.

Feel free to shout 'Nee-naw' a lot.

This could be a contact sport but that's up to you... I think maybe best not, but we shall see.

Play history

This game was played at Sandpit #10 at the ICA, in April 2009.