|Designer:||Peter Law and Katy Beale|
|Stuff required:||one blindfold and ten gold-wrapped sweets or chocolate coins for every pair of players (bring spare sweets as they'll be nicked by your friends, well by everyone really). Optional but very helpful - paper, staper and coloured pens to make crowns.|
|Time required:||half an hour or more if you like.|
|Place required:||Anywhere safe for someone in a blindfold with a guide e.g. an office, a park.|
|Activities:||Imagination, creativity, disorientation.|
|Discuss this game|
|This is a playable game - it's finished, tested and ready to play.|
|Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)|
Setting the scene
This game is inspired by stories early explorers must have told their royal patrons about unknown countries across the High Seas, to inspire them to fund their voyages. Picture Christopher Columbus taking the King of Spain for a walk in his garden and asking him to close his eyes and imagine the exquisite artifacts he will bring him from China, the Americas and the East Indies.
Players are put into pairs (though see 'Other versions' below) and randomly one is made an Explorer and the other and Queen or King.
Optional - While you're waiting for players to settle or arrive have each Queen or King make a crown. It helps them get into their roles and make friends.
Queens and Kings are blindfolded and given ten pieces of gold (chocolate coins or other gold-wrapped sweets).
For ten minutes or more (it's best to agree how long when you explain the rules) the explorers will lead their King of Queen around. The Explorer's job is take their royal patron to five interesting objects they have selected which make up part of the the game space; a lift for example, or a firehose. The Explorer must tell a tall tale about each object, as if it were an incredible thing they had seen or heard about on their travels and will promise to bring back for their patron if they’ll fund just one more voyage. For example they could describe a lift as the glistening, flying platform of Indo-China, built by giants two hundred years ago and offering sure access to the Heavens etc.
If the King of Queen would like to take their blindfold in order off to see the object described they must negotiate a price in pieces of gold with the explorer. This is the cost of the voyage.
The aim for Kings and Queens is to purchase wonderful objects for their kingdom; but also to spend their money wisely as they might want to have some left to enjoy themselves.
The aim for Explorers is to get as much money as possible to fund their voyages.
Advice for players
Once you've explained the instructions separate the Explorers from the Kings and Queens and give each group some advice.
Ask Kings and Queens to imagine their kingdoms in more detail and consider what sort of objects they would like to obtain to to increase their royal standing in the Known World. Advise them to question the Explorers about the objects they are describing.
Provide Explorers with a list of five or more interesting objects you've identified in the game space already. They don't have to use any of them, but it gives them an idea of what objects might be suitable as inspiration for stories and give them objects to fall back on. Brief them on how they could begin to tell their stories: like fairytales with a regular form e.g. "This X comes from the land of Y. Made out of P and Q it was made R hundred years ago by a W. It allows the bearer to G etc.". If you have time give them a few minutes, preferably in the game space, to absorb this and look for their own inspiring objects: the Kings and Queens could finish their crowns while the Explorers do this. Finally explain that the Kings and Queens will feel unusual, hyper-imaginative and a bit disorientated under their blindfolds and so will be even more receptive to unusual stories.
You can play Explorers as a scheduled game or an ambient game.
Try sending out groups with an additional Explorer or King or Queen. They will have fun playing off each other and may support each other and find it easier to make up stories. You'll need to give Kings and Queens extra in both cases.
Ten minutes of storytelling is a short game and twenty minutes can work. Players swapping roles after ten or more minutes works well too.