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Night Watch

Night Watch

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Night Watch
Night watch equipment.jpg
Designer: Gwyn Morfey
Players: 10-20
Stuff required: A small torch.
Crew required: One guard, optionally one Site Security.
Preparation: Ten minutes.
Time required: Anything from ten minutes to an hour.
Place required: A dark area at least 100m long, with plenty of cover (eg trees).
Activities: Sneaking, running.
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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 running, sneaking, evading and escaping, after dark in a outdoor setting.

The space

This is the hardest part of setting up Night Watch. You need a space at least a hundred metres long and fifty metres wide, with not too many non-players (who may be rather alarmed). There needs to be plenty of cover - wide-bodied trees are ideal. It needs to be dark enough that the guard can't see much without the spotlight, but light enough that players don't run into things. A three-quarter moon seems to work well.

A suitable site

Setup

Position the players at one end of the space. Their objective is to reach the other end; make sure they know where it is. Position the guard somewhere in the middle.

Gameplay

Players attempt to sneak through the space to reach the far end. Anyone spotted and called out by the guard must return to the start point before trying again. The guard does not need to tag, approach, or even positively identify a player to send them back.

The guard should be played with care, adjusting the difficulty level and creating cinematic moments where necessary.

Extra bits

The Fire Hazard version of this game used labelled player handouts ("Prisoner 3") safety-pinned front and back, traffic cones to mark the game space, a non-player Site Security officer, and a sign-in sheet to collect everyone's mobile phone numbers and count them in and out.

Possible variants involve scattering objects - eg ten-rouble notes - around the play space, and challenging players to collect as many as possible. The guard will confiscate everything when a player is caught.


Play history

Fire Hazard ran this game at Hampstead Heath on 11 October 2008 and 18 July 2009.