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Runaway

Runaway

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Runaway
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Designer: Ben Henley
Players: 8-10
Stuff required: 3 cans of utility fog, 3 video cameras, 4 cloaked surveillance drones, Google Maps access, protective clothing
Crew required: Three
Preparation: Two days
Time required: An hour, plus 15 minutes for scoring
Place required: A room in an urban area
Activities: Chasing, teamwork, deduction
Discuss this game
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This is an untested game. Its rules are written, but it hasn't been tested out yet.
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This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)

A nanotechnology researcher has been enslaved by a hostile nanobot strain, and is now staggering around the local streets, leaving lethal colonies on everything s/he touches. Players must correlate surveillance feeds of the worker's movements with information from Google Maps and Street View to locate and neutralise colonies before a global nandemic breaks out.

Preparation

Take a Flip video camera or similar and mount it on a "poor man's Steadicam" mount. Walk around the streets in the area where the game will be played, at about the same time of day, moving the camera as if it's on some kind of futuristic drone. Have a volunteer dressed as the infected researcher (the 'vector') - wearing lab coat/boiler suit, some kind of filtration mask and goggles - stumble into view several times, sometimes touching an item of street furniture. Areas touched by the vector are infected and must be neutralised by the players.

Repeat four times, timing it so that vector appearances don't overlap and movement is fairly consistent, and burn onto a DVD, showing all four 'drone feeds' split screen.

To avoid the need to film 4 hours of footage, could have periods of static where drone has 'lost signal'.

Note down the infected areas. If allowed by venue, could also mark them in real life with UV ink (giving players UV torches) or glitter or something.

Gameplay

Brief the players. Give them about 3 cans of 'utility fog' (theatrical smoke with label) and 3 Flips (or similar).

They must organise themselves so that some of them stay and watch drone footage, and use Google Street View/Maps to identify hotspots. They can then communicate with others outside using their mobile phones.

Make out that the drone footage is live, but that the drones are invisible due to optical cloaking.

The cleansing teams must film themselves spraying infected spots with the utility fog.

At the end of the game, the drones should all lose signal apart from one, which shows the vector stumbling into a room near the control centre. The vector (a volunteer) then bursts out of the room and must be cleansed (with goggles and a breath mask the smoke won't do any harm, probably).

Scoring

Play back the footage taken by the players and assess how many colonies they managed to sterilise. Tell them how many millions will be dissolved or enslaved based on their performance.

Chrome

Could use the DVD with the 'drone footage' to show an animated briefing - especially useful for players unfamiliar with the concept of nanotech.

Maybe the 'drone footage' could also have a scrolling ticker of projected body counts, intelligence intercepts, etc. etc.

Moderator should wear lab coat & boiler suit or paramilitary gear, boots and gloves.

Image copyright

Note that while the rules to this game are CC-licensed, the "unfriendly AI" warning symbol is (C) Natalie Catchpole/Ben Henley.