Surveillance (Playmakers 03)

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Surveillance (Playmakers 03)
Designer: Alex Fleetwood & Holly Gramazio
Year: unknown
Players: 30 - 45 (3 teams of 10 - 15 people)
Stuff required: 3 tripods, three basic Flip-type camcorders, 3 screens + linking cables, 3 flipcharts, marker pens
Crew required: Four. One game leader and three scorers
Preparation: A couple of hours
Time required: 45 minutes
Place required: Any public space. A space with multiple levels & pedestrian access is ideal, eg Barbican, South Bank
Activities: Sneaking, filming, talking, teamwork, bluffing.
This is an untested game. Its rules are written, but it hasn't been tested out yet.
This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)

This game is part of the Playmakers project, and is a variant of Test Case (Playmakers 01) with added treachery. Teams of agents maneuver their video cameras around the playspace, capturing footage of vital targets and their opposition - but the opposing teams have cameras too...

Instructions for Players

You will be placed in a team. Your team has a colour. Put on a sports bib or bright ribbon of the appropriate colour, and gather around your video camera, which will be atop a brightly-coloured tripod of the same colour.

Your team will be given a handout with a map of the gamespace, and indications of a selection of targets found within it that you need to monitor. These targets could be indicated with a variety of photographs, cryptic clues, and other methods, all pointing at specific places and objects within the playing area.

In addition, each individual player will receive a card. This card will have a colour on it - either the colour of your team, in which case everything's fine; or the colour of a rival team, in which case you are a secret agent acting within an enemy team! If this is the case you'll want to undermine the efforts of the rival team in which you're acting as an undercover agent, but without giving away the fact that you're working against them...

Before play begins, everyone will gather together, and close their eyes. The game-runner will ask all the members of the yellow team, for example, to open their eyes and raise their hands. This will be repeated for each time, which means that all teams will know which agents on other teams are really working for them.

After this process, and after being given the targets, teams will be taken to different "safe zones" around the playing area - spaces inside which they can't be filmed. They will have five minutes to examine the target sheet and plot their methods.

Carefully co-ordinated game-runners will start all the teams start recording simultaneously. You will record continuously throughout the game.

You have to film as many of the objects as possible. If you get all of the objects, you will get EXCITING BONUS POINTS. You will also need to try to film members of the opposing teams, and - most particularly - their video camera, without letting them film you in return...

If at any point you suspect you know who the traitor in your team is - or you are the traitor, and want to put people off your trail - you can make a formal accusation in front of the camera, by saying "I accuse [player name or description] of being a traitor in our midst".

The game consists of two rounds. The first round lasts ten minutes, and then you will need to assemble in the starting area, where you will watch the footage recorded so far, and score it. Everyone who has been formally accused during the first round will be up for voting - the two who are most strongly suspected will be removed from the team for the second round.

The second round lasts 5 minutes. After five minutes, there is another scoring round, and another voting round where two more members are removed from each team.


  • 10 points for filming each of the game objects (you must film each object for at least three seconds)
  • 100 bonus points if you film every game object
  • 1 point per second that you film members of opposing teams
  • 3 points per second that you film an opposing video camera and tripod

(These points are not cumulative - you don’t get extra points for having three film members on screen, or a film member and the tripod/camera)

And at the very end:

  • 50 bonus points for each traitor that you have correctly identified

Instructions for the Gamerunner

Recce the gamespace well ahead of the day you're going to run the game, and take a lot of still photos of things that you think it would be interesting for players to have to film. Lay the best out on one side of A4, with the instructions and the map on the other. Add some cryptic clues if you'd like to give people a greater variety of potential tasks.

Secure permission from whoever is in charge to have teams of 10-15 people moving around with tripods in tow - and brief your teams to be as quiet and respectful of the space as they need to be. Clearly there is more scope for charging and yelling in a big public park than there is in an arts centre.

The briefing / scoring area should be as quiet and enclosed as possible, ideally away from the public spaces of the game (a private room would be ideal).

Your three volunteers for scoring should ideally have played the game before, so recruit some veterans or playtest the game with them on the day. They should stand by the relevant screen, with a flipchart and marker pens. Their decision is final re:scoring.


Footage of all three cameras from the first game.
And the second game.

Play history

This game ran as Test Case at Sandpit #9 in the Barbican, and as Shrine at Sandpit #10 outside the ICA. It ran in this form at Sandpit #11 at the BFI.