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This page is presented to further games as a means of learning and exploration.

Abstract Games

Explore topology, construction, game play,
and other concepts.

System Models …

of ecology, society, economy,
and other real situations.

Social Explorations…
(this page)

of peoples’ thoughts, attitudes
and interactions.

“Drama arouses our emotions; it captivates and actuates a response. Drama is play and all playing is dramatic. Absence of drama means dullness, boredom, absence of vital interest and lastly, of the life dynamic itself.

We experience as dramatic any pattern of order or meaning that stirs us emotionally… and upsets an otherwise static balance. Drama issues a challenge to restore balance or risk disintegration.”
— Edward C. Whitmont, M.D., in The Alchemy of Healing, Psyche and Soma

Copyright Notice
All the games shown below are copyright © 2007-2016 by Lincoln Stoller, except where otherwise noted.


Summary: This fast and strenuous game requires 4 people to run around a table, without bumping into one another, while moving sets of swinging arms using nothing but their breath.

Pieces: A central tower with 4 independently gimbled sections supporting 4 independently balanced and differently colored, freely tipping 3-foot beams. From either end of each beam dangles a foot covered with velcro pile. A circular board with an annular region divided into quadrants whose colors match the beams. 4 velcro pile covered strips in each of the 4 colors. 4 sets of 6 round, velcro hook covered wooden disks, one set in each of the 4 colors. 4 differently color drinking straws with elbows. 2 foam blocks to act as obstacles to the rotating beams.

Players: 4 people, ages 5 and up, excluding those who are motor or respiratory impaired.
Playing Time : 5 to 10 minutes
Concept: a game that is sculptural, kinetic, and physically engaging.

Each player associates him or her self with one of the 4 colors and stands in front of the symmetrically arranged “home strips” of that color, moving their beam and leveling it above their strip. The round, hook-covered, colored disks are placed symmetrically in the quadrants of their color. Each player holds a drinking straw in their mouth.

Players simultaneously race around the table moving their balance arms only using the air blown through their straws. Each player tries to be the first to pick up a chip of each of the 4 colors and bring it back to their home strip.

Chips are picked up by blowing the beam’s velcro foot down to touch and attach to the velcroed chips. The beams are then blown back to deposit the chips on the player’s home strip.

Players must not touch the beams, except to disengage chips from them, and players must not jostle or elbow each other.

The first player to gather all four color chips on their home strip is the winner.


Summary: This noncompetitive, group dialog explores what people mean by “hate,” how the term is used, what personal hateful experiences players can share, and how others understand those experiences.

Pieces: A deck of 100 4″x5″ note cards. 20 green chips or cards, 20 red chips or cards. 30, 60 and 90 second sand timers or a stop watch. A computer and projector to display the two short movies attached here.

Players: 6 to 30 people, ages 14+

Playing Time : 30 to 120 minutes.

Concept: The word “hate” is frequently used yet so poorly understood that it’s not clear what we mean, or what is communicated.

Here we draw equally from all participants to demonstrate both how widely the term is misunderstood, and how few people recognize or explore its meanings.

Description Part I: Before the game begins the 5 minute video Hate: Part I presents a montage of generally light-hearted hateful images. Each person in the group is then assigned a number at random and given a note card. Each person is asked to write short definitions of hate on their card.

The cards are collected, shuffled, and drawn at random by the people assigned numbers 1 to 10, or the people in the first half of the group if there are less than 20 people playing. Each person is given 90 seconds in which to provide their own explanation of the definition written on the card they have drawn.

Those people who are not reading definitions are each given a green and a red card. After each definition is presented, players can “cash in” their green card and present no more than 30 seconds of support, or cash-in their red card and present up to 30 seconds of disagreement. Once commentators have used up their green and red cards they cannot comment further in Part 1. Part 1 continues until all the definitions have been read.

Description Part II: In the second part of the game everyone is asked to write a paragraph describing something hateful they did. These are collected, the insubstantial stories are culled out, and the remaining stories are redistributed at random to people other than those who authored them. Those who did not present a definition in Part 1 are asked to present the story they picked in 120 seconds or less, out loud, as if it was their story. The person to their left is then asked to spend 30 seconds describing how they would feel if they were the victim of this action, and the person to their right is given 30 seconds to review the event from the point of view of an observer. Story presentations continue as long as there are interesting stories to present.

The game concludes with the 12 minute video Hate: Part II (download .MOV file) which presents a montage of dark-hearted, hateful still images. The first 2 minutes of this video can be viewed online here: Hate: Part II(excerpt) Warning: this video contains graphic, violent, and disturbing images. Young people under 14 or sensitive people should either avoid this video, or watch it with someone who can help them understand the meaning of these images.

“Hate” was created as a collaboration with Joy Chiu.

Orgy of Moderation

Summary: 4 naked people, two male and two female, strive to make each others acquaintance in the biblical sense. Body parts disassociate in the endeavor to match one’s units with those of another. The object is to avoid being in the extreme when the score is settled.

Pieces: 4 players, each of a different race, are represented by 9 magnetized pieces : 2 eyes, 2 breasts, 2 hands, lips, genitals and a pair of buttocks. The pieces are loosely attached to a metal hoop marked off like a ladder into 36 spaces. The game starts with each player’s pieces naturally ordered.

Play takes place on all sides of the hoop. Players must spin the suggestively undulating hoop to see who’s monkeying around on the other side. Score is kept by moving pegs whose color matches the players skin. Over-intellectualizing is prevented through the use of a 30-second timer.

Players: 4 people, ages 7+

Playing Time: 30 to 50 minutes

Concept: A pure strategy game that highlights the essential question of gaming: “Where does a game’s meaning come from?”

Anotomically correct players move their disconnected parts around a 1-dimensional world trying to conjugate.

Cogenital pairings gain both players 4 points; other pairs score less. A third player can win points by adding their eye to a couple’s intimacies. One can lower one’s score by “slapping” another’s part in nonamorous contact. And one can even score alone by paring one’s own hand and genitals, but this results in the loss of an eye.

The game ends when the sum of all players’ points reaches 40. The player with the highest points is a loser because, as we all learn sooner or later, there is more to life. The lowest scoring player looses for Darwinian reasons. The two middle-scoring players win by virtue of their moderation.

Your Life Set To Music

Summary: Unprepared speakers and untrained musicians interact through word and sound.

Pieces: Speakers select a topic from a deck of 56 topic cards, whose topics include:

Being naked;
A love story;
Happy childhood event;
Something you stole;
Your worst outfit;
A story about birth or creation.

Players: 4 to 40 people, ages 14+

Playing Time: 20 to 60 minutes.

Concept: How is the speaker influenced by the musician, or the musician by the speaker? How are you influenced as a listener? What will you remember?

The group is divide into speakers and musicians. The speakers examine and then select a topic from the deck of topic cards. Each speaker is to recall or invent a 2 minute story related to this topic. Speakers should avoid their familiar stories and find new and uncertain stories that may be affected by the music and the audience.

One person, designated as the host, has the job of cueing the next pair of performers, and alerting each speaker when their two minutes are up. Speakers present their topics one after the other, without break or interruption.

Musicians accompany speakers by inventing a rhythm on the Zoundz to match the story being told. Each of the Zoundz’s sculptures triggers one of three prerecorded rhythms of a type specific to that sculpture. For example there is a strings sculpture, a percussion sculpture, a bass, and so on.

Lift a sculpture from a site and its rhythm fades away. Brush a sculpture over a site and a single beat is played. Continuously add, remove, or replace sculptures in any fashion to create a sound scape for your speaker’s story.

When speakers and musicians listen to each other something new and unexpected can be created.