Today’s pick is International Golf Proxy, from Simon Katan – a game that combines poker-style betting, the old warmer-cooler find-an-object game, and, er, golf. There’s an imaginary golf course, and an imaginary ball, and (non-imaginary!) rewards for players who use the right imaginary club.
Simon’s run games at Hide&Seek events since the very second Sandpit ever, back in early 2008. And almost all of these games have looked really rather odd from the outside. Pervasive games often look a bit peculiar, of course – players sneaking, players running, players trailing a bundle of balloons or trying to carry a rolled-up carpet. But with most games, a diligent spectator can at least guess at what the players are trying to accomplish. Simon’s games, on the other hand, somehow make perfect sense when you’re playing them, and are nevertheless extremely bemusing to watch. The Freemasons, which ran at the 2008 Weekender, had Simon in a flowery apron handing out kazoos, as musicians/players moved around the playspace according to a series of rules that an outsider could never deduce; 2009′s Parse the Parcel set teams frantically exchanging awkward brown-paper-wrapped parcels in a variety of unwieldy shapes, until the members of one team stood up simultaneously and cheered – seemingly at random, to anyone who hadn’t played the game.
International Golf Proxy fits firmly into this distinctive mould, and as such I’m not going to explain it in too much detail. Part of its glory lies in the way non-players will stumble across it, and find a group of serious-faced golf players staring at a blank piece of ground. If you’ve played one of Simon’s games before, rest assured that this is in the classic Katan mould: unfailingly clever and beautifully perplexing. If you haven’t played one of his games, then you really should, and this is a good place to start: a pleasant amble, some deduction, some guesswork, some luck, and a nice 45 minutes of imaginary golf.
International Golf Proxy will be running at the Weekender on Sunday from 1pm.
Picture from striatic: sometimes i golf