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Upcoming play — 15 June Field Lines + 16 June Play Building

League is participating in a couple of the events that are helping to make this city a place for playful action. Join us to make your own playing field or help build improvised play structures.

Field Lines for Vancouver Draw Down

Vancouver Draw Down

Saturday 15 June

Field Lines at Elm Park, 10am – noon

Now in its fourth year, Vancouver Draw Down is a celebration of drawing in everyday life that aims to reconnect everyone with the power and pleasure of making marks. “This day-long, city wide celebration focuses on the process, pleasure and diversity of drawing, rather than on skill and technical ability.” Draw Down events are led by artists at venues across the city. The full schedule is here.

From 10am to noon in Elm Park, we’ll play with marking the field and work together to invent a game to fit the lines. Here drawing will involve full-body motion, running and walking with the field-marking equipment.

Play Building at the Western Front

Sunday 16 June

Noon – 5pm
Western Front, 303 East 8th Ave (map)

Pioneering Vancouver artist-run centre the Western Front is celebrating its 40th anniversary with an open house on Main Street Car-Free Day. Playful, interactive art projects will be unfolding all around the Front building.

For 40 years, the Western Front has been a presenting challenging art, new music, performance, and new media in a building that was formerly the Knights of Pythias lodge. For this anniversary day, League will mine the building’s storage for construction materials left over the past decades. For the first part of the day we will use these materials to build structures for play, and the rest of the afternoon everyone is welcome to drop in to improvise ways of using these structures for play.


Upcoming play — Sunday 26 May — B.Y.O.Bocce

For the next League play date on Sunday 26 May, you’re asked to B.Y.O.B: Bring Your Own Bocce.

Bocce, Pétanque, Bowls and Bowling, Curling, Golf, Croquet, Marbles — all are games of precision and strategic positioning. Each uses objects and settings that have peculiar characteristics to be tamed and mastered. Imagine any of these games played using objects with quite different tendencies: softness, size, bounciness, fragility or lightness, unpredictability, permeability, etc. For B.Y.O.Bocce our starting point will be bocce-like games played with different materials brought by participants. Bring your own rollable, pitchable, puttable, or lobbable objects.

This League play day will unfold in two locations:

  • 11:00am-1:00pm special appearance at Memorial Park West, for Dunbar’s Salmonberry Days Festival
  • 1:00-3:00pm at our regular location, Elm Park in Kerrisdale.

League is an open gathering for playing invented games and sports, to practice improvisation, strategy, performance, and critical thinking as play. Everyone is welcome to drop in; bring both body and mind.

Other League news

Planning is underway for The n Games, an innovative tournament for teams from different backgrounds. It asks: what kind of team would be best prepared for unexpected challenges? On 8 September 2013, different sports-, creative- and business teams from across Vancouver will convene at Elm Park to test their teamwork, strategic skills, and adaptability, competing against each other to play invented sports they do not know. Participating teams include Roadhouse Interactive game studio, Double Rainbow Dodgeball League, Rethink advertising agency, Theatre Replacement, and the Daughters of Beer. A Toronto edition of The n Games will also take place as part of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, overnight on 5 October 2013.

Contact us with sponsorship and registration enquiries for The n Games.

Also look out for League at the following events:

  • Saturday 15 June, 10am-noon: Vancouver Draw Down, a one-day city-wide drawing event. At Elm Park, “drawing will involve full-body motion, running and walking with the field-marking equipment, and participants will work together to invent a game to match the lines.”
  • Sunday 16 June: Western Front‘s 40th Anniversary Open House.


Bean Race 2013

1… 2… 3… grow.

Bean Race 2013 is now on in the field house yard. A meandering, but dramatic, race to new heights, the Bean Race is a test of patience and care.

Your competitors are:


Verena Kaminiarz and Cedric Bomford are Vancouver-based artists who garden when they can. Their Bean Tower, realized in the Skulpturenpark in Mitte (Berlin) in the bean growing season of 2010, inspired this contest. Kaminiarz and Bomford will be growing runner beans with seeds from the original Bean Tower.


The host of the race, League is an open group that gathers to play invented games and sports. We have no particular expertise at growing anything, and will be growing Scarlet Runner beans from the kids’ section of the hardware store.


Gropp’s Gallery Collective operate studios and residencies in their micro-Utopia off Main Street in Vancouver. They will be growing a variety of pole beans.

About the Bean Race

League plays with unexpected objects and spaces, pursues unconventional approaches to procedures, and tackles situations with both mind and body. One approach is to consider slowness, patience, and cultivation as a strategy.

The Bean Race is inspired by the Bean Tower built by artists Verena Kaminiarz and Cedric Bomford in the Skulpturenpark Berliner Mauer (Berlin Sculpture Park), which re-imagined an industrial structure such as Vladimir Tatlin’s “Monument to the Third International” as organic and pragmatic.

Upcoming play – 21 and 28 April 2013

Spring has arrived, and that calls for two play dates this month:

  • Sunday 21 April, 3-5 pm — with special guests from Arts Umbrella Teen Scholarship Program
  • Sunday 28 April, noon-3pm — regularly-scheduled League gathering


21 April

League recently visited the Arts Umbrella teen program to talk about artworks as games and about play and the art-making process. The students will be bringing some game ideas to workshop. Contact Chess, anyone?

28 April – Ready…Set…Slow

Our next regularly-schedule play date falls the day after Slow Art Day, an annual event promoting unhurried looking. We’ll make up our own version of slowness, bring the body into play. How slow can we go?

Special guests this day will be artists from one of the other Park Board field house residencies, the Field House Ensemble based in Strathcona Park. Their project is all about slow culture.

We can also prepare the field house yard for the League Bean Race, a contest cultivating patience and care. Three teams will be building structures and nurturing beans to grow to unknown heights.

Upcoming at League

League has a busy few months ahead. We’re currently planning The n Games for Sunday 8 September 2013. The n Games is an innovative tournament for teams from diverse backgrounds, playing sports they do not know. It asks: what kind of team would be best prepared for unexpected challenges? A youth football team or wily senior hockey players? A finely-tuned business team or a pick-up team of elite runners? Backpackers or dancers? A theatre troupe or a group of yoga teachers? There are still a few spots available in the tournament, so please contact us if you’d like to secure one.

Upcoming play 31 March

Next League play date is Sunday March 31, noon to 3pm at Elm Park in Kerrisdale.

This gathering will turn around hiding and finding, one of the most basic game mechanisms. As League regular and electronic game designer Ian Verchere says, “The #1 rule of games is this:  good things are always found inside other things.”

Secret room in Super Nintendo Zelda game. Click to read “Gaming’s Top 10 Easter Eggs” on IGN.com.

Illustration for “The Purloined Letter,” a short detective story by Edgar Allan Poe, that turns around a stolen letter. Image source: wikimedia.


Hiding relies on the unforeseen. Placing ‘easter eggs’ (secret messages or inside jokes) in games and computer programs has a long and cultish history. Found objects — objects turned to unexpected uses — have made their way into many a work of art. Scavenger hunts turn lived space into a source of bounty. Through Geocaching.com there are some two million treasure boxes hidden around the world, many in plain sight. In this vein, the participants in the collaborative game SF0 have set out all kinds of practical tasks for unexpected actions in city space, many of which involve finding or placing objects.

About League

League is an open gathering for inventing and playing games and sports invented by members of the community, as a practice of creative thinking. Each game, its equipment, its playing field, and its strategies evolve through trial and improvisation. Everyone is welcome to drop in for problem-solving as play.


Upcoming play 24 February: walkshopping

Francis Alÿs, “The Green Line,” 2005 performance with paint can along border in Jerusalem.

Walking. We might take it for granted, but it is one of the ways in which individuals know, shape, and give meaning to places. Walking is an everyday tactic that bends the city toward unplanned ends (Michel de Certeau). It’s done for political reasons, for pleasure, for meditation. “Walkers are ‘practitioners of the city,’ for the city is made to be walked.[...] Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go,” wrote Rebecca Solnit in Wanderlust: A History of Walking.

The next League play date turns on walking. How does the environment around us affect how we understand our possibilities for action, and could our movements through the city shift those habits and conventions?

We’ll workshop some ideas from League regulars Jay White and Leah Weinstein, and of course adapt as we go. Bonus points if you arrive on foot.

Where: Elm Park, 41 Ave at Larch
When: Sunday 24 February, noon to 4pm

Gwen MacGregor, “GPS Series – 3 months New York / Toronto” video of GPS tracks tracing the artist’s movements


The n Games

Where:  Elm Park, Vancouver-Kerrisdale
When:  Sunday 8 September 2013, 10am-5pm
Cost:  Free. Spectators are welcome to bring a lawn chair or blanket


Solve for n

The n Games is an innovative tournament for teams from different backgrounds. It asks: what kind of team would be best prepared for unexpected challenges? A youth sports team or a finely-tuned business? A pick-up team of artists, or a leading ad agency? A performance troupe, a group of gamers, or players of obscure sports?

On 8 September 2013, different sports, cultural, and business teams from across Vancouver will compete against each other in The n Games, testing their teamwork, strategic skills and adaptability by playing invented sports they do not know. The games to be played will range from vigorous to cerebral, straightforward to strategic, and will ultimately test the teams’ ability to creatively solve different types of physical and mental challenges as a group. For some games, there may be opportunities for the teams to recruit from the public.

The tournament will take the format of two round-robin pools, followed by a playoff. The teams will not know in advance what games they will be playing; for each match, the game to be played will be drawn and rules explained a matter of minutes before the start. The tournament unfolds in Elm Park and is organized by League, a project for playing invented games and sports, launched in 2012 within the Vancouver Park Board Field House Residency Program. The n Games and League value play as a form of creative problem-solving, unconventional approaches to challenges, and tackling situations with both mind and body. Examples of the types of invented sports that could be played at The n Games are documented on the League site.

Competing for The n Games Cup, playfully devised by celebrated contemporary artist Brendan Lee Satish Tang, the participating teams represent a wide range of businesses and sports in the city of Vancouver. The award-winning advertising agency Rethink bring their nimble creativity to the field, while veteran game producers Roadhouse Interactive boast a deep knowledge of game strategy. Double Rainbow Dodgeball League, a community-based dodgeball league for all genders, hope to outshine the competition with their bright combination of agility and rainbow spandex, while Manhunt! Vancouver bring crafty tactics honed through their urban sports events. The friends behind the Daughters of Beer craft-beer blog have assembled a team of fellow cultural administrators and curators to bring their self-described “over-thinking skills” to the tournament. Finally, with their focus on creating theatre from the everyday life around us, Theatre Replacement, bring well-practiced performance skills.

View the schedule


Daughters of Beer & Co.

We are creators, competitors, curators, coordinators, commissioners, consultants, cultural planners, and cat owners – who share a common connection as capacious consumers of craft beer.

Special skills: strategic and easily distracted; over-thinkers skilled at guesswork; exhaust easily by our ambition; physical and fond of naps; overly organized for the unanticipated; competitive in non-confrontational incidents.


Double Rainbow Dodgeball

Double Rainbow Dodgeball is a 19+, non profit, inclusive community dodgeball league that encourages fun, positivity, safety, fitness, inclusion, and fair play in a drug & alcohol free space. This league is for all genders and is both queer and trans positive.



Manhunt! Vancouver

Manhunt! Vancouver is an organization dedicated to urban sport and games, reclaiming public space, and building an inclusive and safe casual sporting community.

At Manhunt! we play a variety of games from capture the flag, ninja chess, camouflage, sardines, dodge ball and of course, manhunt – catch us if you can.



Rethink “has helped elevate Vancouver’s advertising scene onto the worldwide stage” (BC Business) with its work for local clients such as Playland and Science World, winning Golden Lion, Juno, and scores of other awards along the way.

Rethink uses a ping-pong table as a boardroom table, an analogy for their approach to communication.


Roadhouse Interactive

We make games for ourselves and others. Roadhouse Interactive is an end-to-end producer, developer and operator of games for mobile and tablet. Our team has delivered or played key roles on some of the most well-known and successful game franchises of all time.



Theatre Replacement

Theatre Replacement builds performances that react to contemporary existence.

When making this work, we recognize the accomplishments and failures of the world around us; use biographical material to magnify these events through extended collaborative processes and training programs; and reproduce the results for local, national and international audiences.

Theatre Replacement  is an ongoing collaboration between James Long and Maiko Bae Yamamoto. Whether working together or apart, we use extended processes to create performances from intentionally simple beginnings. Our work is about a genuine attempt to coexist. Conversations, interviews and arguments collide with Yamamoto and Long’s aesthetics resulting in theatrical experiences that are authentic, immediate and hopeful. For The n Games, we have assembled a team of TR staff, board members, friends, and collaborators.


Press, Sponsors

Vancouver Courier preview



The n Games Toronto

League will also be presenting a version of The n Games as part of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche in Toronto, overnight on 5-6 October 2013.


Upcoming play 27 January — signs & signals

Hobo Signs, from http://www.we-find-wildness.com/2010/05/hobo-signs/

This month’s League play date celebrates Family Literacy Day with games related to signs and signals. The challenge could be to develop an updated set of hobo signs. It could be to play a game whose rules are unspoken, or one in which tools change meaning. It could be an experiment with different kinds of flags. As usual, the games will change and develop as we go. Contact us if you have ideas, or just come prepared to improvise.

When: Sunday 27 January, noon to 3 pm
Where: Elm Park, Kerrisdale (41 Avenue @ Elm)

Ben Rubin’s “San José Semaphore”, a code-based artwork atop Adobe’s HQ. Anyone can attempt to crack the code.

League is an open gathering for playing invented games and sports, to experience improvisation, performance, strategy, and critical thinking as play.

Literacy isn’t only about language; it’s about learning and problem-solving. This Family Literacy Day edition of League is organized in collaboration with Decoda Literacy Solutions. Their blog includes ideas and references for learning by playing together, including physician Stuart Brown’s inspiring TED talk about the importance of play to human development and intelligence:

Upcoming play 30 December

Next play date: Sunday 30 December, from noon.

Going in circles

The world hasn’t ended, and a new year looms, so this date will honour all things cyclical: circles, looping, turning-about, maybe snowballs. Reach out if you have ideas, or just come prepared to improvise.

The Kerrisdale Village News just wrote about this aspect of League:

…artist Germaine Koh is looking for the sports-minded who like a little ‘improv’ in their games.

What do you get when you mix the origins of an established sport with a healthy dose of improvisation? Well, you get “League”.

[full article]


December: Toy Hacking Tuesdays

Germaine Koh, "Call" in progress

Germaine Koh, “Call” in progress

Get into the spirit of the season by giving new life to an old toy or or new meaning to a broken gadget.

League is toy hacking Tuesday evenings in December, from 5pm on.

Bring toys and gadgets we can crack and rewire, electronic tools and components if you have them, and other materials we could use as grafts.

Disclaimer: we have limited knowledge and equipment, and specialize only in voiding warranties.

Barbie Liberation Organization: in 1993, RTMark switched the voice boxes of 300+ Barbie and GI Joe figures and placed these into stores, in an act of “shopgiving”.

Some links: