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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.


Played: 24 February 2013


On this day, we set out to explore the idea of walking as a tactic for turning urban space to other uses. “Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go” (Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: a History of Walking).


A couple League regulars brought materials related to their art practices. Jay White, who has undertaken a number of process-based projects involving walking (one of which we wrote about here), brought surveyor’s tape and an idea about flagging alternate trails through the city. Those who spend time in the bush or hiking know flagging tape as a material that, flimsy as it is, can have consequences for survival. It’s used to mark human routes or lines that may or may not correspond to natural cues.

The group divided into two, with the idea that the smaller groups would head in separate directions, flagging a trail for the other to follow, making it as challenging as they’d like and not necessarily corresponding to existing or established routes. Both groups ended up taking ‘roads less traveled,’ through alleyways, and both created a sort of narrative along their route. One group wrote a story in widely-spaced snippets of tape, to be discovered and read through the time and space of following the flags. The other group flagged a variety of trees and plants. In both cases, what was interesting about the experience was how it brought a different kind of attention to one’s surroundings and how, through the different pace and ‘lens’, we began to notice details in the environment that we might otherwise have passed right by.



Leah Weinstein also brought materials from a current project, in this case welcome mats related to her project Welcome Shoes. With the thought of the welcome mats as the only ‘safe’ areas one could stand on, we tried a game in which a team, with a set of only a few mats, tried to get from one place to another by moving their mats with them. Since this was a group that enjoyed competition as much as cooperation, it quickly turned into a race.


WalkshoppingWe continued to play around with the mats, replicating a caterpillar tread, moving section by section.


Lastly, Ian handed the group a GPS showing geographical coordinates, which they used to navigate and find a geocache he had hidden. This geocache will eventually be recorded on the worldwide Geocaching site. Geocaching is a real-world game that involves hiding containers or objects and using GPS or smart phones to find others.

For more hunting and seeking, save the date for the next League gathering: Sunday 31 March, noon to 3pm.