This page is presented to further the design & development of games as a means of exploration.
I am receptive to ideas from game designers, publishers, educators and explorers.

explore topology, construction, game play,
and other concepts.
of ecology, society, economy, and other real situations.
of peoples' thoughts, attitudes and interactions.

Index of Games
Chinese Bridges
Coral Polyps and the Budding Reef Band
Color Chess
Global Warning
Life of Dreams
Soar Plane Racing
Orgy of Moderation
Robin Hood & The Sheriff of Nottingham
The Mating Game
Your Life Set to Music
The Trouble With Physics
Chinese, Buddhists & Aliens
Game Out of Balance
The Fruits of Plumbing

"To be playful is not to be trivial or frivolous, or to act as though nothing of consequence will happen. On the contrary, when we are playful with each other we relate as free persons, and the relationship is open to surprise; everything that happens is of consequence."

— James Carse, in Finite and Infinite Games: a vision of life as play and possibility

Copyright Notice
All the games shown below are copyright © 2007-2008 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.

Each player associates him or her self with one of the 4 colors and stands in front of the symetrically arranged "home strips" of that color, moving their beam and leveling it above their strip. The round, hook-covered, colored disks are placed symettrically 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.

Pieces: A central tower with 4 independently gimbaled sections supporting 4 indpendently 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 impared.
Playing time : 5 to 10 minutes

Concept: a game that is sculptural, kinetic, and physicsally engaging.


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.

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.


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.

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 pickd 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 which presents a montage of dark-hearted, hateful still images. Warning: this video contains graphic, violent, and disturbing images. Young people under 14 or senstive 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.

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 "slaping" 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.




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?"



Your Life Set to Music
Summary: Unprepared speakers and untrained musicians interact through word and sound.

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 interrupton.

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.

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.

Each speaker is to speak for 120 seconds on the selected topic saying, or acting, in any way they want.

Each musician, in turn, will play a toy rhythm machine called a Zoundz, which plays 1 to 3 simultaneous rhythms depending on which of 7 sculptures you place on each of 3 electrically sensitive sites. Musicians are shown the Zoundz and taught how it works immediately before the game.

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?