We had our final class in Big Games on Friday. Our class headed out to Washington Square Park for some good ol’ fashioned play testing in the grass. The best game we played was “Battle Ninja”, based on the Ninja hand-slap game, that uses your speed, agility, and reflexes to attack and defend yourself against your enemies.
In regular Ninja, two people or more stand facing each other and countdown outloud “1, 2, 3, ninja.” After the countdown, each player strikes a ninja pose. Player 1 takes one swift movement to try and slap player 2’s hands. Player 2 makes one motion to move out of the way. On the next countdown, player 2 goes to slap player 1’s hands, and player 1 tries to move out of the way. This continues until someone strikes the other person’s hand. Once a player attacks (or dodges their opponent’s strike) they must FREEZE in the position they left off.
The object of the game is to use your hand to hit your opponent’s hand. In this case, “hand” means fingers, thumbs, backhand, and palm.
In our version of “Battle Ninja”, the class of 20 people is divided into two teams of 10 people each side. Each team names a “king” who carries a styrofoam sword and frisbee shield, and the others are ninjas sworn to protect their king. Every player on a team wears a special cloth band to denote loyalty to their King. The two teams start the game on opposing sides of an open playing field, at least 20 feet apart. There should be an empty space in between, like chess.
The Kings take turn calling out “1, 2, 3, attack” for their team, and the game proceeds as usual, with each side taking turns attacking or defending. Players can attack whoever is near them (attack as in; slapping another opponent’s hands) with one swift motion. If a player’s hand is slapped, then that player must die on the battle field and strike a death pose in place on the field.
Our class had a lot of fun playing this game. We play tested several rounds, and came up with different strategies to protect the King. One strategy is to form a box around the King so that players don’t move forward until absolutely forced to engage with the other team. Another strategy is for the King to move sideways, as far away from the other team as possible. (Kings are not allowed to move backwards because that makes it too difficult for the opposing team to catch ’em) Another strategy is to form a V-shape around the King, protecting the King from flank attack. Another strategy is to send assassins to kill the opposing King, while the others defend.
Photos courtesy of Michael Edgecumbe.