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Game Day Events

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Whatever your cause for celebration, a Game Day is THE best way to squeeze the most exhilarating fun out of a single day. Our game is like a live-action version of a strategic board game; think Risk or Stratego but played on your feet and where the board is several square miles of parkland broken up into regions and provinces. You can work as a team or strike off on your own. Territories can be found, captured and defended and are often populated by mystical and dangerous characters. Ancient magical relics can be found in auspicious wild places and used with amazing effects. There are a wide variety of activities in any game that range from sportingly competitive to creatively improvisational in nature. Whether students like to dive into battle, wander the realm looking for hidden magic or seek out fantastic creatures to converse with, they will find something they love while immersing themselves in a beautiful natural setting.

Weeks before your event we will assign your students to various teams, with your input, and send them inspirational material. This could include maps of their group's terrain, some backstory on who they are and what their objective will be and small props they may find useful.

In the first hour of your game day, artists and actors will help each team create their tagging swords and shields and practice the rules of Safe Sword Tag. We then dive quickly into set-up and gameplay. The game exists within an overarching storyline that the kids will play out. Though the foundation game is strategic capture the flag, a layer of theatrical role-playing woven into the game will affect outcomes based on how the kids interact with each other, how they interact with characters they meet on the trails and how they use any magical relics found along the way. 

Though our game can be adapted for smaller terrain or even indoor settings, it is best played in a sprawling system of trails and fields with a variety of terrain. We can create a game day event at your location, but we highly recommend coordinating with one of the many parks or institutions we work with. We've spent years scouting the most beautiful and varied outdoor green spaces, public and private, and we can probably identify such a place within fifteen minutes of your location.

Our game days events last anywhere between 3 and 8 hours, though we recommend a 4-6 hour time frame with a lunch break included.

As with all of our services, Adventures in Cardboard  loves to collaborate. We usually author all storylines for our events, but we also love to incorporate creative elements that you are focusing on in your classwork or that your students have an interest in: from popular fan fiction to classic literature and mythology. Maybe your students have been creating their own fantasy or science fiction. Let’s talk!

Why tell fantasy stories?

Fantasy evokes a powerful kind of play where kids yearn to create and act out stories with high stakes. In a fantasy milieu kids are often willing to try things with surprising courage. Thrust into a scenario with imaginary consequences, Adventures in Cardboard  provides a safe place where kids are encouraged to try, to explore, to communicate, to fail with full hearts.

We weave stories into our gameplay where characters have built-in strengths and flaws. Kids can decide to be heroes or villains, obsessive or skeptical, absurd or poetic, all larger-than-life and in ways that lead to a greater capacity for critical thinking within cause and effect scenarios.

Kids improvise how a story plays out with our guidance earning the consent of other storytellers and creating a greater capacity for communication and empathy. A child who builds the most fantastic armor can become an icon in the game’s story and inspire imagination and passionate play.  Kids who are devoted to competitive physical play find it easier to “win” if they pay attention to the story and can convince others to follow their plan... or recognize the value of someone else’s charisma and consent to following them. Each participant finds their way into the story through Gameplay, Roleplay, or Crafting, which feeds a respect for a variety of talents and a stronger sense of community. The results are often miraculous.

Why play Gotcha Games?

A "Gotcha Game" is how Adventures in Cardboard refers to rough and tumble, safe gameplay with an imaginary scenario that increases the stakes of being caught by surprise or temporarily tagged-out.

Most tag games are "Gotcha Games" by this definition. When AiC adds instinctual guidelines for safe sword tag and a cardboard tagger, these are simply tools that enhance the imaginary stakes of our games and tie them to a greater group story. 

To be played well "Gotcha Games" require an experienced understanding of consent, empathy and the kind of mutual joy that rises when players enjoy their best efforts to best each other.

All "Gotcha Games" demand a high degree of presence in body, mind and spirit to be played well. This presence can be learned, often with the biggest barrier to engagement being a child's own fear. With inspiring, caring, understanding mentors this is a kind of play that most children can learn if it does not already naturally come to them.

Our "Gotcha Games" are highly imaginative and exhilarating, and yet these are competitive games that allow sporting competition to take place with the ability to immediately reset the contest and try again. The possibility of extricating oneself from the game, at will, is built in. In well-played "Gotcha Games" failure may be dramatic but quickly leads to a spirit of limitless attempts at success and each child can ramp-in their desired level of competitiveness.

"Gotcha Games" are sporting games that sometimes feel more accessible for kids who are are not drawn to the extended periods of team commitment, public performance or the rigid structure of organized sports. "Gotcha Games" can be indispensable tools for the socio-physical development of kids who find organized sports less accessible. These games also serve as great tools for emotional development and can help a child build a mature sense of sports-personship at a pace that feels safe to the child. 

Nonetheless, at AiC we will often increase the level of competition, risk and reward with a mature group of players. Our Tactical Weeks involve older, more experienced kids and can see quite competitive and deliciously fierce levels of gameplay that help us all build resilience, tenacity and character as well as any organized sport.

A mother's Testimony of "Cops n Robbers" from John Holt's Teach Your Own