DIY SPY School

DIY SPY School (previously Pop Up Spy Academy) is an improvisational physical party game for 3-18+ players. Players train to be spies at an underfunded spy academy, using whatever objects are around to fulfil the missions. It is a comedy MacGyver game. The live festival version of the game debuted at Australia’s street gaming festival Pop Up Playground’s 2013 This Is A Door. The card game version is at the tweaking stage and so release will be announced relatively soon.

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Credits:
Christy Dena – writing & design
Marigold Bartlett – artist

Mechanic: improvisation, storytelling
Genre: Humour
Platform(s): Live festival game, card game
Audience: Party, Strangers (ice-breaker)
Playtime: 30+ minutes
Minimum Age: 12+
Theme: Spy
Player numbers: 3-18 players

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It was originally conceived as a game that combines digital and live play, continuing my design interest in pervasive games. The original idea: in 5 minutes you use anything available to fulfill your missions and train to be a spy. I then adapted the format to be completely live and for over 18+ players and last about 50mins. I developed a festival version, and am developing a card-game version.

I came up with the original idea in response to the 22Jams prompt of “make a game where you must be standing in order to play”. I didn’t have the time to create the game for the Jam, but the game stuck with me. Harry Lee of Wanderlands (who recently released their award-winning game Stickets), put out a call for collaborators on game projects. I took my game to Harry and he jumped on board encouraging the game to go ahead. We playtested the game at Harry’s Glitchmark game design event. I’ve since playtested versions at Popup Playground, JunkJam #2Playtest Saturday Afternoon in Melbourne; various homes and office buildings; a playtest event for IGDA Brisbane; with interaction design and writing students at QUT; colleagues at SAE Media Institute; players at the Boardgames & Beers Meetup (Brisbane); participants at Forward Slash Story; and feedback from Lorraine Hopping Egan. The name of the game was developed with contributors in the Card and Board Game Designers Guild.

It is a super fun game where everyone entertains each other. It works as an ice-breaker game, team-bonding game, and just as a party game with mates…in various states of inebriation.

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