Sacrifice Play

Sacrifice Play

Losers go home. Winners go headless.

  • Date:16 Jul 2011
  • Location: Governors Island - Meet at the COaP HQ on the Parade Grounds
  • Address: Governors Island, New York, NY
  • Time: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
  • You’re a famous ullamalitzi player in the Aztec empire, and you’re about to play the game of your life. If you lose, it’s lasting disgrace. If you win – it’s off with your head!

    This strategic game pits two teams against each other in an easy-to-learn variation on the ancient Meso-American ball game. However, scoring a major point on the field results in your immediate “sacrifice” – which means you (symbolically) get your noggin chopped, and must leave the arena.

    But death isn’t all that bad. All sacrificed players constitute a third team of “phantoms” that ring the field, and can influence the outcome of play. As the group of phantoms grow, they can even win the game against the living!

    Designer: PlayRites Collective

    PlayRites hacks the rituals of the world’s wisdom traditions to milk out the play in things that are deadly serious. At last summer’s Come Out and Play in New York and the Hide and Seek Weekender in London, Shabbat-put! mashed up Jewish Sabbath rituals and the rules of the ancient Olympics. This spring, Union Theological Seminary commissioned a fully-gamed church service, which played out using the rules of blackjack.

    The most ambitious project to date is the Ten Year Game: a fully-gamed, belief-neutral religion that takes ten years to play. The New York version starts this fall (

    Founder Jason Anthony has recently been the keynote speaker at the Institute for the Future Ten Year Conference in 2011, talking about gamifying religion — a speech he will give again in August at the NExT ideas festival in Aarhus, Denmark.


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