Train Mafia, CPH Edition

This week Lau and I finally ran Train Mafia here in Copenhagen, on the Metro!

We started at Islands Brygge, went down to Vestamager, rode all the way to Vanløse, and then ended back at Islands Brygge.

The Mafia handily won the game on the first train – the citizens just made too many impulse kills, and ignored the Mafia truism that the most silent players are usually the guilty ones. The second game was fun, but perhaps a little too slow. In retrospect, the round times for the second game were too slow. If we had run double the number of rounds, for instance, there would have been more opportunities to read voting patterns to feel out people’s second-game identities.

Unsurprisingly, the game “felt” very different from the one we ran in NYC for Come Out & Play. In New York, the game certainly created a “scene” – other passengers looked at us strangely, and would ask us what we were doing. Part of the fun, in that regard, was creating a public spectacle (assuming you could get over the awkwardness of it all). But on a more sobering note, the NYC game also faced some awkward racial and socioeconomic tensions as the subway progressed deeper and deeper into the Bronx (we took the 4 all the way to the end). The whole experience raised some interesting questions related to the ethics of pervasive games. Say you just got on the subway to head into Manhattan, and a bunch of predominantly white and Asian hipsters were yelling and running around? You might not be too thrilled either. At one point, a drunk guy even started angrily screaming at us to shut up (complete with offensive, anti-Asian racial epithets), to the point where we had to switch cars just to avoid a scuffle.  His behavior was by no means justified, but I do wonder whether we were “asking for it.” At the very least, I believe this incident shows that pervasive game designers (myself included) need to be more cognizant/respectful of the spaces they’re appropriating.

By contrast, here in CPH we were hardly noticed. Just another Thursday night drinking on the Metro!

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UDFLUGT: Train Mafia 6. april kl. 20.15 | Deduco
April 05, 2010 at 05:04 PM

[…] on the Copenhagen Metro in the evening, after dinner. Some of you played it back in November (see here), and can vouch that it’s a lot of […]

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