Tiny Games are a collection of very small, very quick-to-understand games. They’re able to sit in the real world, inviting participation from any interested passer-by. Their rules can be summarised in just a couple of sentences. They sprang initially from two conceptual challenges: was it possible to fit a complete game into the 140 characters allowed by Twitter? And what sort of game could we make for an outdoors space that could run over the course of a month with no moderation, and no equipment provided on-site?

In response to these trains of thought we developed a set of Tiny Games tailored to the outdoor areas of the Southbank Centre, to run during the 2011 school summer holidays. These ten games sat in place around the site, where passers-by could encounter them and play without any need to plan. More dedicated players came along specifically to hunt out and play all ten games.

People Poohsticks

A game for any number of players. Look at the people below. Every player picks one person – anyone who hasn’t yet reached the green dot. Race your picks: the player whose person passes the red dot first is the winner.

You’re Getting Married in the Morning

Watch people as they go up and down the stairs. Choose one to marry, out of the first 100 to pass by, the moment they walk past. No going back; if you haven’t chosen by number 99, then you have to go with
number 100.

Invisible Mirror

A game for two players, standing on either side of the pillar, facing each other – but with the pillar in between. Player 1 chooses a pose; Player 2 has to try to copy it without seeing it, asking ten yes/no questions. After ten questions, you both jump out from behind the pillar, still holding your pose, to see how close the asker got. Then try again, but switch roles. The person who gets closest to their opponent’s pose is the winner.

Eye Contact

A game for two or more players. Race from one end of the terrace to the other. You’re only allowed to move while you’re making eye contact with someone else.

Pictures by Paul Bennun (last) and Peter Law (all others).