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A game for minimum of 4 players, ideally outdoors. Designed by Yann Seznec after conversations with Kristina Johansen Seznec and Louis Roots. Inspired (of course) by the waggle dance.
License: to run this game at your event or party you should make a donation to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (or similar organisation). Doing so will provide you with a full and irrevocable license to play this game as much as you like.
Players split into 2 evenly numbered teams, and don the costumes. Each team will be given a set of flowers. The game takes place within a designated play area called a meadow. The players converge in a mutually agreed area called the hive. This game would probably be best played with an independent official, known as the Queen Bee.
The costumes should make the players look like giant bees, and ideally make it very difficult for them to speak to each other. Therefore an ideal costume would be an oversized black and yellow striped sweater, a pair of wings, and a motorcycle helmet with some antennae attached.
The Queen Bee is in charge of the game and is the only bee who can speak during all of the play phases. She is in charge of starting each round, designating the timings and scoring, and enforcing the rules. She should have a costume befitting her status.
The meadow is the gameplay area. It should relatively open but ideally with obstacles. It should have no dangerous cliffs or roads. It can be inside or outside, and should be large enough to accommodate all of the players.
The hive is the area within the meadow that all the players converge to. The Queen Bee can at any point, and for any reason, summon all of the bees back to the hive. During Phase 2 the bees not in the meadow must remain in the hive.
The flowers can take any shape or size, but must be able to be carried with equal ease by all bees. Flowers fashioned from coat hangers or construction paper would be suitable, but this is left entirely to the discretion of the players (with ultimate decision making given to the Queen Bee). The flowers belonging to each team should be easily distinguishable.
The teams have 5 minutes (or other mutually agreed time) in which they can speak to each other. Any helmet or head device may be removed during this phase. During this time they should develop their team waggle dance language: moving your arms in circles means walk 10 metres, shake your left leg means turn left, etc. After the initial phase the players will only be able to communicate with each other through the medium of dance, so each team should work out a language which is both communicative and simple to remember. At the end of this phase the game progresses to Gameplay Phase 1, and the bees are no longer allowed to speak, all communication must be done through dance.
Gameplay Phase 1
During this phase each team places their flowers with the play area. They can (and probably should) be placed in a way that makes them difficult to find, but the flower should always be retrievable. For example, the flower can not be thrown into a tree or across a river. This phase should last 5 minutes (or other mutually agreed time).
Gameplay Phase 2
At the start of this phase one bee from each team can explore the meadow, with the aim of returning with an opposing team’s flower. Only one bee from each team can be in the meadow at a time, and that bee can only return with one flower.
Upon returning to the hive, the bee can indicate to the rest of the team where other flowers were seen. This can only be done through dance. Another bee can then go into the meadow to retrieve a flower. The bees in each team must take turns going to the meadow (i.e., one bee can not go to the meadow 5 times in one phase if another bee on the team has only been twice).
This phase should last 5 minutes (or other mutually agreed time). If a team collects all of the opposing team’s flowers the phase ends immediately.
At the end of the phase if the total number of points (see scoring) to win the game has not yet been reached, the game returns to Phase 1.
The scoring will need to be adjusted based on number of players, number of flowers, size of meadow, etc. The Queen Bee has final say on these matters of course, however here is a suggested scoring system:
For each flower returned within Phase 2: 1 point
Bonus points for collecting all flowers and ending phase: 3 points
Penalty for multiple bees in meadow at one time: -5 points
Game ends when a team reaches 20 points.