Inspired by the myth of the Minotaur, Cross my Heart + Hope to Die takes place in a life-sized labyrinth of 20-foot high hanging fabric walls. The game enacts the story’s tragic circle of desire as Theseus, the Minotaur, and Ariadne pursue each other to destructive ends.
Players are divided into three teams of three players each. One player on each team plays a character, each of them chasing one of the other characters and being chased in turn – the core mechanic of the game is a kind of Rock-Paper-Scissors Tag. Theseus wants to destroy the Minotaur. Ariadne stricken by love, pursues Theseus. And the Minotaur chases his half-sister Ariadne to get revenge for her betrayal.
The other two players on each team are guards, and carry long staves. A guard can stand at an intersection of the maze and stop – and no other player can pass. Their task is to protect their character and also to trap their character’s target.
The experience of Cross my Heart + Hope to Die is dense and engaging. The semi-transparent walls and the open layout of the labyrinth creates a sense of drama and excitement as players flit in and out of sight. As the guards open and close passageways in the maze, the game becomes a struggle of athletic, real-time tactics that feels something like being inside a first-person action videogame.
Cross my Heart + Hope to Die first appeared at the 2010 Come Out and Play Festival in New York City, where it won the special recognition Jury Award. Thanks to Danielle Baskin for the headdress designs. Photo credit: Lia Bulaong.
• PDF of The rules explanation that the referee reads to the players before each game.
• PDF of narrative signage installed in the game space.