Another collaboration with architect Nathalie Pozzi, Interference is a game in which you steal pieces from other players. Five suspended, superthin steel walls dotted with organic patterns resembling cell tissues act as vertical game boards and create the space of play. Interference premiered at la Gaite lyrique in Paris in 2012. It was exhibited at the Science Gallery in Dublin later that year, and won the Interaction Award at the 2012 IndieCade Festival of Independent Games.
The game is played by pairs of opponents (there need to be at least two pairs of players). Each pair plays only on a small section of one of the walls – a “cell colony” which is centered on a special black piece. Your goal is to have more of your color pieces in each of the cells of your colony than your opponent.
Complicating this simple strategy game is the fact that each turn, you take pieces from other colonies – the active games of other players. And they are doing the same to you, creating chaos in your game as you are playing. Typically, Interference players begin to metagame heavily, striking deals with players in other pairs, and telling them which pieces to remove.
The result is a game that is at once satisfyingly strategic and maddeningly manic – both highly logical and highly social. A crowded game becomes a beehive of activity, as players race around to visit games on other walls, strategizing with and against each other, becoming allies and enemies with strangers.
Nathalie and I would like to thank all of the support from the amazing staff at la Gaite lyrique where Interference premiered. Also special thanks to curators Lynn Hughes, Heather Kelly, and Cindy Poremba. Caino Design manufactured the amazing steel walls and provided sponsorship and manufacturing support. And also special thanks to Rebecca Jones-Sterling and Tim Tzetela, for key help on the wall patterns. And to our intercontinental legions of playtesters – thanks for all of the support and great ideas.
• The official project video, shot and edited by Emeric Adrain
• More images of the project can be found here on Nathalie’s website.
• For a complete description of the game design, here is a PDF of the rules in English and French.
• Here is the one-minute silent introductory video for the exhibition space – also English and French.
• And this is a link to a short raw video I shot of a crowded game in progress.
Image credits: Maxime Dufour Photographies, Isshak Ferdjani, Pierre-François Hagege