IndieCade 2010 is home to a cavalcade of creativity in various areas of gaming. There is no denying, however, that some of this year’s entries have ventured away from the realm of tradition and border on the bizarre and quirky.
Among the more non-traditional entries at this year’s convention is Sixteen Tons from Nathalie Pozzi and Eric Zimmerman.
Sixteen Tons is a non-digital game named after an old folk song by Tennessee Ernie Ford of the same name. The chorus begins with, “You load sixteen tons, what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.” That’s the principle that applies to Pozzi and Zimmerman’s game.
The game involves eight heavy steel pipe pieces, four players, three dollar bills from each player, and a four-by-four grid. Players attempt to move their pieces into a winning position, but can also pay other players to perform this task for them. Money is exchanged throughout every turn until the end of the game. Interestingly, the rules are intentionally ambiguous about the official role of the money. Players can up the stakes by taking out larger bills and at the end of the game, the player can simply return the money to the owners or keep the money for themselves. In that sense, Sixteen Tons becomes as much of a social experiment as it is a game.
Sixteen Tons was recently seen at the NYU Game Center’s “No Quarter” games exhibition in May after it was commissioned by the Art History of Games conference in Atlanta back in February. Players will get a chance to learn the rules in practice and see the game in action when Sixteen Tons comes to this year’s IndieCade.
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