October 16, 2005 2:15 PM PDT
'Graveyard Games' makes lively debut in Bay Area
(continued from previous page)
a queen to go with a 10, a jack and a king in the community cards each team shared--we weren't the first team back to the bench. The rules said that in case of a tie, the winner was first back.
After half an hour, a murmur spread across the cemetery. Players perusing the "Last Call Poker" Web site on their wireless Treos and Sidekicks discovered we had a new task: Find a box hidden on the grounds that would lead us on a new hunt.
Within minutes, everyone was running up and down the rows. Someone found the box in a bunch of geraniums and we all began to follow new clues that went roughly like this: Go to a spot northwest or southeast of where you are now, walk thirty paces, look for the tombstone of someone who lived from 1906 to 1913, write their name down. Repeat. Again and again.
We spread out and combed the rows. Here? No. There. Yes! We'd all run to the new spot, read the clues out loud and then move on to the next one.
This went on for a good hour. We finally ended up at the last tombstone, where, we were instructed, we were to make an offering of at least 500 chips to a child who had died at seven, form a circle to pay homage to the boy and then await further clues.
Fitting the real-time nature of the game, those new instructions came live via the Web. Those with Treos and Sidekicks would punch up the "Last Call" site, find a clue, read it aloud and then we'd all try to decipher it.
Somehow, the 500-plus chips we donated actually added up to 666. It had to be fate. Then we formed the circle and sang "Amazing Grace." Then we waited.
It turned out the last clue would be broadcast on the radio. Someone figured out, via the Internet, that the radio station was 101.9--the Web site had spelled out ten, ace, nine--and there was a rush to find a radio that could receive the station. Finally, with all of us gathered tightly around, we got it. One player--by chance, my poker partner--listened on headphones and shouted out the instructions. Basically they boiled down to poetry, thanking us for our participation: "I do love to watch smart, creative people do what I tell them," Lucky crowed from the ether.
After that, it was over. There were beers to be drunk in a local tavern, and strategizing for future rounds of Tombstone poker to be played. Prizes were handed out to those with the most chips and then we all went on our ways, happy to be alive and excited to be on the vanguard of an entirely emergent kind of game play.
7 commentsJoin the conversation! Add your comment