Casual Games for Protesters is an ongoing collection of games to be played in the context of marches, rallies, occupations and other protests. They require very little preparation and equipment.

Protests can often be alienating or difficult to access for some people — whether that’s because of safety concerns, lack of physical accessibility, burn-out or just not knowing how to get involved. And rallies and marches can be overwhelming, formulaic in their structure, unnecessarily grave, or even boring to attend.
We believe it doesn't have to be that way. Participating in social change should be exhilarating, social, intellectually and physically stimulating, liberatory and fun. Games can help craft those collective experiences.

Of course, context is crucial, and not all games make sense in all situations. The dignity and rage of the Ferguson uprisings involved mourning victims, expressing anger and campaigning for better lives. The blockade of the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock is shaped by the traditions and beliefs of the Native American tribes that lead the protests. Such situations may not always leave room for playfulness — or they may call for a different kind of play.
We have tried to compile a wide variety of games from many different sources and imaginations. We’ve remixed folk and parlor games, added a political twist to acting and training, borrowed liberally from our precursors, and made up new things entirely. We are indebted to a long tradition, from the experimental theater of Augusto Boal and the New Games Movement, from the creative protests of C.I.R.C.A. to the world of modern live-action games. Direct inspirations were the Tiny Games format popularized by Hide & Seek, Metakettle by Terrorbull games, and the playable poetry of Harry Josephine Giles.

What we haven’t included yet are less casual and more pre-prepared games for specific events. Such games could be deeply integrated with the theme and the tactics of a protest, complement its theatrics, and inform actions of civil disobedience. We hope that some of our games might inspire such inventive, radical and effective tactics.

We will see an escalation of unrest and mass participation in the coming years, in opposition to the resurgence of the extreme right in Europe and North America, as part of global responses to climate change and floundering neoliberalism, and in both local and international movements. Countering protest fatigue and making activism more approachable and stimulating must be a priority for everyone.

Casual Games for Protesters is a project initiated by Molleindustria and Harry Josephine Giles in February 2017. All games are public domain, when not otherwise specified. Attribution is appreciated, remixing is highly encouraged.

Do you have a protest game to submit or recommend? Get in touch with us!
Before the protest, gather together a heap of useful supplies (e.g. water, energy bars, painkillers, tampons, burner phones, bandanas, Maalox, bust cards). Devise a score chart together for what each item is worth. Divide them up, and stick a big clear note on your backpack listing what you have and that people can ask you for it. Keep score over the course of the day.
You only score points for what people ask you for, but you can also give things directly to people who look like they need them. Sometimes it's not about winning.
Inspired by Cata in this tweet
Snap Zap
One of you is the Hacker and the other is the Warden. As the Hacker, whenever you see spot a CCTV camera you can point at it and say ZAP, which disables it for the rest of the game. As the Warden, whenever you spot an unhacked CCTV camera pointing at the Hacker, you can point at it and say SNAP, which takes a picture of the Hacker. The Warden's aim is to take three clear, identifiable pictures of the Hacker.

Survival Mode: Play for 20 minutes. If the Warden takes three pictures, they win; if the Hacker survives, they win.

Hack Off Mode: The Hacker scores a point for every camera they hack. Keep playing until the Hacker is snapped three times, then switch roles and replay. Whoever scored the most points wins.

Liberation Mode: Mark out a zone on a city map. The Hacker's aim is to disable every CCTV camera in that zone before the Warden gets three snaps. If the zone is liberated, decide together what you'll do with your new freedom.
*Variation of Hide & Seek’s Snap Zap from 99 Tiny games
Power Network
You are a powerful person at an important summit. Make up an identity with a sinister name, nonsensical job title and corporation (e.g. John-James Manticore, Director of Human Development and Resource Integration, Sycorax Inc).
Quickly count up the number of players and subtract one: that's the target number. Your aim is to introduce yourself to all the other attendants by shaking their hands and exchanging your fictional names and titles. You can only let go of the other person’s hand when you have grabbed a new person's hand. Keep count of your connections.
The first player who introduces themselves to all the other participants wins.
*Variation of Good Day from Augusto Boal’s Games for Actors and non Actors
The Biggest Taboo
Without talking, all players must form a line in order of net income, from lowest on the left to highest on the right. When the line is formed and everyone is satisfied with their position, each player reveals their most recent annual income to the players on their left and right, swapping positions accordingly.
Repeat this until you are correctly sorted. The player who made the fewest swaps and therefore the most accurate guess wins, and everyone gives them the highest denomination coin or note they are carrying.
Peace, War, Revolution
A team variant of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Peace (two fingers held in a V) triumphs over War; War (two fingers and a thumb in a pointing gun) suffocates Revolution; and Revolution (a raised fist) is more transformative than Peace. History shows that the opposite dialectical relations may also be used.

Players divide into three teams of roughly equal size. Each group comes to a consensus on which position to take. Having decided, each team comes into the centre. At the count of three, all players make their signs and yell PEACE, WAR, or REVOLUTION. If all three signs are thrown, it's a stalemate and everyone swaps a player; if two signs are thrown, one or two teams will win.
If you win by War, you take a player from each Revolutionary team.
If you win by Peace, you can send a player to negotiate with the other teams in the next turn’s decision phase.
If you win by Revolution you have to exchange a player with each Peace team.

The first team that scores four victories with the same sign (not necessarily consecutively) wins – and so does any team that captures all the players.
*Variation of Panther, Person, Porcupine by Bernie De Koven
Sign Me Up
Ask a bystander what protest they would rather go to instead. Help them write a sign for that protest and carry it for the rest of the day.
Mind Reading
To be played when a group of cops are in sight. The Mind Reader secretly chooses a cop, and then improvises aloud an interior monologue for that cop, responding to their actions and gestures. The other players, without looking at the Mind Reader, have to guess which cop is the chosen one.
When everyone is sure, stare at that cop in unison.
Blame Game
Everyone is playing as a politician. Standing or sitting in a circle, one person accuses the next of having done something terribly wrong. The other person can’t outright deny the accusation, but rather has to defend and justify their actions while also incriminating the next player in the circle. Play continues, with all players working to keep their characters and stories consistent, until everyone has been blamed for something at least three times, or until war breaks out.
This game can also be played as “Calling Out”, with everyone roleplaying as earnest young activists, or as “Fourth International”, with everyone roleplaying as democratic centralists accusing each other of having deviated from the correct Party platform. Warning: playing either of these mods may result in ideologically incorrect critique.
*Variation of Fighting Cocks from Augusto Boal’s Games for Actors and non Actors
For the course of the day, disobey every rule you see written down or hear spoken, whether or not you disagree with it. Score a point for each rule you encounter and break. Which days and places have the most rules?
Phony Call
While on a demonstration, call a friend or family member and talk to them about the protest – or pretend to call them and talk.
All the other players pay close attention to your side of the conversaton and then guess whether it was a real phonecall or not. One correct guesser makes the next phone or phony call.
You are a covert messenger. Choose a route you need to travel and the uniform of your enemies: one item of clothing of a particular colour (like a red purse or a green shirt). Head from your safe house to your destination as quickly as you can, but whenever you see an enemy spy you have only ten seconds to escape from their sight or your vital message will be intercepted.
Adjust the difficulty by selecting a longer route, a busier time of day, or a new uniform: striped ties are a small intelligence agency, but blue jeans are highly funded and very powerful. Alternatively, instead of playing with moving spies, play with CCTV cameras. Look everywhere to make sure you don't miss one. Try not to seem too paranoid.
At a rally, before the speeches begin, write down five words they think will get spoken. (Don't choose “the” or “of” or the like, or the game will be boring.) Then swap playsheets with another player.
Whenever one of the words on your sheet is spoken, no matter how inspiring it is, score a point next to it on your sheet. After the rally, give the sheet back to its author. Everyone compares sheets. Any words that more than one player wrote down are discounted, because choosing that cliché was itself a cliché.
After crossing these off, the player with the most points wins, and has to make an inspiring speech about their victory.
No Comment
One of you is a Cop, the other the Prisoner. The Prisoner's job is to ignore or reply “no comment” to everything the Cop says. The Cop's job is to try to make the Prisoner laugh. If the Prisoner laughs or says anything other than “no comment”, the Cop wins. A lawyer will arrive in 10 minutes to shut down the interrogation. Good Cop Bad Cop Mode: Play with two cops. One can only speak, the other can only mime and make silly faces. No contact allowed.
Temperature Check
Each player secretly chooses a spot in their immediate surroundings, within 30 feet or so. It can be a small object, a mark, or anything that can be located with certainty.
One player is selected by consensus to be the Facilitator and is in charge of finding a spot that satisfies all players. The Facilitator moves to a spot, and the players have to express their opinion in silence using hand signals: wiggling fingers pointing up for Approval, down for Disapproval, and on the level for On the Fence. Once per game, each player can use the block sign (crossed arms) to become the Facilitator themselves.
When all players are signalling approval, the consensus is reached and everyone wins. But the player whose secret spot is closest to the Facilitator's point wins a little bit more.
Go to the very front of the march. Find someone there and ask what message they would like to send to the back of the march. Write that message down, then head to the back of the march and deliver it. To play as a pair, head to opposite ends and so carry messages in both directions.
Clown Cops
Pick a cop who's stewarding the march. Walk alongside them, matching their pace and style of walking, but ever-so-slightly exaggerated. Gradually exaggerate your walk more and more. If the cop insults you, you win.
*Classic Clown Army routine
Watch a video of an arrest that’s taken place at a protest in your country. Each player picks one person to roleplay in that arrest. If you can, put on some very dramatic, slow music. Now, perform all the exact movements of that arrest in slow motion, at half speed. Repeat at three quarter speed, and then at full speed.

Now add a few more players to play de-arresting activists. Come up with a plan for how they could intervene in the arrest to rescue the arrested protester. Agree it together, and perform it in slow motion — at half speed, then three quarter speed, then full speed.

Be careful of each other! It’s a contact sport. To learn new skills, contact local activists to find a trainer who’s done this before. Keep watching cops to learn new techniques, tactics, dances.
Press Room
Choose a player to be POTUS. POTUS is holding a press conference; all other players are the Journalists. The press must try to guess which country the USA is going to bomb next.

To ask a question, a Journalist raises a hand and shouts MR PRESIDENT! That Journalist can then ask a Yes/No question, which the President must answer with a lie, saying yes for no and no for yes. If the President doesn't know the answer they can make up something outlandish with complete confidence.

At any point a Journalist can guess the country to be bombed. If the Journalist guesses incorrectly, the President yells TAKE THEM OUTSIDE and that Journalist is knocked out of the round. If the Journalist guesses correctly, the President yells FAKE NEWS and both that Journalist and the President win. The conference lasts two minutes. If necessary, assign a Press Secretary as timekeeper. If the time is up with no correct guesses, nobody wins.
If you wish, the winning journalist may become the next President, or simply campaign for them and dictate their policy and strategy.
Take a photo of every cop you pass. Score a point for each new face. After the march, draw up a dossier. (Safety measure: mask up.).

Static mode, for blockades and similar: Sketch a detailed portrait of every cop on the line. Give them each a name and write it down next to their badge number. Remember to shout out their name and number if they attack.
Little Brother
Your aim is to take covert photos or film of the other players. If spotted taking footage, you must stop immediately. For footage to count, a player must be recognisable in it – either by clothes or by facial features, according to mutual agreement.
Play for at least half an hour at any kind of protest. Limit each recording to less than ten seconds for practicality and battery saving. At the end of the time limit, compare footage.
The player who took the most footage wins the Cop Award.
The player who appears in the most footage wins the Mask Up Prize, and any players who appear in no footage win the Covert Award.
If you win both the Cop and the Covert Award, apply to your nearest government intelligence agency or infosec division.

Advanced Mode: Play for a week. Expert Mode: Never stop playing.
Exorcise capitalism by pointing to a corporate sign and shouting it out loud – but backwards! Score a point for each exorcism; lose a point for each stumble or mispronunciation. Each corporation can only be exorcised once. First player to ten wins. Or keep going until capitalism crumbles.
*Variation of Counterspell from Hide & Seek’s 99 Tiny games
Face each other in pairs and close your eyes. Think about a possible solution for the issue that this demonstration is addressing. When you have formulated a clear thought, open your eyes. If your partner's eyes are still closed, close your eyes and come up with a different solution.
Repeat until you open your eyes at the same time. Exchange your thoughts.
During a march, write down a list of adverbs: e.g. awkwardly, boldly, lazily, gracefully, worriedly or begrudgingly. Silently choose an adverb and begin to protest in that manner – marching, chanting and talking awkwardly, for example. The other players must guess which adverb you have chosen and join the protest in the same manner.
Play continues until you are satisfied that everyone is protesting correctly, whereupon you pass the lead to a new player.
Hidden Links
Form a circle. Secretly choose two other players as Links and keep them in mind. Break the circle and scatter for thirty seconds. Then, locate your Links and move until you are an equal distance from each of them. Running and contact are not allowed. Continue until the group reaches an equilibrium.

Hard mode: during a march, choose one player and one non-player as your Links.
*Variation of Triangles from The Systems Thinking Playbook
We the People
Take turns at remembering and/or reimagining the constitution of your country (or any important national text, like an anthem). Start by reciting the first sentence of the given constitution (e.g. We the people of the United States...).
If you can’t remember it, or it doesn't exist, you can paraphrase or make it up as long as the result makes grammatical sense and isn't too contradictory to what's gone before.
If you end a sentence, or if you don’t say anything for more than five seconds, it’s the next player’s turn. The game ends when you run out of constitution-worthy proclamations, whereupon you all sign it and must abide by those rules forever.
The richest player provides a banknote of the lowest value in your currency (e.g. a one dollar bill). All the players then pinch the bill using only the thumb and the index finger.
The richest player shouts GO, and each player tries to pull the bill their way. Only thumb and index finger contact with the banknote is allowed, and you can’t grab or push other players. If you lose grip you are out of the game. If the bill rips, keep pulling until all players are out of the game or hold an uncontested piece.
The player who ends with the bill (or the biggest piece of the bill) wins.
Woman or Concept?
Whenever you spot a statue, monument or memorial which includes a feminine-presenting figure, stop immediately, point at it, and ask “Woman or Concept?”.
Fellow players then guess if the figure represents an actual woman who existed or a concept like Freedom or France. Correct guesses score a point. Imaginary or mythological women (e.g. Minerva) count as half points. The game can be played by yourself and lasts for the rest of your life, whether you keep score or not.
Split in two groups of roughly equal size, and start at least ten feet from each other. Each group decides on a rhythmic pattern of claps and starts clapping together. When both groups are ready they move towards each other until all players mingle. Each player tries to maintain their faction’s rhythm.
Will one rhythm prevail?
Will one faction lose their sync?
Will a new hybrid pattern emerge?

Competitive mode: one player is the juror and decides when a pattern is lost, declaring the winners.

Third party mode: one player is tasked with disrupting both factions’ rhythms.
Conspiring Means Breathing Together
Breathe deeply. Act as if the air you breathe makes you an electromagnet: the more air in your lungs, the more you will be attracted to the closest players. Move toward them until you lightly touch. As you exhale you are gradually repulsed by all other players. Synchronize.
The Pavement is Lava
As you march, imagine that you are three inches tall and that the pavement is lava: three-inch-you must go where you're going without ever touching the pavement. Track where you would have to climb, balance, leap and swing. Make sure not to fall in!

Advanced Mode: complete the same route with the same lava but as your actual self at your actual height.
Assata to Zapata
As you proceed through the demonstration, rename each street you pass after a revolutionary hero. Hold the map in mind: don't cheat by writing it down. Rewrite the city.

The next day, choose one player to give directions. They hide a special revolutionary prize at a secret location, and then give all the other players directions to that prize using the new street names. First player that gets to the prize wins.
Human Chain
At any point while you’re marching together, one of you can shout LINK UP! You must all link arms to form a human chain as quickly as possible. Time yourselves by counting out loud and try to beat your record.
Once you're all linked, one of you can shout SCATTER! and you must all break apart and melt into the crowd as quickly as possible.
If any strangers get confused and join your chain, explain what’s going on and welcome them to your affinity group.
Advanced mode: Choose one player to be the Cop. The other players can at any time point to a piece of street furniture and shout LINK UP! They must now form a human chain around the object before the Cop gets there.
War is Peace
A game for groups chatting on a march, or debriefing afterwards. You start the game when someone in your group says a big abstract noun like “peace”, “justice” or “freedom” by saying “I think you mean [opposite word]”. For example, if someone is talking about equality, you say “I think you mean meritocracy”, or something similar. Thereafter, the conversation continues, but “meritocracy” always means “equality” and vice versa.
If anyone gets it wrong then they are out. Add a new opposite word every five minutes, or, for more drawn out evenings, add a new word every round of drinks.
The last player speaking correctly wins.
As you march, keep as close a track of your exact movements as possible, such as with a notepad or dictaphone, noting down particularly significant moments or sights. Form a clear trail of light in your mind. The day after the march, come back and follow the same trail alone, remembering what happened. Then do it again at midnight.
A game to play when you’re stuck at the back of the rally and can’t hear any of the speeches. Watching the speaker on the podium, overdub their speech with your own words, mimicking all their movements as closely as you can. You can as political or absurd as you want. When the speaker changes, change players. The winner is the player who gathers the largest crowd.
Human Shield
One of you is the Target, the other the Shield. Now choose the Assassins for the game (easy: photographers; standard: all law enforcers; danger: riot cops). The Shield’s job is to stay in rough line of sight between all Assassins and the Target for the next 20 minutes. If the Target survives, you both win; if not, you lose. The Shield and the Target cannot communicate with each other by words or hand signals.
Stealth Mode: Play by yourself and choose a stranger as the Target; you also lose if they realise what's happening.

Training Mode: If you know about different types of law enforcers (like Police Liason Units or Forward Intelligence Teams), use this game to learn how to spot them.
Save or Smash?
Whenever you pass a statue or a monument, make a snap decision about whether it’s something worth saving or, as a symbol of oppression, something which should be smashed. If everyone agrees, smash it. The next day, research what you’ve destroyed.

Safe mode: imagine how to replace or modify the monument.
Mark out a playing space with a start zone at one end and a target at the other. One team is Protestors, the other is Cops. The Protestors start with two players, the Cops with everyone else.

The Protestors begin at the start zone and try to reach the target. They must all get there. The Cops are trying to prevent the Protestors from reaching the target. In addition, if two or more Cops link arms around a Protestor, kettling them, that Protestor is out.
If all Protestors make it to the target, a Cop becomes a Protestor for the next round. If any Protestors are caught, they become a Cop. Keep playing until either everyone is a Cop (Cops win!) or all but two players are Protestors (Protestors win!). If the Protestors win, they become the Cops for the next game.

This game can be played as a No-Touch or as a Contact sport. For No Touch, set penalty rules for anyone who touches another player; for Contact, set very clear guidelines around what forms of contact are permitted. Or don't, but pad up and take care of each other.
Blind Trust
During a march, one player marches with their eyes closed. The other players must direct them safely through the march, but without using words. Instead, the guiding players can blow gently on the guided player's head to indicate the direction they should move. If the guided player touches anyone else, the game ends. If you make it to the end of the march, everyone wins.