Lea Albaugh


A game instruction sheet and laser-cut agent number badges.  The instruction sheet reads: "1. Pick an agent number tag and wear it visibly. 2. Text your agent number to HQ:
(number obscured) 3. Receive a list of classified code words. 4. Mingle. Act casual. Slip your code words into conversation, and observe. 5. Be on the lookout for friendly agents using the same words as you as well as enemy agents using suspicious words. 5. If you identify a friendly agent: text in their agent number to HQ. If you suspect an enemy agent: text in the suspicious word and the agent’s number. 6. Successful contact with a friendly agent is worth a major commendation to you both (+10 pts), and the correct identification of an enemy will earn you a commendation (+3) and the enemy a demerit (-2). However, a false report will result in a demerit to you (-2). 7. To abandon the mission, text “leaving” to HQ. Good luck, agent!"

A social game for guests to play at a cocktail party. Participants use text messages to communicate with the game; they are assigned a spy identity and words to surreptitiously insert into conversation, and told to report any suspicious words said by other partygoers to gain information about their identities. Subterfuge ensues. Production notes and a transcript of one playthrough are available at http://instamatique.com/hackerschool/blog/2013/11/11/project-writeup-spy-game/ and the code is available on Github.

A second iteration was produced for an adults-only event at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, with a rules rewrite to reflect the different context and larger group of players. Read about the second iteration at my blog. I presented this version as a “public beta test” at Different Games 2015 in Brooklyn, Princess of Arcade 2015 in Montréal, and ORDCamp 2017 in Chicago.

I also talk about this work in an interview at FemHype.