SCALE Poker!

Down with “grinding” in games! My least favorite activity in a game is mindlessly clicking and collecting. You won’t catch me playing Cow Clicker or any of its imitators. I’d prefer a challenge.

Off the Internet, my least favorite grinding games are the ones where you have to go around to the booths at a trade show to collect stamps. Where’s the play value in that?

Don’t take this the wrong way???I like trade shows as much as the next person, probably more. When my parents took me to a home improvement show as a boy, one of the exhibitors gave me a sample of some reflective material you were supposed to put over your windows to save energy. My parents didn’t go for the window treatment, but I used the stuff to make the face mask for my best robot costume ever. And I was hooked. Circus, meh. Museum, meh. Give me a trade show any day.

So how do we make a game that’s worthy of the awesomeness that is the SCALE exhibit hall? And how do we tie in the conference tracks to this game of ours, too? It’s not easy, but we’re giving it a try.

Last year, the SCALE organizers decided to put some challenge into the old conference game idea. What we came up with is something called “SCALE Poker Quiz.” The object of the game is to put together the best possible five-card poker hand. Easy, right? Not so fast. Each card has not just a suit and value, but also a cryptic answer to a trivia question. And, as you might expect, you can only count a card as part of your hand if you can find the matching question.

People had a good time with the game last year. It “enouraged people to circulate and break conversational ice all around the show, but played at the highest levels it was also a genuinely challenging puzzle.” So we’re doing it again this year.