The New Games Book - ed. Andrew Fluegelman

"Play Fair. Play Hard. Nobody Hurt."
Until recently I'd never heard of New Games, the New Games movement, or the New Games Foundation from the 1970s. But I had played and seen games that were directly descended from the movement: pushing a massive inflatable ball across a field, playing with parachutes, even the lap sit. This book, published in 1976, chronicles the start of New Games and then provides the rules for a slew of them, arranged by number of players (from "Games for Two" to "The More the Better").

It's hard to say which of these games were original to the New Games movement and which were just modified some: tug-of-war, for instance? But their description of Frisbee Golf definitely predates the current disc golf courses with the chain-baskets: it's more of a pick-your-target and fling a frisbee at it.

The people in the black-and-white photos certainly date the book, too, and it gives the sense that the New Games movement was pretty heavily influenced by hippies. They even point out that the first one or two New Games Tournaments were attended mostly by long-haired young white men.

Still, there are some fun outdoor games to be found here, variations on Tag, and a few essays about the spirit of New Games. The idea is to foster competition without being so caught up in winning. Your opponent is also your partner; everyone should have fun; rules are fluid and should be changed if they're no good.

I can't find any evidence that the New Games Foundation is still around, but I did find a website,, run by a guy who was around during the early days of New Games. I see that the price of an Earthball has gone up significantly, and that there's a much more recent book Best New Games, which would probably be a better bet than this one (unless you're just wanting a little more of the history).

Fed to jonathan's brain | February 16, 2007 | Comments (0)


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