The Soho Stag Hunt

The Soho Stag Hunt ran as the finale to The Soho Project, a small-scale ARG I was a researcher for. It's a very joyful game — the balloons help, there — so we also reran it as the finale to the Hide and Seek festival in 2008.

A man with a stag's head waits while people tie balloons to his antlers.
Photo by Frank Boyd

It's an example of how arbitrary constraints can be extraordinary helpful game design tools. For complicated reasons involving the Soho Project plot, the game had to involve a live stag hunt, and three golden balls; for my own part, I was convinced that it should certainly involve balloons. And there were the streets of Soho to play in...

Two players with balloons run along a Soho street.
Photo by Frank Boyd

The main problem with the Stag Hunt is all the small children who look longingly at balloons, using their enormous ees and wobbly lips to induce the less dedicated players to give their balloons up and run back to base for more.