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Watch the Skies – How wearing a tea towel on your head means you win the game

Watch the Skies – How wearing a tea towel on your head means you win the game

Last weekend we travelled to UCLAN in Preston to play Watch the Skies, and full on interactive, role playing, pervasive game of strategy, politics and war. Think Risk, with aliens, acted out in real life. Sort of.

After over 6 hours of game play, we had an amazing time, we think we might have won, and we still have no idea how we did it!

First us up, we were playing as Saudi Arabia, so despite some resistance from unsure members of the team, we arrived, and promptly secured tea towels to our heads. We weren’t the only team to put the effort in, the French team could be spotted by their berets, and were often seen wandering around with baguettes, many military players could be spotted in various camo gear, and a variety of lab coats could be seen on the science officers as they attended their conferences.


While the organisers were getting set up two things became apparent;

  1. A lot of people didn’t really know how the game was going to work, so we weren’t entirely alone
  2. Despite the above, we still seemed to know a lot less than everyone else. As it happens, everyone except our team received a Human Handbook prior to arrival. Cue frantic reading of several pages of rules, and ensuing confusion

We were slightly worried that at this point we were going to struggle, but thankfully there were a lot of game controllers on hand to help out. A few of these in particular were amazing, and not only did they put up with our constant questions, but were incredibly helpful at walking us through all the aspects of the game relevant to our roles, and within a few turns we seemed to get the gist of what we needed to do.

The brief for Saudi Arabia explains that we operate on a ‘Live and Let Live’ policy, we wanted to fully research alien technology to benefit our economy, stay ahead of the USA in terms of technological advancement, and protect a more traditional way of life.

Our Chief Science Officer did a very good job of researching as much as possible, and despite rolling an instant fail on the first turn, we seemed to get ahead of everyone else quite quickly. By turn 6, we had already developed our own spaceship, thanks to the quick thinking of the Chief Science Officer, we used alien technology to convert one of our interceptors into a space craft, and this gave us the option of space travel a good few turns ahead of anyone else.

Our Chief of Defence Staff however (me), didn’t seem to quite manage to remember the team objectives throughout the game. On my first visit to the control map, I discovered that an alien craft had appeared above Saudi Arabia. Completely ignoring our ‘Live and Let Live’ policy, I panicked, and attacked the alien ship. Whilst damaging it, I did not manage to shoot it down. On the first turn, no one else attacked, just me. Ooops.

Following on from my accident, we were contacted by the aliens who told us that they were confused, and that they would reciprocate. This resulted in blind panic from us, a hastily written sorry note, and shoving sweets into an envelope to send back to the aliens. After a lot of sweet swapping, it appeared that the alien culture was based on reciprocation, and so whatever they did to us, they then expect us to do to them, and visa versa. They also told us that they come in peace, and we ended up working with the aliens, and developing reasonable communication with them.

Thanks for reading!
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