Game Jam Winner Spotlight: The 24th Kandinsky

from the gaming-like-it's-1924 dept

This is it: the last in our series of posts focusing on each winner from our public domain game jam, Gaming Like It’s 1924! So far, we’ve featured Hot Water, Legends of Charlemagne, 192X, The Hounds Follow All Things Down, and You Are The Rats In The Walls, and now it’s time to wrap things up with the winner of Best Analog Game and a game that, perhaps most out of all the entries, is completely suffused with a spirit of remixing and mining the public domain: The 24th Kandinsky by David Harris.

This game was one of the first to draw our attention as the entries were coming in, just based on its premise: players are tasked with using visual elements from the 23 paintings that famed Russian abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky created in 1924 to create a brand new work — a “24th Kandinsky”. This is a game about not just admiring art but digging into it and picking apart its components, and all that’s required to play is a blank canvas, some paper and drawing implements, a pair of scissors, and some sticky tack or tape. On each of their turns, a player selects an element from one of Kandinsky’s newly-public-domain works — choosing from all the geometric shapes, swooping curves, checkered grids, intersecting lines and other abstract forms that are the hallmark of his work — and draws a replica of it, which they then cut out and affix to the canvas wherever they choose. They can overlap and underlap other elements as the new work grows, and at the end of each round all players vote to determine who made the best contribution, leaving their element in place while the others from the round are removed. Turn by turn the work grows more elaborate, until time runs out or players agree to stop, at which point the player who won the most voting rounds gets to keep the completed work.

There is just so much to love about this idea and its execution. It manages to celebrate just about everything that we hope to highlight with these game jams: the value of new works entering the public domain, the incredible creative power of remixing and appropriation, the joy of artistic collaboration and spontaneous creativity, and the way games can be an ideal medium for all these things — for both game designers and players. Mechanically speaking, it does this with elegance: the rules are loose and simple, but carefully combine cooperative and competitive gameplay to achieve a balance of incentives that produces just the right mood for a game like this. It also serves as a foundation for people to create their own variants of the game: one can easily envision it being adapted to use different source material, more elaborate art supplies, and even modified rules to create different overall rhythms of play. And with every play session, a new piece of art is created, and that’s a special thing for a game to achieve.

You can download the rules and materials for The 24th Kandinsky on Itch, or check out the other submissions in our public domain game jam.

And with that, we’ve reached the end of our game jam winner spotlight series! One more time, thanks to everyone who submitted a game or played the entries, and to our amazing panel of judges. We’ll be back next year with a game jam for works from 1925, but until then, keep on mining that public domain!

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Comments on “Game Jam Winner Spotlight: The 24th Kandinsky”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Hey I like this game, and it brings to mind another one: the MAGA game! Just take any one of the ridiculous policies promoted here on Techdirt, and forget about it, FOREVER! Open borders? GONE! Open source? GONE! Anti-police? GONE! Anti-patent, Anti-copyright? GONE! Celebrating traitorous transsexuals? GONE! Replace these stupid ideas with Great American ideas! Cheaper medicines for every American? coming soon! Cheaper medical care for every American? Coming soon! More high quality connections with family and very close friends? Already here! Procreation? On the rise! God bless all the new Americans that are on the way! (I know what you Techdirt lefties are thinking- abortion? Gone FOREVER!)

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Remember when ya boi Trump said the virus would be gone in February? How’d that turn out then?

It’s a joke to see how far you’ve fallen, Hamilton. Remember when you said you’d dance on the corpse of this site? You’re the jilted lover that can’t stay away. When are you going to make like John Smith and get married in a Pacific island somewhere?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

This site has been dead and not nearly by Shiva’s hand now, is it? Where’s the bravado? The boasting? All you have is sad little power fantasies you have to write shitty Melania Trump fanfiction to just to nurse your pathetic wounds. Fuck’s sake, Hamilton, a mosquito has a nastier bite than you do. Get over yourself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You’re just a sad case now. Totally off the deep end. If I thought you had the sense to seek medical help I’d say you were off your meds but we all know you’re holed up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, prepping for doomsday and cleaning your never-fired guns while talking to the walls. Completely batshit insane.

Trump’s days in office are numbered and quickly counting down to zero. You and your right wing nutjob idiots will finally blend back into the woodwork and get back to mailing anthrax and blowing up buildings with trucks full of fertilizer. The world can finally stop having to be exposed to your anti-social rants and you’ll be free to wither away, alone and unloved, where nobody will know you’ve passed until the next RWNJ finds your desiccated corpse in the cabin they just bought for a song. And I can hardly wait.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:


Oh, Hamilton. Reading every post of yours is like suffering a concussion on top of an anuerysm.

Open borders? GONE!

Nobody at Techdirt, and no one in the comments that I can recall, has ever advocated for “open borders“ in the sense you think they have (which is “anyone from anywhere can come into the country at any time and for any length of time”).

Open source? GONE!

Have fun with IE6! And expensive-as-hell Photoshop! And expensive-as-hell Microsoft Office! And basically every other proprietary application for which there is a free, open source alternative! (Or, to put it another way: Have fun using decade-old proprietary applications because you can’t stand the idea of open source applications for some reason.)

Anti-patent, Anti-copyright? GONE!

Yeah, no. That shit isn’t going away. If anything, the patent mess around Softbank trying to block COVID-19 tests and the hullabaloo around the 3D printng of a valve for breathing equipment will ensure further criticism of the patent system.

Celebrating traitorous transsexuals? GONE!

Do you hate Chelsea Manning for being a whistleblower who exposed American wrongdoing (including potential war crimes) in Afghanistan and Iraq (because God forbid the U.S. be held responsible for killing civilians indiscriminately~!), or do you hate Chelsea Manning for being a transgender person (because God forbid they exist~!)?

Cheaper medicines for every American? coming soon!

If it was actually “coming soon”, it probably would’ve happened already. But Republicans likely own stock in pharma companies and receive lots of lobbying/PAC donations from pharma execs, so don’t bet on greedy capitalists “correcting” that “mistake” any time soon.

Cheaper medical care for every American? Coming soon!

The Republicans tried to revoke the Affordable Care Act and return the country to a pre-ACA status where healthcare was more expensive then than it is now. They had no actual replacement plan for the ACA, and they still don’t. Besides, healthcare should be nationalized anyway; nothing good comes from making someone’s life contingent on whether capitalism says they can afford to live.

More high quality connections with family and very close friends? Already here!

Yeah, and the Republicans aren’t responsible for that, seeing as how they’re the ones who were (and arguably still are) downplaying the coronavirus. How many times did Trump say the virus would be gone within days only for him to be proven wrong?

Procreation? On the rise!

Sex? Maybe. But you can’t prove a causal correlation between current birth rates and the coronavirus, especially given the gestation period of a human embryo. If birth rates spike in nine months, sure, you can make that argument. But you can’t make it now, and trying to do that makes you a disingenuous asshole.

abortion? Gone FOREVER!

Legal abortion? I could see that coming to pass since Trump has stacked the judiciary with conservatives who are ready and willing to overturn Roe v. Wade for the sole reason of “the law should force all women to give birth even if doing so kills them”. But unlawful abortion? Not a chance in hell.

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