Random Walk

Random Walk – new surrealist game Feb 2010

This is another collective, random word generator.

A random walk is a mathematical model associated with chaos theory in which one random step is taken at a time from a starting point. It can be applied to economic modeling.

It is perfectly suited to surrealist explorations.  Here is how to play this game:

  1. Group of about 5 people in a team, each person has seven plain index cards. On each card, write a word or phrase as follows (three nouns, two verbs, two descriptive words):
    1. A person or group
    2. A place
    3. A thing
    4. An action verb
    5. A state of being verb
    6. An adverb
    7. An adjective
  2. Shuffle the cards and lay them out face down in a matrix as square as possible (e.g. 7 X 5 cards).
  3. Players take turns. The first person turns over any card and places it face up in its original position.
  4. The next person turns over any card adjacent to the previous card, placing the new card face up in its original position. If stickers are available, place a sticker to attach the two cards and draw an arrow on the stick pointing from the first to the second card. The stickers with arrows will show the developing random walk.
  5. The next person has a choice – turn over another card adjacent to the previous card, or make a sentence using all the words revealed so far.
    1. All the newly-revealed words must be used.
    2. Any other words can be used as desired.
    3. It must be one complete sentence (no fragments, and no more than one sentence).
    4. The sentence should follow on in some way from all previously-generated sentences to make a surrealist story. Irrationality is good, but finding connections and associations with the other sentences is also good.
  6. The player writes the sentence onto a sheet of paper. This forms the first sentence of the story.
  7. Play proceeds as above, with new sentences being added to the story.
  8. Once the path of the random walk has been exhausted (there are no unused cards adjacent to the last revealed card), play stops.
  9. Read out the story and photograph both the random walk and the paper with the story. Post to the web if desired.

I hope to play this game the next time we have a chance to hold a salon.


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