Crossroads is a mobile-phone powered street game. It is designed by area/code for “The Good Life: New Public Spaces for Recreation,” at the Van Alen Institute.

The game is inspired by the traditions of New Orleans Mardis Gras culture, and especially those aspects of the urban experience which have changed in the wake of flood.

Specifically, the game draws from the idea of the second line – the parade of musicians whose route is never determined in advance. Traditionally, the second line moves through the city in a spontaneous and semi-random manner, drawing an unplanned path through disparate neighborhoods and cutting across social, cultural, and economic boundaries. Last year, for the first time, the second line agreed to submit their route to Mardi Gras parade officials prior to the event.

Crossroads does not make such concessions.

Crossroads is a two player strategy street game. The players, SUN and MOON, move through the city capturing intersections.

The goal of the game is to control the most intersections at the end of 30 minutes.

To achieve this goal you will have to contend with the Vodun loa BARON SAMEDI, an invisible spirit who wanders capriciously through the city, turning the world upside down. It’s impossible to control the Baron, but you can influence his actions by placing offerings around the city.

The game is played within the neighborhood near the exhibtion, as outlined in the map above. Specially prepared phones can be checked out at the front desk. The phones have the Crossroads game running on them, and automatically determine the positions of the players ... and the location of the Baron, visible only to the players in the game.

The younger player plays the Moon, and the other player is the Sun. Each player moves to his or her starting position, as indicated on the map. When both players are in the correct position, the game will start automatically.

Once the game begins you can move around the game grid, capturing intersections. There are 24 intersections in the game, as illustrated on the map.

Whenever you approach an intersection, you will automatically begin capturing. You must remain in the intersection for 30 seconds to capture it.

The Baron moves on his own, and is only visible to the players in the game. No one knows where the Baron will go.

The Baron spreads chaos. Whenever the Baron arrives at an intersection controlled by either player he flips control of that intersection to the other player. A word of caution: the Baron is dangerous. Don’t let him touch you!

You can influence the Baron’s behavior by placing offerings at intersections on the game grid. Each player starts the game with 12 offerings. One or more offerings can be placed at any intersection (not just your current location).

When the Baron sees an intersection with offerings in it (with a direct line of sight), he will move towards that intersection. If he sees more than one intersection with offerings, he will move towards the intersection with the most offerings.

The player with the most intersections at the end of 30 minutes wins the game. If there is a tie, the game goes into Sudden Death. The next player to capture an intersection wins the game.

When the game is over, return the phones to the Front Desk. Avoid traffic, darkness, and the Baron.