Socks and Puppets - Game Rules (version the four)

1. Introduction

Socks and Puppets is about making and giving presents to people in the mail. Silly things, artistic things, stuff to make people laugh. It is entirely light-hearted, and not to be taken seriously. If you're playing this game to win, then you're definately doing something wrong.

2. Flow of the game.

Signups will run until midday on April 7th 2011 The game opens on the 8th April, and ends on 8th May. During this period, players make presents and send them, and write reports for the website.

In order to take part, each player emails to the Director a description of some kind of present they would very much like to recieve. (see below for gift ideas.) The Director then sends this wish, along with the intended recipient's details, to three suitors, who have about a month to make and get something vaguely representing the gift to the recipient. Gifts are sent annonymously, and should include a card containing the suitor's pseudonym. Every player in this regard sends three gifts, and recieves three gifts also.

Once the gifts are recieved, each recipient writes a short report describing what they were given. The Director publishes these reports on the website. Taking photographs is encouraged.

3. Signing up for the game:

The game is open to anyone at all, although if you are a minor, check with your parents before signing up. The Director may exclude players at his discretion, although is unlikely to.

Everyone who wishes to play should email the Director at with the following details:

There's no reason to provide false details, so don't. In all honesty, you should aim to spend at least half an hour on each present (Although I personally never manage to spend this little) - so think about whether you're likely to play the game when you get time.

4. Gifts.

When picking what gift to be sent, be considerate. Ask for something you can imagine as small and easily mailable, otherwise they're kind of hard to get to your target. Ideally they also need to be something that can be interpreted as something of artistic value, that could be made in half an hour or so, by anyone, with little expense. A sock puppet, for example, is fine, but "Make me a sock" is not, most people can't make you a sock. Similarly not everyone would have the lego to make "A lego Death-Star" but they would be able to make "A model Death-Star". Also, this game isn't about buying gifts, it's about making gifts, if it looks a suitor is spending to impress, they may be disqualified... uh... from... hmm, the annual mongoose race! yeah, that. You can't buy your way into our hearts you know.

Your gift also has to be something that it's reasonable for people to have a stab at. "Compose me some music" is a bit of a difficult request, because some people will be great at it, and a lot of people won't have a clue how to do it. "Write me the words for a love song to the tune of the hokey cokey" on the other hand is fine.

Think about what you want, a good gift is one that three people will all manage to make for you, but do in very different ways. It might be fun (if not recommended) to be a bit abstract in making your gifts, so "a dragon" may lead your suitors to be quite inventive in their approach. Try not to be too broad though. It's much harder to write "a poem" than it is to write "a poem about how badgers are more awesome than robots"

Cakes and other foodstuffs are not within the bounds of these rules, as the time spent in the mail could depreciate the quality of the gift. Bribing your suitor with additional gifts such as these is frowned upon by the Director, since it is naughty. There are no rules against bribing the Director, for he is fickle, and often hungry.

The Director, of course, may reject your proposal if he thinks it is against the spirit of the game, or too hard to do, it is a good idea to supply a couple of back-up ideas with your gift request, so as to ensure something gets picked. Also be sure to include relevant information in your bio about what you like.

E. Example gifts.

Here are some gifts that have been made in the past.

5. Reporting.

When you send a gift, or when you recieve a gift. Please, please send the director a quick report to say what happened. Your reports are the vehichle through which the world discovers how awesome you are, and without the reports, this is going to be a very boring website in a month's time. You can be as inventive or witty as you like in your reports. Feel free to write extensive stories about how your quest to obtain duct-tape nearly caused your uncle to lose his life to space-aliens, or perhaps you want to explain how you're using your new pirate-ship to entertain your puppies.

Your report can contain pretty much anything you want it to. Pictures, video, mp3s, whatever you want. The director will find a way to host it. It's recommended to send photographs if you have a camera, because we all like pictures, and it's quicker than writing 1000 words.

6. Bonus Prizes

A series of awards will be posted on the site at the end of the game (the end of the game is defined as the closing date for sending presents, although if you're late, you should still send your presents afterwards.) - who knows what kind of awards will be given, but there'll likely be awards for the best present, the best report and the funniest mongoose. There might be material awards for these prizes, like sketches or something. I dunno, it depends how awesome people are.

Rule 7. Winning the game.

Sorry, you can't win this game, but you do get an opportunity to be awesome. Isn't that enough for you?

8. The Benevolence Fairies.

In the past, we've found that only about 2/3 of all presents get sent. That's understandable, but it means that there's a small chance that someone might not get sent a present. Well, this time, the Benevolence Fairies are here to help! - if you make presents for people, but don't get any presents yourself, then the Director will know, and he will organise the elite present power of the BFF (the Benevolent Fairy Force) to ensure that you are fairly compensated! - If you sign up to be a benevolent fairy, then when the game finishes, the Director will contact you by email to arrange the making of gifts for those unfortunates who worked hard and did not get anything shiny for their efforts. The BFF may also make a small number of presents for people who did recieve gifts, at the Director's discretion. (say, if they made three amazing gifts, and got sent a picture of a face painted on a loo-roll for their efforts.)

9. Conduct and General Stuff.

10. Credits.

This game was invented by David Birch, although it was inspired by Steve Jackson's Killer, and a six hour car journey with too little sugar. You are free to invent and run your own game of Socks and Puppets, and modify the rules as appropriate, but please credit us a little bit, and tell us!.

Older versions of the rules for previous games can be found Here, Here and Here.

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