Monday, July 2, 2012

Let the games begin!

Hurrah! Hooray! Ура! The time has finally come--the Game has begun!

For those of you that may not know, "the game" is a role-playing experience for children around Russia that is hosted by Kitezh. This year the driving plot of the game is based on the video game Skyrim, which basically means that for two weeks kids aged 10 to 16 will have free range over Kitezh to complete quests, fight each other, and go on battles. And we couldn't be more excited! The arrival of our new guests went something like this: my kitchen crew-mates and I were serving dinner in the outdoor dining hall, when suddenly we heard the thunderous sound of 110 pairs of small feet hitting the pavement. Our cries of "Where's the rest of the sausages? Find the sausages!" and "Get the macaroni ready!" were drowned out by their deafening cries. The fun started that very moment.

Yesterday was the first full day of the games, so to save on blog space I will just give you the highlights. Everyone here is organized into one of three cities: Solitude, Vaytran, and my city (the best city) Rifton. The cities are essentially large camp grounds in the Kitezhian forest complete with fire pit and outdoor sinks. Within each city are about 30 kids, 10 volunteers  (aka game masters), and 2 adult leaders. Also within the world of Skyrim are 10 different guilds, ranging from traders, to vampires, to crafts people, you name it! Tomorrow the kids will get to choose which guild(s) they belong to, and then they will be able to go on quests against other guilds in order to earn money to purchase weapons or potions. As you can tell, this is no simple game. 

In a typical evening in the city, you will see:
  • Two fortune tellers from the Magician's guild trying to tell your future
  • A traveling singer from the Bard guild strumming his guitar
  • Kids playing games with dice while drinking tea from mugs
  • A cauldron bubbling over the fire pit
  • The market-place where kids can purchase snacks like biscuits or condensed milk
  • Resources like wood and tools so the kids can enhance their city (one city has already built a fort and set up guards, on the first day!)
  • Loads of costumes, weapons (harmless, don't worry), instruments, everything!

During the day in the world of Skyrim you'll find:
  • Bears walking around in the forest that you can kill for their skins
  • Traders you may have to steal from in order to complete a quest
  • Monsters that you must kill--before they kill you!
  • Hidden resources that can be traded in order to raise your defense points
  • Players practicing their sword skills in preparation for the next battle
  • Gladiator-style fights in the arena (the result of a treaty-signing gone wrong)
  • A water fight! Just once through, in honor of the first full day of the Game
As you can tell, things are getting really busy here in no time at all. Where do I fit in all of this? Well mostly my job will either be working in the kitchen to help feed these hoards of people, or I may get to play a role as part of a quest. Also in the world of Skyrim, each character gets to adopt a new name to welcome his new identity. The name I have chosen is Persephone (or it's Russian counterpart Persephonia), mostly because I like the mythological ties. What challenges will she face? Stay tuned for updates! For now I must run, the werewolves are out hunting, the vampires are feeding, and my city awaits!
(Photo credit to Jemma and Katya)

Three characters you may encounter: (top) A sorceress, (left) an amulet-maker, (right) a warrior.

Swords may be drawn, watch out!

The warriors guild are very proud indeed.

The kids themselves are battling for the pride of their cities. 

The way to defeat your enemy is to get him flat on his back. 

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