The Rules

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The Objective


In many ways, INSTANT WARNET is a game within a game. It functions on top of the already existing gaming mechanisms in social media culture. Play occurs within these real spaces, where skilled competitors win attention instead of points, trade influence instead of items and manipulate algorithms instead of rulebooks.

It is also an invitation to intervene. Around the world, platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have become sites of daily power struggles between majority and minority groups, louder and quieter voices. INSTANT WARNET is an occasion for targeted netizens and bystanders alike to enter the arena. Instead of looking away or logging off, we'll live vicariously through our performances and explore ways to talk back using the very tactics which are so often used to silence us.

As such, the central objective of the game is to learn to:

  1. Gain attention – as your character
  2. Cultivate resilience – as yourself

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How to play


During a session of INSTANT WARNET, players will role-play different characters on Instagram, performing various tactics on the platform and interacting directly with other players and non-players in real-time.

To begin, players should split up into teams of 2, and select the desired game mode. Each team should then take on a fictional identity, and build a profile for their character on Instagram. The two game modes which are currently available are: Adventure mode (using the gameplay cards) and Campaign mode (freeform).

Make your way through at least 5 rounds of tactics in order to complete a game. Points are rewarded for likes, conversations, flags and other forms of engagement. The team with the most points at the end of the session, wins.

What you need

  • At least 4 players
  • At least 1 smartphone per team, with Instagram installed
  • An internet connection
  • Gameplay cards

Set-up

  1. Each team should choose one of the available character classes as a base, or create your own character from scratch.
  2. Then, open a new account for these characters on Instagram. Use a burner email address and a VPN for a more secure connection.
  3. Follow each other’s accounts, and the gamemaster account, @iwarnet.
  4. Spend some time building your profile. Who are you? What is your gender? Who are your allies?

Gameplay: Adventure Mode

This mode is more focussed on chance, and is perfect for beginners. The primary game piece needed for this mode is the deck of cards.

  1. The group chooses which difficulty level they'd like to play, and how many rounds will be played.
  2. One team starts by picking up one tactic card from the designated deck.
  3. All teams get 10 minutes to perform each chosen tactic.

Gameplay: Campaign Mode

This mode is more focussed on strategy, and allows each team to choose the actions that they want to perform. This mode can be played using either the wiki or the gameplay cards.

  1. The group decides how many rounds will be played.
  2. Each team decides on a specific campaign goal: e.g. provoke a certain reaction from a chosen target.
  3. Using either the wiki or the gameplay cards as reference, every team should select one tactic per round, in the hopes of achieving their goal.
  4. All teams get 10 minutes to perform each chosen tactic.


Important!


  • First rule of improv: Always say yes.
  • Second rule? Stay in character.
  • Players can decide to skip any action that they do not want to perform.
  • Players can choose to switch levels at any time.
  • Screenshot every action you make, and engagement you receive. More attention = more points.
  • After the last round, count your points and come together for a collective debrief. Teams should decide whether to donate their profiles for future game sessions, or delete and retire them.


Scoring


  • For every follower at end of game: 1 point
  • For every like on comments or posts: 2 points
  • For every flagged comment or post: 3 points
  • For every DM conversation: 5 points
  • For every reply to a comment or post: 3 points
  • For every extraordinary exchange (decided on by the group): 10 points