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Public Spaces

Compliment random strangers on the Mall Oct. 18th

Did you ever play "assassin" in college or at camp, where you have to hit a randomly-assigned person with a squirt gun? In today's terror-fearful and nervous-security-guard times, that's a bad idea in a city, so Cruel 2 B Kind has morphed the weapons into... random kindness.

Your weapons may be serenades, compliments, or friendly greetings. A crowd cheer may catch players unaware. You never know when you'll face the smile that has your name on it.

Your targets are unknown to you. Players have no uniform, know the terrain as well as you do, and can blend in seamlessly. The only way to tell a bystander from another player is by bringing your kindness to bear against them. An innocent will be charmed; an assassin, slain.

Innocents will be caught in the crossfire, but when the weapons are random acts of kindness, the only collateral damages are smiling bystanders.

Here's Cruel 2 B Kind in San Francisco:

DC's is Saturday, October 18th, on the Mall. Register here.

P.S.: Ironically, I played a more traditional game of Assassin against this game's DC organizers back in the spring of 1999.

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


Fun! The organizer's comments about privatization of public space reminds me that the event following the 18th in DC HAS to be in "downtown" Silver Spring! It's probably illegal to play it there.

by Tom Aloisi on Oct 1, 2008 4:10 pm • linkreport

I'm imagining a type of "compliment grenade" where you use a portable loudspeaker and say "you look fantastic!" or "your smile made my day"...

by Scott on Oct 1, 2008 8:46 pm • linkreport

*glowers at Scott*

Not cool, man - not cool at all.

by Squalish on Oct 1, 2008 11:56 pm • linkreport

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