On an unassuming city block, a flock of fledgeling puppeteers learn to perfect the flight of birds by playing a game of tag against a monster.

flightless played at Come Out and Play SF 2013


One player dons the Monster mask (cardboard hat with a big mouth and teeth) which is also a container of CANDY.

All other players take up a bird puppet (cardboard/paper-mache with basic hinged wings, flapped simply by holding it under the 'armpits' of the bird).

Players fly their birds by flapping the wings and walking/running/diving/climbing anywhere they wish to go; there are no boundaries. If a player doesn't know how to puppeteer their puppet, they can learn by imitating other players. The object is to puppeteer so skillfully that it attracts the attention of the Monster.

The Monster chases down and snatches the bird puppet that it decides is being ‘puppeteered the most beautifully’, at which point:

The game ends when all the candy is gone. The winner is the one who's stomach is the most full.


The Monster can only grab birds who are not in a Flock. A Flock is defined as 3 or more birds flying within arm’s reach of each other. (If the ‘most beautifully puppeteered’ bird is in a Flock, the Monster must find a next-best bird to catch, or wait until the Flock becomes incoherent.)


This game can technically be played with as few as 4 players, but is best when there are too many players to count. It is best played outdoors, with lots of benches and trash cans to climb on; preponderance of innocent bystanders is a plus.

If there are not enough bird puppets to go around, players will have to make some more in order to play; which can be as simple as this:

cardboard birds