Lemonopoly gets play-tested

Lemonpoly was invited to a game design workshop for the Come Out and Play Festival, hosted at SOMARTS. We worked with incredible real-world game experts and established new ways to play Lemonopoly based on play testing and feedback.


  1. Anselm explaining our playtesting challenges for Lemonopoly
    Anselm explaining our playtesting challenges for Lemonopoly
  2. Based on suggestions from Joe Edelman about from a uniquely structured collaborative film project Reality Ends Here, on Saturday we did an activity where we had everyone suggest Missions (Actions) and roles. Then each person took a bunch of actions and roles, and the group self-organized to see how they could accomplish the goal.

    The idea here is that we are, by playing Lemonopoly, modelling new systemic mechanics of lemon trading. These actions range from easy (giving a lemon to a friend) to more challenging (strategizing to get local lemons into a corner store.)

    Two of the hilarious roles were "Lemon Census Taker" & "Lemon Thief." Actions includes "Plant a lemon tree under the cover of night." and "Give lemons to 10 people outside of your household to whom you have never given lemons before."

    On Sunday, we added "Missions" and challenges to Lemonopoly. A group of play testers came and worked with us. 

    Tell a lemon story 5pt
    Juggle 3 lemons 5pt  (A clown in our group juggled 2 lemons right away)
    Make lemony something 20pt
    Lemon Reconnaissance; 15 pts per new tree. 10 to verify status; if there and has fruit. Every one tells a story.
    Bring back a lemon.

    Before dispersing to go seek real lemon trees in SOMA, we turned the players loose in the garden at SOMARTS, telling them that somewhere nearby there were lemon trees. Everyone scattered and was very pleased to meet the humble lemon trees.

  3. Teri & others getting to know a Lemon Tree in the SOMARTS garden.
    Teri & others getting to know a Lemon Tree in the SOMARTS garden.
  4. We then went scouting the alleged lemon trees from the SF Friends of the Urban Forest Lemon Tree Data. Allegedly, there were lemon trees at 2 Sumner Street and 675-679 Clementina, but we couldn't find them.
  5. We did not see any Lemon Trees here.
    We did not see any Lemon Trees here.
  6. We did, however, go to 1 Rausch Street - and discovered the very lush and wonderful Howard Langton Community Gardens. This garden is a public/private garden, available to neighbors with a yearly membership. This garden boasts fountains, lushness and some extra special animal surprises. We could see the lemons from the gate - and asked the people in the garden about the trees. One of the gardeners asked us "Are you on one of those treasure hunts?" -- basically, yes. A treasure hunt of lemons.

    They said we could come in the garden, that the garden is open, but they keep the gates up due the the very high amount of drug use and other illicit activity in the area. We learned that this area used to be a needle park, and it was converted to a garden some time ago. Indeed, this oasis in SOMA is one of a very few green places in this part of South of Market.
  7. Entering Howard Langton Community Garden
  8. There were two species of lemons in the garden -- Meyer Lemons and Lisbon. The trees were about 12 years old. Garden members harvest the lemons.
  9. Meyer Lemons in the Howard Langton Community Garden
    Meyer Lemons in the Howard Langton Community Garden
  10. I spoke at length with the gardener about Lemonopoly. He said that he has a painting of a Sacred Lemon tree. Lemons, it seems, are full of heart and healing.

    As we left, the gardener shared a very special gift with us -- tossing me a small orange citrus.

    This special citrus variety from India. It is a lime, but is is orange and in the shape of a lemon. It's name sounded like Rajput. I looked it up in my database of food varieties (search for 'lime') -- and Ranghpur is the closest sounding name, but it does not look like it. I'm really not sure what its actual name is.

    On the way back to SOMARTS, we were all giddy with our victory of attaining a fruit from the neighborhood, discussing lemonade recipes (Lemon + Rosemary + Mint, a very San Francisco combination), and checking random bushes for signs of lemon flowers and tiny lemons.

    I do wish that we had all been able to taste the lime. To remember: the next time someone gives you a rare fruit, taste it!!

    Things we learned:
    --Potassium can help if the lemons are small and green. (We saw a lot of small little tiny baby lemons.)
    --A lemon tree can have flowers, small fruits and larger fruits all at the same time.
    --You can eat the lemon leaves and use them as a spice.
    --In the past, lemon trees were a sign of wealth and used in portraits to indicate wealth.

    (Note: There are some other panoramas from the event, but I have not figured out how to add those in Storify.)

  11. Rajeput Lime (orange) - which was thrown to me by the gardener in the Howard Langton Community Garden as we left.
    Rajeput Lime (orange) - which was thrown to me by the gardener in the Howard Langton Community Garden as we left.