Mambo: the Packing Game.

Brandon Joyce writes:
I invented this game— in so far as I invented it— while doing fill-in work for the Philadelphia moving company Mambo. Hence the name.

The principles are simple. The game involves packing heterogenous and relatively rigid bodies into a confined space— a skill that everyone professes to be good at.

The game, as it stands, has the following rules:

One player or team enters a room full of assorted objects. These objects are, as I said, relatively rigid— they will not break or squish too much— and they are heterogenous. The more heterogenous, the merrier.

Before the person is a box or container.

The player has a limited amount of time to pack as many shapes as possible into the space; after which the arbitrator assures that the box or container can be closed flush.

Once this is assured. It is the second player's turn to pack the same objects into the container, in any manner they find possible. If this second player achieves this objective, and adds yet another object to the packing, they win. If they cannot fit the objects into the container, they lose.

Games may vary in time. However, five minutes seems to be an optimal time.

One strength and thrust of this game is that since the shapes are so heterogenous and real-world, the solution to their packing utterly escapes mathematization— and thus any overarching, reductive solution. Nevertheless, we want to say that the game demands spatial reasoning. What exactly does this reasoning consist of? What is it doing when it puts spheres and boxes and thingamabobs into a predetermined area?

Below is a video of John Muse, James Weissinger, and myself demoing the game.

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