Weighing Game

by | Nov 8, 2016 | Artwork #2: Appropriate

Number of players: At least 2

The pieces:

One “deck” composed of the “cards”, who are human participants (of which there needs to be at least 4 times the number of players)

One scale

A die/random number generator and picker

Pen and paper

Goal: To have the combined total of the weights of your cards get as close as possible, but not exceed, a weight decided on by the players before the game.


  1. The two players take a look at the “deck” and agree on a weight to match and not exceed.
  2. Assign each “card” a number out of the total number of cards, and have each player draw two cards to start, as they would in the game blackjack.
  3. Weigh each of the two cards discreetly, with only each player knowing their own cards’ weights.
  4. Have the players record their own cards’ weights and total them.
  5. Each player, one at a time, can then “hit” or “stay” depending on if they want to draw another card or keep their current hand.
    • If a player hits, they then weigh their new card and add the weight to their previous cards’ weights. That is their new total.
    • If a player stays, then they keep their current total weight and are unable to hit any more.
  6. Repeat step 5 as necessary.
  7. Once both players stay, each player reveals the total of their weights. Whoever has a total weight closer to the agreed-upon weight wins.

Artist Statement:

I wanted to create a game that could be picked up at any time (as long as the instructions are understood!). A significant number of households are likely to have a scale, so all you need otherwise are people who are willing to participate. This game could be fun with the right crowd, but I understand that most people feel somewhat uncomfortable with their weight. Still, Weighing Game is my appropriated solution to the game Blackjack. By solution, I mean that it cuts down on the randomness inherent in Blackjack and is very modular – the rules allow for different goals at the players discretion, whether it just be that they agree on a completely random number or that they take a look at the participants and decide a goal based in their judgments. Weighing Game also gives you a smaller “deck” with pre-defined weights, but it does involve some skill in judging what the weights are before you hit or stay. It’s a very judgmental game, period.

In the vein of being a judgmental game, however, I tried to make it so the game doesn’t discriminate against smaller or larger people. If you have a larger audience, then you can make the weight goal larger, and vice versa. However, the game is likely to make people feel bad if they cause a player’s weight total to go over the goal. It’s not a fair game for anyone, really, because so much judgment of actual people is needed.

A lot of games and pieces of appropriation in the Dada and Fluxus movements are interesting, maybe funny, almost always winks at whoever is looking on at the games and pieces, with ready-mades such as “Fountain” and “Bicycle Wheel” being early examples and the many, many chess variations (possibly most notably Yoko Ono’s “White Chess”) being a later ones. They also, much of the time, comment on a current feeling, whether that feeling is about capitalism or war or any other big thing. And, as Duchamp always wanted, some of them are intentionally not aesthetically appealing (even though, as we learned in class, sometimes art is considered more appealing as it is looked at more positively over time).

The Weighing Game is not particularly appealing to play, and it can be disgusting. I am not too happy with having made it – the potential for fun is there if you play with a really tight-knit group of friends, but I do not see any other groups enjoying it too much. I usually want games that I make to be enjoyable in some way, or at least interesting. I’m not sure if Weighing Game is really either of those.