Plumbing Game

Plumbing Game
The Finished Game- One Incarnation

This game has had several incarnations, the first was used a few times on Scout night hikes/ challenges with questions based around music. The equipment consists of a game board, approximately 1m x 1m, with a return edge around three sides, and a length of guttering fixed along the bottom with a bucket to drain to. Through this board poked 16 pieces of copper tube, joined together behind with garden hose. The assembly was fixed onto A-frame legs made from Unistrut channel and the board painted bright yellow.
The game was built on a very tight budget, mostly from salvaged parts. Timber was chipboard from an old bed out of a skip, gutter and paint from the Scout group stores, Unistrut out of a skip, copper pipe and garden hose from a plumbers scrap pile.
To supply the game, we had a plastic brewing barrel (25l) filled with watery gunge and hauled up a convenient tree using a rope and pulley. This was connected by a hose to the game, and a washing machine valve used to turn the supply on and off.
To play the game, every copper pipe had a date next to it, and a matrix of dated music questions were created. The game starts on turning on the flow- it would issue from a pipe, and a question asked relating to the date on that pipe. The answer would be another date, which the players would then plumb the two dates together with some clear hose (the only significant outlay). This being plumbed behind the panel would result in the flow issuing from another hole in the board and the next question answered. If all the questions are answered correctly, the flow path is completed and all positions used up. If wrong, the sequence isn’t completed. Scores are allocated on the number of correct connections made in a certain time period, with a finishing bonus.
The second incarnation was made for “Space Station Gasus” at Scoutabout 2002, a starship themed activity. For this, a bit more budget was available, and we were aiming to get the participants wetter as this was a day-time summer activity rather than a night-time winter one.
The game was run in a similar way, but there were a number of changes to the hardware.
The game was built over 1.2m x 2.4m tank to catch water, constructed  from OSB, and lined with plastic sheeting. The game itself had now split into two boards, one with four outlets, and the other 12, fixed on either side of a steel-deck bridge across the tank, and supported by Dexion. The boards were now fitted with garden hose quick connectors, and the hoses for the game also fitted with them, to make the game quicker.
Above the game area was fitted a shower head, along with a orange strobe beacon. Water supply came from a submersible pump in the tank. The game was played in a similar way to the first incarnation, but with the aim to complete 4 circuits connecting the panel with the 4 outlets to appropriate inlets on the 12 way panel. Behind the 12 way system, a manifold with one way valves was fitted so that any completely incorrect answer would feed the water into the manifold and up into the shower head, drenching the players. A right answer is plumbed back to the 4 way panel.
When the final correct connection is made, a pressure switch (salvaged from a washing machine) was used to trigger the warning beacon.
The system worked well, although required a lot of setting up. I have thought a ‘spaceship engine’ game based on this would be a great idea, but haven’t got round to building one yet. This could be made to be virtually standalone, and could incorporate lighting and sound effects.
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(c) M.Pantrey 2012