Fun at Igfest, Bristol’s interesting games festival

4 Oct

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Ever played Quidditch? You know, that game from the Harry Potter novels, all broomsticks and snitches?

We have, thanks to Bristol’s Igfest Fringe, where Muggle Quidditch was one of the 20 games that took place in Castle Park.

Last time we participated in the annual Interesting Games Festival, it was all about the scary 2.8 Hours Later. A zombie apocalypse had broken out in the city, and games players had to make their way from location to location without being bitten or scratched by a member of the undead horde (one of whom was our very own Chronicler Louisa).

I (Chronicler Pete) watched and laughed my socks off as spooked players tried to make it through the last barricade and into the vaults of the abandoned Bank of England building.

I laughed even harder when a German tourist phoned the police to report ‘a man swinging a cricket bat at bloodied individuals’ (although I had to give him credit for being able to report the zombie apocalypse at all. If the roles were reversed, my command of his language wouldn’t get me past Hilfe! Hilfe!)

Anyway, back to Igfest 2012. Muggle Quidditch is a cross between wizardry and netball. You can run, but not with the ball. You can throw it, but you can’t kick it. You ride a broom stick, but you cant fly (I’m not sure it’s against the rules of the game to fly, more against the rules of physics).

It was fast, complicated and required bags of energy. Thankfully there were more players than places, so lots of subbing was involved. There were tons of rules to remember, and by the end of the 40 minutes, I’d managed to break – and learn – most of them. I scored an own-goal, and a proper goal, which I guess means I wasn’t a detriment to my team, but I wasn’t a credit either.

I also started my first game of Circle Rules Football with an own-goal. As the name suggests, circle rules football is played on a circular pitch. There’s a goal in the middle, an the action takes place in the round. One team tries to score through one side of the hoop, the other team through t’other. The ball is a massive yoga ball.

Like Quidditch it was fast and furious, and although far less complicated I still managed to forget the rules and score an own-goal.

Igfest was, believe it or not, my first attempt at “competitive sport” since I left school over 20 years ago. I hated sport at school, and have done my best to avoid it ever since.

But because this was a games festival, and not a sports match in the truest sense, I really enjoyed the experience. My own-goals were not met with howls of derision, but with friendly laughter. There was mild piss-taking but no-one really gave a damn: we were there to have fun, not to win.

Fancy joining in the fun next year? There’s more info at or on Facebook at

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