Team games the Zarnitsa way – a gift from Moscow Furries

by Patch O'Furr

Good news helps in bad times. Russian furries like to be part of worldwide fandom, and Erwin, a member of Moscow Furries, has a story about game activities they do in a park. The idea is for any furry group anywhere to share it. Erwin tells how it works:

Furry Zarnitsa

In general, we do quests, which are mostly done in teams. In the beginning, we bring the participants to a park and form the teams, headed by a leader. Then the teams walk around the park and compete with each other by doing pre-arranged activities. In the end one of the teams win and we give them some small rewards.

So far, we have held 6 different quests and 2 simple meets (just chilling with casual games) in Moscow. Here’s some photos from our group on VKontakte (Russian social network).

See more in this gallery of 30 photos.

Dogpatch Press asked for a short history of where the idea came from, the group and who is involved, and quests or rules other people can use. 

Combining Russian culture, anime and furry fandom

I think I was introduced to the idea around age 14, when I joined a group that used to organize anime parties and meets. One of their events was called ‘Zarnitsa‘, like a game that was often military themed. Such games are often played in children’s summer camps. Anime zarnitsas were more like those. The main idea – team play. You have to work together to complete some quest. It was my favorite activity to make them as a part of the creative group.

Capture the Flag is a similar competitive game. In 1967, programs for youth games were introduced in Soviet society. They were meant to teach discipline but creative play, without always having the same unified rules.

Much time passed, I was 21 and the anime creative group had become history. I joined furry fandom just randomly. It was 2020 and I had nothing to do without an opportunity to leave home, due to COVID, so I decided to make a fursuit. I started going to meets and made many friends. But one moment I realized that all of the meets were just walks from Point A to Point B. They were totally the same without a chance to be unique.

I came up with idea to revive anime zarnitsa, but with furry, for my friends. It wasn’t anything special, we didn’t mean to make a project, and I asked them right in a chat that was created for someone’s birthday. And they just agreed to make it! It was our first game, and a nervous but exciting and in general positive experience.

Step by step we started to make new events. Each of them was different from the previous one by its form and topic, so it’s not easy to describe in general, but still each of them made people work in teams for a result.

Currently the event team consists of about 20 members. We named ourselves “Totem pole” as it also consists of different animals, and each of them is an irreplaceable part. Our meets unite up to 100 players at once. It’s not such a great number, but we should consider that many people don’t enjoy active entertainment.

Popular Russian furry youtuber Eric Myval shows games in the forest:

The rules: fursuiter-friendly fun for all ages

Making zarnitsa for furries is more complicated then for anime fans. You have to involve fursuiters, which often isn’t easy. Also you have to make the team cooperate with each other, make friends and have fun together. The most classic variant: a few teams walk around a park and look for mini-games. For completing each of them, the team counts up a score. Or they just have to do all of the games faster than others. In any case, such games work perfectly for people of any age. The games depend on a particular event, and we have never repeated them yet.

In our 1st zarnitsa we made a web between several trees, and put some eggs on the grass under it. Every team member had to go in the web, take an egg and go out on the other side without touching the threads.

In our 2nd, which was called Snowy Way/Snow Path (снежная тропа in Russian) they had to carry fursuiters on snow tubes through a road of around 50 meters.

The 3rd game was horror 18+ and the teams had to find notes and do a particular action to a monster, while avoiding being caught.

Our 1st zarnitsa had 5 mini-games, our 2nd had 5 but we failed to make 2 of them, and the 3rd didn’t have mini-games, the players just had to stay alive. Our 5th zarnitsa has just passed. It was a Squid Game imitation, so we wore masks. We had one fail – the rope broke, but we managed to finish and get our winners. One of the players made a video that reflects much of the game.

See more in the gallery.

Try this for an alternative to a furry party indoors or a plain fursuit walk. If you ever hear people say “touch grass” now you have a great example of how to get offline and outdoors, no matter where you are in the world. Thanks to Erwin, Matvey for connecting us, and all the Moscow Furries.

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