ConQwest is a Big Game in the evolving tradition of B.U.G. (Big Urban Game) and Pac-Manhattan. The gameplay was designed by Frank Lantz, with help from Mattia Romeo. Dennis Crowley designed and built the semacode system, based on Simon Woodside's original idea and code. The game was conceived of and directed by SS+K, Kevin Slavin, Liz Cioffi and others . The promotional agency AMP was responsible for all the on-site implementation.

10/16/04 DENVER
10/23/04 SEATTLE
11/07/04 PHOENIX



Conceived of by Simon Woodside, semacodes are being used for the first time in the U.S. in Conqwest. Semacodes are two-dimensional barcodes that can be scanned and decoded with a cameraphone.

Semacode stickers are placed around the city the morning of the event - some in plain sight (think street signs and store windows), others can only be found by interacting with people.


Five teams from local high schools compete by racing through the city finding the hidden treasure codes (semacodes).

Players shoot photos of these semacodes with their camera phones. Photos are sent from the phone to ConQwest HQ where the semacodes are decoded and points are awarded.

Each player is issued a Nokia 6225 at the start of the game.


Each city has been divived into 8 zones. Teams can only collect treasure in the zone they control.

Only one team can control a zone at a given time. X's mark the location of each zone's base.


Teams take control of a zone by moving their team totem into a base. In order to switch zones, teams must move their totems through the city streets from one base to another.

Teams "enter" and "exit" bases by shooting special semacodes that track their team's position.


Each hidden semacode is worth a given amount of points (30-75 points). As game progresses, players unlock clues that point to special bonus treasures. There is one Super-Treasure in each zone.

These "Super-Treasures" (worth 350 points) can only be found by interacting with a specific person at a specific location.


While only one team can occupy a base at a given time, teams can challenge each other for control over occupied bases.

During a challenge, both teams secretly bid some of the treasure they've collected. The bids are exchanged. The team that bid the most wins the challenge and control of the base - the other team is sent packing.


Qwest awards $5000 to the high school of the winning team, and Yellowcard plays a concert for that school. Other teams are awarded $2,000 each.

Current ConQwest website (from ConQwest 2005)
Semacode Case Study
B.U.G. (Big Urban Game)
Other "big urban games"

Kevin Slavin
Dennis Crowley
Frank Lantz
Mattia Romeo
Chris Carroll // AMP