August 23rd, 2005

Tea-drinker par excellence

St Paul's strikes again.

No mad peal of bells this time but the woman sitting on the bench next to me completely freaked out. And it was only a tiny mouse sitting under her bench, having his lunch with the rest of us.

I had time to think about my Cthulhu variant that I wrote up some time ago in these pages. I might give it a go on Thursday.

I also thought of a new game called "A Whole Sad Sack of Shit" and dedicated to jholloway. Two reasons really, that's almost the name of his livejournal and I was watching Full Tilt Boogie the other night and both Paula and I remarked that James has the exact same delivery as Tarantino - without the whole Punch-faced nasal whine thing (click the image links if you don't believe me about Tarantino). And this game is a Tarantino sort of thing (with a nod to Baron Munchausen, and Polaris too I guess).

All the players take the parts of small-time hoods involved in some kind of caper. It could be a bank robbery, it could be a dark-elf hit on a rival clan, it could be a space pirate style raid on an ancient pyramid artifact (as in Consider Phlebas - "Easy in, easy out", yeah right). They are sitting round afterwards discussing what happened.

The first player starts by cracking open a beer and saying "Fuck me, that was a Whole Sad Sack of Shit!", he then sets the scene by giving the gist of what the team was up to with words like "Old Ma Barker's drugstore seemed ripe for the taking" or "Them colonists never knew that they were sitting on top of a fortune in dilithium". He doesn't give any details though and finishes up with "It was all going so well ..."

Play then takes the form of recounting the caper and how it went terribly wrong. The game is separated in to four phases and the scale of how bad things can get is limited but increases with each phase from minor annoyance in the first phase to full-scale death and guns badness in the last. That's not to say you can't get shot at the start, just that it won't be quite so significant.

Each player takes it in turn recounting part of the caper. They can involve other player characters and they can be challenged by other players over their reckonning. Currency is bottle-tops (or equivalent). You get credit for involving others' characters and can use it to bid for and against interruptions. Play pases on to the next player when either you've said enough (and you get a bottletop for being so generous) or you lose a challenge. When everyone has had a say, the phase is upped by one and play continues.

You could have rules for traits giving bonuses to characters, perhaps even representing these on cards and dealing two to each player which they can use to help with challenges, if they want their secrets to be uncovered.

Obviously, although your character can get severely maimed and injured, no PC can actually die during the caper.

The game ends at the end of phase 4 with the player who initiated the game saying "And I never want to see any of your sorry asses again", he pulls his gun and in a hail of bullets, only the character whose player has the second least number of caps survives.

And of course, as Mike Gentry suggests, anyone who opens and drinks a whole beer during the game gets to add the cap to their stock. And only beer caps, none of those wussy coke caps. Teetotalers, like me, will just have to put up.