Saturday, May 19, 2018

Oi Reg! The Australian Political Simulator

Oi Reg! came about when I ran into Sea Dracula and liked the idea, but wasn't so sure about the whole competitive dance-off rule mechanic. Anyway, it got me thinking about making a game with a similar theme, only set in parliament rather than a courtroom. Since Australian politics is notoriously volatile. Well, it was in the glory days of the late 80s and early 90s when the politicians more closely resembled stereotypical Aussies, and the PM held several beer drinking records.
To recapture those glorious days, Oi Reg is set in a fictionalised version of Australia.


So there’s this town in Australia called Cambimbi, right. And here’s the thing, for some insane reason it’s also its own country and not part of Australia. So it has its own parliament. Which is even madder than the ACTUAL Australian parliament.
You’re politicians in the Cambimbi Parliament. Don’t worry if you know nothing about Australian politics, it’s basically like feeding time at the zoo meets prejudice. Cambimbi politics is worse because EVERYONE is an awful stereotypical Australian. Just imaging Crocodile Dundee in a really shoddy suit he bought at K-Mart, on special, twenty years ago, shouting at the top of his lungs about boat people. You get the idea.

Stuff you need:
  • Some paper and pencils
  • Several packs of Tim Tams (Australia’s finest chocolate coated biscuit. They come in packs of EXACTLY eleven. And they are the bomb.)
  • A bag of Allen’s Snakes (these are sort of gummi snake things made by Allen’s and commemorate a range of Australian things which will kill you)
  • A name plate with ‘Reg’ written on it
  • A bunch of gallahs you can persuade to play this ludicrous excuse for a game
What you do: 
First up, everyone writes down a law they want to see passed by the Cambimbi Parliament. These could be anything from “banning dingoes from Primary school” to “spend the entire federal budget on scratchies.” They should all be pretty stupid things which no right-minded democracy would even consider debating. Cambimbi is a wrong minded democracy. When everyone’s gotten stupid laws, you can start playing. 
Step one: Elect the speaker. 
The first speaker should be whatever nong suggested playing this crazy game in the first place. They get to take the name plate with ‘Reg’ written on it. (All speakers in the Cambimbi Parliament change their name to Reg. It’s cheaper than printing up new name plates.) Every round there’s a new speaker, who is traditionally the person sitting to the left of the old speaker. But you could play like real Aussies and decide the next speaker with a fist fight or a beer swilling contest or something. 
Step two: Propose a law. 
The speaker chooses a player to propose a law. That player then explains exactly what the new law is and why it’s so important that it get passed. They can use anything they like to convince people to vote for them - rhetoric, loud voices, visual aids, bribery… just so long as they follow correct parliamentary procedure (see below) 
Step three: The Debate. 
After the player has finished extolling the virtues of their proposed law, the Speaker opens the floor for debate. During the debate, any player can raise their hand. The speaker will choose someone with their hand up, and that player can argue about why they should or shouldn’t vote for the proposed law. Again, they can use anything they like to convince people, although even the Cambimbi Parliament frowns on things like shoving live crocodiles up and opponent’s shirt. Players can ALSO propose amendments to the law. That basically means you can tack extra stuff on the law, like changing it to “banning Dingoes from Primary Schools between the hours of two and three AM on Tuesdays.” If a player proposes an amendment and the player who proposed the law doesn’t want to add it to the law, both that player and the one who proposed the law in the first place grab hold of one end of the same Allen’s Snake. And they pull until it snaps. When it snaps, the one with the longer bit of snake wins, and the law is changed to suit them. They both get to eat their bits of snake. The Cambimbi Parliament is traditionally held in Big Steve-o’s Shearing Shed, and there are ALWAYS snakes under it, so there’s never a shortage of snakes. If you run out during a particularly gruelling all night session, you can always do something boring like toss a coin or roll a die. The speaker keeps track of all the changes to the law. 
Step Four: The Vote. 
When the speaker is sick of debating, he can call for a vote. Everyone but the speaker can vote ‘Yeah’ or ‘Nah’ on the proposed law. If there are more ‘Yeahs’ than ‘Nahs,’ then the law is passed. If it’s a tie, pull snakes for it. Whoever proposed the law in the first place gets a Tim Tam. Anyone who managed to add an amendment onto it also gets a Tim Tam for every amendment they managed to add.
Step Five: Rinse and Repeat. 
This keeps on going until all the players have proposed a law and they’ve all been voted on.

Step Six: Moving on. 
When everyone’s proposed a law and they’ve been voted on, switch to the next speaker, come up with some new laws, and keep going. 
Ending the game: 
The game ends when either you run out of laws to vote on, you run out of Tim Tams to award, or you get sick of it. Whoever has the most Tim Tams wins. This is really important - DON’T EAT THE TIM TAMS UNTIL THE GAME ENDS! Sure, they’re amazing and you’re hungry. For chrissakes, just propose an amendment so you can rip a snake in half and eat that if you get peckish - those tim tams are your score! If there’s a draw, settle it by either using the snake pull method or a bare-chested, bare-knuckled fight to the death in crocodile infested waters like a real man. 
Parliamentary Procedure: 
Listen up, cause this is important.When you talk to the speaker, ALWAYS call them ‘Mr. Speaker’ EVEN if they’re not male. Or you can call them ‘Reg’ if you like. The Cambimbi Parliament is pretty strict on two things - all speakers must be called Reg, and they must be able to go three rounds with national mascot Shagga the Pissed Roo. If someone else is talking you’re not allowed to say anything apart from ‘Shame,’ ‘Here! Here!’ and ‘Shuddup ya nong!’ - if you say anything else and the speaker’s not happy about it, he can tell you to shut up, and steal one of your Tim Tams. If you don’t have Tim Tams, he can tell you to shut up and not let you propose any laws or amendments this round.
Highlights of playing Oi Reg! at Gippsland Gamers have included:

  • Passing laws requiring people to wrestle crocodiles in order to get licenses to open pubs
  • Passing laws requiring all households to have a native animal as a pet - but NOT a crocodile so no one can practice wrestling them and get an unfair advantage
  • Abolishing all working days but Friday, and moving all public holidays to Fridays
  • Passing a law to prevent school shooting by arming all students BUT only supplying ammunition to teachers, who then give it out as rewards for good behaviour
  • Passing a law to protect the brewing industry by supplying all primary school children with free beer
  • Giving dogs the vote
  • Invading New Zealand to annex their film industry and thus prop up our own
  • A 400% Hipster Tax
  • Replacing the entire Olympics team with members of the opposition
and the list goes on...
Like Australian Politics, this is not a game for the faint of heart, or to be taken at all seriously.

Super Micro RPGs: Poor Clone Bastards 200 word edition

After Poor Clone Bastards had been written for a while, I found out about the 200 word RPG challenge and decided to have a shot at writing a 200 word version of the game. This is not the game I've entered in the challenge - this was more of a warm up, just to see what was possible in the space provided. It ended up playing very differently from the one-page version; there's no GM any more, and no dice. It's more of a collaborative story telling game now.

Poor Clone Bastards

You telepathically control Problem Correction Bioroids, popularly called Poor Clone Bastards. You send them into super hazardous situations. They are expendable.

Everyone takes four jelly babies. These are your squad of PCBs.
Everyone takes a sheet of paper and writes down a piece of equipment their squad has, such as ‘Mk. IX Gibblet-O-Matic disembowling saws.’ Also write down a weakness, such as ‘scared of blood.’
The group agrees on the basic mission they are being sent on, such as recovering cryopods from a shipwreck.
Everyone takes four scraps of paper and writes problems and hazards on them which you will encounter on the mission, such as radiation leaks. Put these in a hat.

On your turn, pull a problem from the hat.

Describe how one of your PCB’s is sacrificed to solve the problem, and eat a jelly baby.

If it is a problem your squad is weak against eat two jelly babies.

If you have equipment that helps you, you don’t eat a jelly baby.
Other players can help. If they do, eat one less jelly baby but they eat a jelly baby.

Micro RPGs: Poor Clone Bastards

A while ago I got rather excited about the idea of micro RPGs - whole games that fit into less than a few pages. After playing Lasers and Feelings, Everyone is John and All Outta Bubblegum a few times (plus Swords and Scrolls and probably a few I've forgotten), I decided to have a go at my own micro system. I wanted to do something really brutal where PCs would regularly die in spectacular and amusing fashion. Thus was born Poor Clone Bastards, a game about the titular mind-controlled clones being sent to fix really REALLY dangerous problems, mostly via self-sacrifice.


Thanks to cheap, reliable rapid cloning, important skilled heroic operatives need no longer risk their life. Comfortably ensconced in distant command centres, they can remotely control armies of disposable Problem Correction Bioroids (PCBs, also known as Poor Clone Bastards) rather than risk their own necks.

Stuff you need:
A bunch of jelly babies
Some D12s
Some scrap paper and pencils
Absolutely no compassion for clones

Character Generation:
Each player writes down one special item of equipment that their clone squad are carrying.

For example:
Experimental Jetpacks
Mk.5 ‘Giblet Vaporiser’ Heavy Blaster Rays
Fake Groucho Marx moustaches


Each player controls ten clones via a remote link. These clones do all of the fighting and dying. Individually, they are not much good, but in a group they can be quite effective - especially since no one cares if they die. In the game, clones are represented by jelly babies.

Doing things:
Whenever a player orders their clones to do anything hazardous, dangerous, tricky or more difficult than, say, walking, they must roll to see if their clones succeed. Roll a D12, and compare it to the number of clones the player controls. If the number is lower than the number of clones, then they succeed in their task (yay!) If the number is equal to or higher than the number of clones the player controls, they fail and one of the clones dies in some sort of needlessly elaborate and gruesome way. Plus the player gets to eat one of the clone jelly babies.

Special equipment:
If the player’s clones are carrying a piece of special equipment which could conceivably help them with the task at hand, instead of rolling a single D12, roll two and choose the lower result.

Sacrificing clones:
If a player really, REALLY wants to make sure they succeed on a test, they can choose to sacrifice a clone to automatically pass the test. This means they get to eat a jelly baby, so it’s also a viable tactic if they’re a bit hungry.

Running out of clones:
If a player runs out of clones, they are out of the game, but on the plus side, they have been allowed to eat ten delicious jelly babies.

The GMs bit:
So you want to run a game of Poor Clone Bastards? First you need some sort of terrible problem the poor clone bastards need to overcome. Then you need a sick sense of humour. Make things as hard as possible on the players, springing devilish traps and cunning complications which will mow down their clones in droves. Of course, it should be possible to overcome whatever problem they face by throwing enough clones at it, but that doesn’t mean it should be easy!

I also put together a list of suggestions for special equipment and locations.


Experimental Jetpacks
Mk.5 ‘Giblet Vaporiser’ Heavy Blaster Rays
Fake Groucho Marx moustaches
Frappacino Machine
Feet-B-Stuk Magnetic Boots
Magnetic Grapnel Gun
Hyper-Holistic Freem Beam Cannon
Big Shiny Spanners
Portable Computer
ChillMiester Potable Refrigerator
Dr. Kamikaze’s Infernal Device for Throwing Flame Over a Great Distance To the Detriment of The Naughty Enemy
Volts-2-U Portable generator
Privacy Invading Scanner goggles
Stuff-Finder Mk.XV Hand Scanner
Leap-o-matic Pogo stick
Hologram projector
Hands-B-Stuk Magnetic gloves
Snooper XL Series Camera drone
Boxing gloves
Artificial Duck
MobiDoc Medkit
Combat drugs
Sweet motorbike
Power loader
Miner’s helmet
Monomolecular Cheese Knife
Goop-Flinger adhesive gun
Fishing net


Derelict space ship
Orbital factory
Bunker complex
Shopping mall
Paradise planet
Luxury space liner
Casino Station
Deep sea mining rig
Oil rig
Asteroid mine
Space battleship
Underground lab
Volcano base
Intercontinental Maglev train
Space junkyard
Garbage world
Abandoned Spaced station
Polar outpost
Chemical Plant
Alien ruins
Red Light District

Friday, January 27, 2017

Kitnapped published on The Game Crafter

Kitnapped, the game of duelling cat collectors has now been published on The Game Crafter!
Kitnapped started life as an entry in the Board Game Geek 24 hour game design challenge back in June 2016. Since then, it's been tweaked and tested more extensively that the 24 hour deadline would allow, the art has been upgraded, and two test games have been printed. There were a few minor tweaks needed to the test games before it was ready to publish (the recommended ages on the top and bottom of the box didn't match, and a few minor rules clarifications) - these changes have now been made so the public can also enjoy this exciting game!

In Kitnapped, you play as cat enthusiasts trying to amass the greatest litter of kittens. You can find kittens by drawing cards, but it's much more fun to lure them away from other players using sqeuaky mice, saucers of milk and balls of wool. Of course, everyone else will try to lure your cats, so you want to block their lures with collars, microchips, and the all powerful naptime. You can also make other people's cats sick. Whoever has the best collection of healthy cats when the Crazy Cat Lady arrives wins the game.

I'm also playing with some ideas for an expansion which will materialise sometime soon. It's got some new mishap cards, and the ability to upgrade your cats with unique special rules.