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The Deal Live-Action Roleplaying Game
What happens when you merge poker with live-action roleplaying? You get "The Deal," a high stakes game of blackmail and confrontation.
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People do shady things. I’m not talking about from just time-to-time or done by the wrong sort of person, I mean all of them. All the time. Screwing over people for personal gain is kind of a thing we do. Animals too, don’t even get me started on that. People though, we’ve excelled at it, I think. Turned it into an industry, like kidnapping and blackmail. Blackmail especially is about as shady as it gets. You get some dirt on someone and they pay you a stupid amount of money to keep it hidden or else you expose them to the people they cherish the most. Family, co-workers, the public… whoever it takes to make them sweat that cash into your greedy hands.
Some deals go wrong and that’s what this game is about. It’s all about the day a blackmailer decides to go for the big score and things take a turn. Maybe it all works out, maybe someone ends up dead. That’s why we’re using a game of poker to keep it all civil. It’s a simulation, an exercise in testing out your morality in the face of adversity. Or maybe it’s just a way to pretend you’re in a Tarantino movie. Either way, this is called The Deal, and it's time to put your money where your mouth is.
A Live-Action Roleplaying Game of Poker
The Deal is a live-action roleplaying game (or a "larp," as the cool kids call it) where four players take on the role of strangers gathered together for a high stakes game of poker. As they actually play poker, special cards known as Twists & Turns introduce plot twists as the strangers discover one of them is blackmailing the others. Nothing will remain the same when this game is done as the strangers discover some of the deepest, darkest secrets even their loved ones don’t know.
This Kickstarter does NOT include shipping! That will be handled by OneBookShelf, who will handle the printing and shipping when the product is ready. All shipping information and payments will be handled by them at that time.
This game will provide complete rules to play (downloaded from brokenrulergames.net) plus a deck of 28 poker-sized cards designed to slip into a regular poker deck during play and housed in a clear plastic tuck box, including…
- 4 character cards (the Suspicious Bastard, the Rising Star, the Desperate One, and the Blackmailer) providing an overview of your role in the game, your prop, your dominant scene, and your ultimate goal.
- 4 scene cards providing an overview of the scene and which player can “prep the deck” and assign Twists & Turns cards in this scene.
- 4 Twists & Turns cards per scene to create questions, ideas, accusations, and plot hooks during the game, each of them designed to be played by any character.
- A basic summary card listing what all the players know at the very beginning of the game.
- A special Pause card to stop play - use it as an X-card or to simply ask an out-of-character question during the game.
- Finally, another card advertising some other games in our Fragments line of mini-games.
The overall size of the game will be based on the Kickstarter – the more money we raise, the more options we can add for more variety every time you play!
Download the rulebook for The Deal right now (minus the cards) to see how the game works. [link]
Because The Deal is a game involving shady people caught up in lies, deception, and blackmail, there is a section on safety in the rulebook. This may be a game, but it can be an intense game that would embrace an R-rating if it were a movie. During the very first playtest of The Deal, many players were actively swearing at each other and one of the props built into the game is a fake weapon. The safety tools and techniques recommended for The Deal were carefully researched with the help of hiring ??? as Safety Editor for this game. We used different tools applied from many other larps to ensure everyone can remain friends when the game is done. (Not their characters, oh no. Some of them are probably going to jail.)
The Table Is A Prop!
Everything about The Deal revolves around the table. So long as you are in contact with the table, you are in character. (The final version of the game will include some additional points-of-contact players can use to keep themselves in the game while moving around.) This allows anyone the option to simply remove themselves from the table to take a break, go to the bathroom, whatever you need to do to keep your head in the game without missing a beat.
Aside from the rulebook, everything you need to play The Deal exists in the cards. This unique set of poker-sized playing cards is designed to slip into the middle of any poker game so that the Twists & Turns are randomly assigned to any players during the game. Whenever the dealer sees a T&T card dealt to a player, simply deal them an additional playing card and the T&T card is tucked off to the side and used at any point in the scene.
Here are some samples of the various cards you'll receive with The Deal...
There are four characters included in The Deal: the Suspicious Bastard, the Rising Star, the Desparate One, and the Blackmailer. Each one is provided with a prop (not included with this game), your overall goal (to help keep your motivation in check no matter what tension the cards bring to the table), and assigns you a scene. With four scenes in the game, each character has an opportunity to prep the deck (inserting the T&T cards into the deck) and end the scene. For example, the Suspicious Bastard can end the first scene when they raise the stakes in the game.
Raising the Stakes
This is about as simple a Kickstarter campaign as it's going to get. Two weeks to raise $500 CDN and that money is going to pay for the writing, editing, and layout that's already done. This game is ready to go and pre-production of the physical cards will begin as soon as this campaign wraps up. It's good to go as is... but there could be more. Here's what we'll do to make the game bigger if we raise more money.
- At $750 CDN, we'll create a custom tuck box to house all physical cards and add it as an option for all $10 backers.
- At $1,000 CDN, we'll raise the number of Twists & Turns cards to 6 per scene for greater reuse with the same players.
- At $1,500 CDN, we'll add an optional fifth player to the game - the Dealer! More than just an innocent spectator, the Dealer suddenly becomes embroiled in the plot when they discover they are also being blackmailed.
Will there be more? There's only one way to find out...
Note: Stretch goals have not been designed as of the time of this Kickstarter launch. Each stretch goal will delay pre-production and will alter the delivery date originally listed. Alternative delivery dates will be provided to backers after this Kickstarter is funded.
Meet The Pit Bosses
An unspoken rule in poker is that you have to trust the other players. Same thing goes with The Deal and with this Kickstarter. The money that will be raised here will not cover any printing costs because those will be paid later by those backers who want to get professionally printed cards. This Kickstarter's main goal is two-fold.
- Pay the game's designer and writer (me) for the design, development, writing, and layout of this game.
- Reimburse Broken Ruler Games for both editors' fees
This game is ready to go and, like any casino, doesn't really need your money to survive. But it sure likes taking it off your hands. ;) And why only two weeks? You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, and know when to walk away. This Kickstarter is also an experiment with a new approach for Broken Ruler Games' crowdfunding, including short campaigns.
So with that in mind, let's introduce you to the team behind The Deal.
Todd Crapper (Designer/Writer/Graphic & Layout Designer)
[bio goes here]
Carol Darnell (Copy Editor)
[bio goes here]
??? (Safety Editor)
[bio goes here]
Risks and challenges
Running a Kickstarter campaign is a lot like playing poker - you may know the odds but these can always take a turn for the worst. There's always risk in creating a new game and this will be no exception but I can tell you how we've minimized the risks. The game is already designed and ready to go (not including stretch goals). The rulebook is written, the cards are designed with proof copies in hand (they're featured in the KS video above), and we can launch them ASAP. This Kickstarter is about paying the people who worked on this game the money they deserve and creating a bigger marketing campaign than we could create if we just launched it on DriveThruCards.
Speaking of which, all printing will be done through DriveThruCards/Lightning Source. This means all fulfillment - from printing to shipping - will be handled by them. Anyone who backs us at the $10 level or higher will have the option to purchase physical cards at cost and determine their own shipping as provided by the good folks at OneBookShelf (the owners of DriveThruCards). These backers will be provided with a discount code and will be able to order as many sets as they want. The price you pay for backing this Kickstarter and ordering your cards will be less than if you waited until the full launch - otherwise, the process will be exactly the same.
The only thing you won't know until you try is whether or not you'll love this game. And what's life without a little risk, right?Learn about accountability on Kickstarter