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What happens when you merge poker with live-action roleplaying? You get "The Deal," a high-stakes game of blackmail and confrontation.
What happens when you merge poker with live-action roleplaying? You get "The Deal," a high-stakes game of blackmail and confrontation.
67 backers pledged CA$ 1,129 to help bring this project to life.

About

The Deal Live-Action Roleplaying Game

CA$ 1,129

67

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, just 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.

Check out the updates for more information on how this game works...  

All backers will receive a print-and-play version of The Deal within hours of this Kickstarter's dramatic conclusion! 

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.
  • An End of Scene Card for the player assigned to a certain scene to declare an end to the scene
  • 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! 

"Cards on the table - I adored The Deal from the moment I was handed a prop gun and told to hold on to it for a late-game climactic moment, to be determined by me during my character’s Act. That moment didn't just illustrate that I was about to be immersed into a Tarantino-esque movie of a game that called to me to play my character like a stolen car, but also revealed to me that this was a well-crafted game of pacing, anticipation, spotlights, and semi-structured role-playing." - Chris Walter, playtester

The Deal has been carefully crafted to create an immersive experience of bad people stuck in a bad situation, while establishing numerous safety tools to ensure an enjoyable experience with friends or strangers. 

Safety First

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 Kate Bullock 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.  

The Cards

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 gets tucked off to the side to use at any point in the scene. 

Here are some samples of the various cards you'll receive with The Deal... 

A glimpse of what the final cards for The Deal will look like when published.
A glimpse of what the final cards for The Deal will look like when published.

The Characters

There are four characters included in The Deal: the Suspicious Bastard, the Rising Star, the Desperate 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.  

This is about as simple a Kickstarter campaign as it's going to get. Three weeks to raise $600 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 $1,000 CDN, we'll create a custom tuck box to house all physical cards and add it as an option for all $10+ backers.
  •  At $1,500 CDN, we'll raise the number of Twists & Turns cards to 6 per scene for greater reuse with the same players. 
  •  At $2,000 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 production and will alter the delivery date originally listed. Alternative delivery dates will be provided to backers after this Kickstarter is funded.

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 twofold. 

  • 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 ;). Why only three 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 shorter campaigns. 

So with that in mind, let's introduce you to the team behind The Deal

Todd Crapper (Designer/Writer/Graphic & Layout Designer) 

The owner/publisher/lead designer for Broken Ruler Games, Todd is a two-time ENnie Award winner who's been doing this a long damn time. In addition to his own games, you can see some of Todd's graphic design and layout work with Third Eye Games (Part-Time Gods Second Edition) and Nerdburger Games (Die Laughing). He lives in a remote part of Canada (no, not that part) with his wife, son, and a herd of wildebeests. 

Carol Darnell (Copy Editor) 

Carol Darnell is a freelance editor and writer and former co-host of the 'All Games Considered' podcast. She has worked on projects such as the ENnie-nominated Infestation, and Sins of the Father, and the Judge's Spotlight Winner, Ninja Crusade Second Edition. She has also edited for Angry Hamster Press, Gallant Knight Games, and many others. You can see her work on http://caroldarnell.wordpress.com

Kate Bullock (Safety Editor) 

Kate Bullock is a Canadian community and convention organizer with a passion for striving to create safer and more inclusive spaces within the TTRPG community. She’s a co-host and community organizer of the Gauntlet Podcast, one of the main organizers of Breakout Gaming Convention, and the president of the Indie Game Developer Network. You can find her blog, Bluestocking’s Organic Gaming, filled with in depth analyses of the gaming community and what we can do to make it better. Kate is a consultant for safety and inclusion in the RPG world, as well as a content editor for RPGs to ensure they meet industry standards around inclusion and safety.

When she's playing pretend at being a game designer, you can find her game, Crossroads Carnival, at Magpie Games. You can also check out her work in The Veil: Cascade, Atlas Animalia, and Loving Fiercely. If you’re bored and want to get to know her, you can find her on Twitter as @bluestockingetc.

The fulfillment process with DrivethruRPG/OneBookShelf
The fulfillment process with DrivethruRPG/OneBookShelf

Risks and challenges

Running a Kickstarter campaign is a lot like playing poker - you may know the odds but things 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 will be approximately 20%-30% 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?

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1 or more About US$ 0.77

    Playing the Odds

    You like to get in on the action but you're not in it for the money. For this pledge, you have our thanks, and we'll list your preferred name in the credits of the rulebook... but you ain't gettin' a copy by playing this hand.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 10 or more About US$ 8

    Deal Me In!

    You want in on The Deal? This is the ante. After that, when the game's all ready to go, you can call—and get a downloadable print-and-play version of the game, or you can raise the stakes and order physical cards based on what we've unlocked in this Kickstarter.

    Includes:
    • Downloadable print-and-play version of The Deal
    • Option to order an at-cost print version of The Deal
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    20 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 20 or more About US$ 15

    Card Shark

    Believe it or not, there's a "harder" way to play this game and you're the type who likes a challenge. With this pledge, you'll get a complete set of poker cards included with your Deal cards. That's 80 cards in your deck and no one will ever know when you get a Twists & Turns card.

    Includes:
    • Downloadable print-and-play version of The Deal
    • Option to order an at-cost print version of The Deal
    • A complete set of poker cards designed in the same style
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    Estimated delivery
    45 backers
    CA$
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (21 days)