About this project
Players: 3 to 8 Age: 13+ Playing Time: ~2 hours
"Are You Mental?" is a crazy, casual, silly fun, no prep role playing game where the worst possible thing that can happen to anybody... is to go stark raving sane!
Wow, what in the world does that even mean?
For starters this game is NOT boring! It is loud, crazy, and in your face with irreverent wacky random fun! In the 90's this would have been called a "Beer and Pretzels" RPG, but in this enlightened age of 2016, I think we can do better...
This is a "Margarita and Cheese Dip" RPG!
It is a game that doesn't take itself seriously, or anyone else for that matter. And it can be played by absolutely anyone, even those people who DON'T play traditional role playing games!
If you can imagine lunatics with superpowers who escape the asylum to go on top secret and VERY IMPORTANT missions, you can play this game. Heck, that is this game!
The rules are as light as can be (without being one of those artsy free form games), with enough randomness to be totally out of control, yet enough structure to be an absolute blast to play.
"Are You Mental?" also makes for an easy pick-up game for those nights when you just don't want to invest in a serious or long-running campaign. It works great for transitioning friends from party style games to the RPG genre, and can really save your bacon if a crucial player for your dark and brooding Vampires in Space game bails unexpectedly and you still want to rock the evening without them!
No Prep? What does that mean?
It means nobody needs to do a darn thing beforehand to play this game. Well, other than buying the game, printing off some character sheets, and maybe finding a table with at least three legs to play at.
But you certainly don't need to slave away for hours crunching numbers, looking up rules, and min/maxing stats to make a character to play.
The game master (we call that position the Warden, just to be pretentious) also doesn't have to spend days making maps, monsters, and NPCs. Heck, all the game master has to do is show up... and maybe wear some pants.
Character Generation & Adventure Creation are done right at the table using mad-lib inspired "psychological profile" sheets.
Two sets of questions are answered by all players, and those answers are then shuffled so that nobody knows who gave which ones. The Warden gets the first set back to craft the adventure (a single sheet from each player containing actions, animals, obstacles, etc.), and the players receive random answers from the other set to slot into the blanks on their character sheets.
What system does it use?
A totally unique, customized for craziness system that I probably should come up with a catchy name for. Here is how it works:
Risk and uncertainty (the hallmark of great games everywhere) are emulated by a dice and card mechanic. Sure we could just say, "Do whatever you want!" but that is not really a game. It is a substitute teacher saddled with an over-sugared kindergarten (surprisingly similar to our convention sessions...)
When a player wants to use a superpower or do something that could fail horribly, they draw a challenge card and attempt to do what the card commands.
This might be to roll doubles on your dice, or to quickly eat something you find on the table, or to compose a short poem about your desired results.
Successfully doing the challenge means you friggen rock, and you whiz bang whatever it was you were trying to do!
Smashing through a wall? Boom! It happens!
Making a key out of fire so you can drive the car you made out of fire to the firehouse because you should never really be allowed to play with matches, like ever. Seriously, ok?
Shazam! Fire key achieved!
But if you fail the challenge... Awesome Sauce! Now it is the Warden's time to shine.
She draws a card from the "Deck of Very Bad Things" and adds that to the scene instead. Ninjas might show up and steal your fire car! Or maybe you get stuck in the presidential motorcade.
Whatever happens, failure isn't bad - because ultimately it makes the game crazier and more fun.
As if that wasn't enough, "Are You Mental?" uses any and all dice you might happen to own!
Seriously, my personal stash includes some from an early 90s dice dragon game, all shapes, sizes, and colors of polyhedrals, those crappy ones that only have pluses and minuses, and some I found in a 1980's Monopoly spin off.
Use all your dice, the weirder the better, but you will need at least 6 per player. They are going to get mixed together and swapped around, so maybe the ones you had made out of grandma's bones should stay locked away in the closet. But other than that, you finally have an excuse to show off your entire collection!
Still not sure?
Listen to this guy from Gencon give his honest impression or watch a bit of character creation and some challenge resolutions from an actual session of the game!
It isn't a joke at all, but the game is pretty silly. That said, here is where we get serious for a moment.
We really only have three options for getting this game out there.
1) We hand write it on toilet paper rolls at gaming conventions, one sheet at a time, and people have to trade around to get the complete game! (If I thought this would work, we would totally do it!)
2) We go hog wild and have 2,000+ copies printed in China, then send them to fulfillment and ultimately distribution!
3) We create the pdfs for a minimal cost to backers and make the physical copies one small batch at a time...
The bottom line is that we are a very small company that aims to make really good games. We simply don't have the capital or the network to put a game like this into full on "Made in China" production.
We did the numbers, we made the contacts, and I spent two weeks gnashing my teeth and pulling out my hair and trying to decide where in the world we would even store 2,000 games. Ultimately, we had to go a different direction. We had to go small scale.
But we really do need backing to make even a single physical copy of this game, and the folks that are pitching at this point are getting an amazing deal. This game probably won't see distribution, being made one at a time like we are going to do, and we certainly won't see anything close to a traditional profit from it.
We could forgo the entire kickstarter, finish up the art, and offer the pdf only on DriveThruRPG. And hey, after the kickstarter is over we are going to do just that.
But by putting it out on here for just $1, you all get to help make it even better! Together we can fund the art, add cards, spread awareness, and maybe, just maybe, get enough buzz that it has a shot at one day appearing on the shelves of your favorite local gaming store.
We don't want to start out aiming for the sky (or in this case $20,000 based on the best quotes we have received from 11 different companies) and end up falling short and disappointing everybody. We would rather start with reasonable, attainable goals, have fun spreading the word, and gradually build towards bigger things. It just makes sense.
Yes, of course we have some stretch goals! Everybody loves stretch goals and it would be silly to do a gaming kickstarter without them!
- Accomplished! - $1500 - Fully Funded! The artist gets paid! The game gets made! And I can pay back the loan I took out for all the pizza my film team ate!
Smashed! - $2000 - 18 new cards added to the game! (8 Initiative cards, 5 new Challenge cards, and 5 new Bad Things.)
Crushed! - $2750 - Are You Brains? A zombie themed expansion pack in which you play the zombies!
- Obliterated! - $3500 - Dice Bags + Bonus Content
- Locked - $5500 - Are You Looney? cartoon themed expansion
- Locked - $7000 - Are You Fhtagn? Cthulu cultist themed expansion.
- Locked - $11,000 - Online Character Creation Website! Wouldn't it be cool to have one of those websites that people can answer questions and then it randomly takes those answers, shuffles them together, and spits out a character to play? I think so too! So let's do that thing!
- Locked - $22,000 - Ultimate Insanity! Here is where it gets real, I go bald from stress, have to learn all about shipping overseas, and probably even take a trip to China. If we hit this goal, we will switch up production and make the darn thing with a big cardboard box, A5 sized rule sheet, and tear off pads for cgen & adventure creation. We already have it all spec'd out and quotes in hand. It will be glorious, we will be heroes, and I will have plenty of stuff to burn when the end times arrive...
Risks and challenges
This is our fifth kickstarter project, so we know what is expected of us and how to deliver. If we haven't learned how to do it by now, it might be time to move to New Zealand and become hairy footed halflings. (That's the back up plan!)
This is only our second game though, and our first to be potentially fully boxed and mass produced. It has been play tested and is ready to go, we are just waiting on the final art, and then we will put it into production. There are still a lot of places where things can slow down, or flat out go wrong.
Our biggest challenges will come if we end up needing to make many more physical units than we had initially planned. That will slow down the creation and delivery across the board. We do have a plan for that contingency and manufacturing partners in place so that we can ramp up to full scale production if need be.
However it all shakes out when the closing bell rings, we will keep you in the loop with regular updates on our progress, any changes to the timetable, and other things you might find interesting to know!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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