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Get the classic collection of party games, plus two brand-new adventures—available for the first time ever as a hardcover book!
Get the classic collection of party games, plus two brand-new adventures—available for the first time ever as a hardcover book!
1,202 backers pledged $41,516 to help bring this project to life.

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Parsely Games: ACTION CASTLE plus 11 more games project video thumbnail
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 Special inventory items now available to Kickstarter backers!

"Skully" t-shirt (toner black—available as a pledge reward w/ a signed or unsigned hardcover book)

"Skully" cloissoné-style enamel pin (free to all hardcover book backers!)

A 3.5" floppy diskette bookplate (read/write protect your book—free to all hardcover book backers!)

A "frequently used commands" bookmark (to help you SAVE GAME—free to all hardcover book backers!)

 

Parsely Games is a collection of live-action, text-adventure games inspired by my favorite computer games from the 1980s. Using only text and simple ASCII graphics, text-adventure games captured the imagination of countless players worldwide. 

As a kid, I spent countless hours playing COLOSSAL CAVE and ZORK, then graduated to DEADLINE, PLANETFALL and WISHBRINGER. I even got a chance to be a game tester on SEASTALKER! But it would be another 20 years before I figured out to play text-adventure games without a computer.

Art: Manning L. Krull
Art: Manning L. Krull

Each Parsely game features a script and a map. The host ("The Parser") reads aloud from the script—describing the starting location and any visible items, NPCs or exits:

The players, usually arranged in a line, a semicircle or in single file, share a single character. On a given player's turn, they speak a simple command to the Parser: EXAMINE an item, GO in a direction, ASK a question or even SAVE their progress. Whatever the command, the Parser then responds as a computer from the 1980s:

Although sometimes, a command might contain an unknown word:

Or the Parser will misinterpret a command (often for comedic effect):

That player's turn complete, the next player in line may give a command—with one command/response per player—until the game ends. 

Often, it ends in tragedy:

Sometimes, it ends in triumph:

When everyone gets involved, Parsely games are like logic puzzles crossed with karaoke or stand-up comedy.

In 2003, I created ACTION CASTLE and JUNGLE ADVENTURE while at a friend's party. I eventually published these games as laminated pamphlets in 2009. They proved to be popular when I ran them at game conventions, so I designed a bunch more games: SPOOKY MANOR, SPACE STATION, ACTION CASTLE II and the kid-friendly PUMPKIN TOWN. In 2014, I kickstarted Z-WARD and SIX-GUN SHOWDOWN and a few years later I started work on the latest, greatest Parsely games: ACTION CASTLE III and DANGERTOWN BEATDOWN.

Parsely Games will be a 300-page hardcover containing every Parsely text-adventure game I've ever designed, including revised game text, full-color maps and artwork, and a new and improved format for easy reading and navigation. Also featured is a foreword by Wizards of the Coast founder Peter Adkison, plus all the rules, tips and tricks you need to know to run a successful game.

“…the best game that I have played all year” —Chris O’Neil, co-author of Kobolds Ate My Baby

“…clever, silly, well-rehearsed, & a true homage to Zork.” —Steve Jackson, game industry legend

“…the awesomest awesome.” —Scott Rubin, co-host of the Geek Nights podcast

“Very rarely do new game concepts come along which impress me, but this one stands out as being something truly revolutionary. And yet, like many of the most brilliant ideas, it’s so fiendishly simply that you say “why hasn’t anybody thought of this before?”
—Andrew Looney, designer of Fluxx

Risks and challenges

All the games are written and the major pieces of game art are done. The next step is to finish the map illustrations and add lots more artwork. Burning Wheel is publishing the game, which means it's going to look amazing—and they're pros at this kind of stuff. I'm optimistic!

We will also be charging shipping for international backers AFTER the project is done before we ship the games. We hope this allows us to negotiate the best rates for you. If you're not comfortable being charged later, please pledge for the PDF edition!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Parsely Downloadable File (PDF)

    >GET PDF

    YOU NOW HAVE THE PDF.

    A full-color PDF containing the complete book text. Not compatible with Apple II or Commodore 64 computers.

    Includes:
    • Parsely Games PDF
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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Parsely Games Hardcopy

    >GET BOOK AND PDF

    YOU NOW HAVE A HARDCOVER BOOK AND PDF.

    A full-color, hardcover compilation of all eight classic adventures, two brand-new games and two mini-games. Add it to your bookshelf and watch the accolades come rolling in.

    Includes:
    • Parsely Games hardcover
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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Parsely Signature Edition

    >ASK AUTHOR TO SIGN BOOK

    THE AUTHOR BEGRUDGINGLY SIGNS HIS NAME IN YOUR BOOK. IT TAKES A LONG TIME.

    For just $5 more, I'll deface your book with my incoherent scrawl.

    Includes:
    • Parsely Games hardcover (signed)
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Skully T-shirt + Book

    >WEAR SHIRT

    YOU PUT ON THE T-SHIRT.
    YOU NOW HAVE 1 POINT OF ARMOR.

    Get the Parsley Games hardcover wrapped in a handsome black t-shirt featuring everyone's favorite disembodied cranium—Skully!

    "A skeleton is a friend
    you carry inside yourself."
    —Jared A. Sorensen

    Includes:
    • Parsely Games hardcover
    • Skully t-shirt
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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Skully T-shirt + Signed Book

    >WEAR SHIRT

    YOU PUT ON THE T-SHIRT.
    YOU NOW HAVE 1 POINT OF ARMOR.

    Get a signed Parsley hardcover wrapped in a handsome black t-shirt featuring everyone's favorite disembodied cranium—Skully!

    "A skeleton is a friend
    you carry inside yourself."
    —Jared A. Sorensen

    Includes:
    • Parsely Games hardcover (signed)
    • Skully t-shirt
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Parsely Games for Retailers

    YOU SEE: A STACK OF BOOKS.

    >GET ALL

    YOU NOW HAVE 10 COPIES OF THE BOOK. YOUR PACK IS FULL. IT HURTS TO MOVE.

    Friends, this is an *amazing* business opportunity you cannot afford to pass up! Be the coolest store on the block by proudly displaying 10 copies of the Parsely Games hardcover on your otherwise drab and boring shelves!

    Please note: this offer is not available to online game e-tailers. Is that even a word?

    Includes:
    • 10× Parsely Games hardcover
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $850 or more About $850

    East Coast Guest Appearance

    >ASK AUTHOR TO TRAVEL EAST

    THE AUTHOR AGREES TO TRAVEL EAST.

    Planning an event on the east coast* in 2018 and want me to host some Parsely games? I'll show up and run games for a weekend.

    I'll also bring a signed book and a Skully t-shirt for you so people know who's the boss.

    * Sure, Montréal and Toronto. You count.

    Includes:
    • Special guest appearance (east coast only)
    • Parsely Games hardcover (signed)
    • Skully t-shirt
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Midwest Guest Appearance

    >ASK AUTHOR TO TRAVEL WEST

    THE AUTHOR AGREES TO TRAVEL TO THE MIDWEST OF THE COUNTRY—BUT NO FARTHER!

    Planning an event in the midwest* in 2018 and want me to host some Parsely games? I'll show up and run games for a weekend.

    I'll also bring a signed book and a Skully t-shirt to help you get through those long, dark winters.

    * Yeah, Calgary and Edmonton and everything in that area, as long as it's not really really cold. Twist my arm and I'll come to visit you, Austin, TX—especially if you take me out for some BBQ.

    Includes:
    • Special guest appearance (east coast only)
    • Parsely Games hardcover (signed)
    • Skully t-shirt
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    Pledge $1,250 or more About $1,250

    West Coast Guest Appearance

    >ASK AUTHOR TO CONTINUE WEST

    THE AUTHOR SIGHS WISTFULLY AND AGREES TO TRAVEL TO THE WEST OF THE COUNTRY.

    Planning an event on the west coast* in 2018 and want me to host some Parsely games? I'll show up and run games for a weekend.

    I'll also bring a signed book and a Skully t-shirt for you so people think you're totally rad—because you are totally rad.

    * Vancouver, I'm looking at you.

    Includes:
    • Special guest appearance (west coast only)
    • Parsely Games hardcover (signed)
    • Skully t-shirt
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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    European Guest Appearance

    >PUT AUTHOR ON FIRST-CLASS FLIGHT

    YOU CAN'T AFFORD THAT.
    WOULD YOU SETTLE FOR COACH (Y/N)?

    >Y

    VERY WELL. THE AUTHOR WILL SLEEP ON THE PLANE.

    Planning an event in the UK or Europe in 2018 and want me to host some Parsely games? Provided we're still all here, I'll show up and run games for a weekend.

    You also get a signed book and a Skully t-shirt. You'll look fabulous. Trust me.

    Includes:
    • Special guest appearance (international)
    • Parsely Games hardcover (signed)
    • Skully t-shirt
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Funding period

- (31 days)