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A player-vs-player, open-world, GM-less, player-moderated competitive storytelling game of underhanded schemes!
A player-vs-player, open-world, GM-less, player-moderated competitive storytelling game of underhanded schemes!
251 backers pledged $17,166 to help bring this project to life.

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Power Play - Competitive Storytelling for Supervillains

$17,166

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If you missed the Kickstarter Project, don't worry! You can still get Power Play from our online store! 

We have renamed the project from "Skullduggery" to prevent confusion with Pelgrane Press's existing RPG, Skulduggery. Thanks for your patience as we re-brand. Any references you see to "Skullduggery" are references to "Power Play: Schemes and Skulduggery"

AGENCY BONUS: EVERY OPERATOR Backer and above will get a second Competitive Narrative Game in addition to POWER PLAY! Special Thanks to our 6K backer!


The city is peaceful. In as much as a city this size can be. It's an old city. Founded when the country still only touched one coast. The old brick buildings still mingle with the new steel and glass towers that make up the commercial district. A sprawling suburb sits on its outskirts, housing the majority of the population that work in the city by day. Oddly built on a river that feeds out into the ocean, its size eventually enveloped the surrounding land until the city seemed to accommodate all features into one massive metropolis. It has an airport, rolling hills, docks, sports stadiums, a dump, an island and endless other features, all filled to the brim with working people.

The ordinary people who occupy the city go about their daily lives, hoping for some level of prosperity. Some want wealth and others just want to be left alone. None of them really have the means. The wealthy, strong, and happy got what they wanted through too much hard work and more luck than they dare admit. The Mayor has had a problem of late. His advisers tell him that though overall crime is down, the number of unexplained and unconventional crimes has risen. His more connected advisers tell him that something nefarious is coming to the city, something to do with the Agency.

The Mayor, not a stranger to the strange, has taken steps to protect the city and, more importantly, his interests within. Embezzled funds, borrowed favors and blackmailed resources have all gone into a number of assets to give the police an edge against such unusual forces. The citizens, ever ignorant, are now policed by men trained to deal with enemies who are supernaturally powered, genetically alien, and scientifically advanced. 

This city, a giant honeybee hive, has been chosen by the Agency to hide a game of dueling hornets. 

The Agency 

The Agency is a shadowy group called by many names. "Illuminati" "Section 6" "The G-men"--They've been accused of many conspiracies and certainly have the means to carry them out. However, the Agency's true concern has always been in manipulating and using those they call "Outliers"--individuals who are "different", "supernatural", and "dangerous".

Their Modus Operandi was established hundreds of years ago, and it continues to work to this day. "Give them something to do. Pit them against each other. And let the winner play into our hands." The Agency finds and manipulates these individuals, feeding their delusions of power and pushing them closer to their goals. They are corralled into the chosen arena, given the tools of the game, and provided with powerful allies that can get them what they want. Then the game begins... 

Download a free preview game of Power Play
Download a free preview game of Power Play

You can also listen to an audiocast of a live Power Play: Schemes & Skulduggery game here, to get an idea of how it plays! 

Or listen to an abbreviated version on our podcast: 

http://traffic.libsyn.com/level99games/Lvl99Podcast20130630.mp3

"Power Play is a game of taking small actions that no one can argue with, until they add up to create a situation where you can declare that you've won the game and no one can argue that you haven't done it."

- John Parmalee, Author of Power Play: Schemes & Skulduggery

Power Play is a new kind of storytelling game, a Competitive Narrative Game. In the game, you will take on the role of a supernatural mastermind with a villainous plot to execute. The first to put all the pieces of his secret plot into place can declare himself the winner!

Power Play is not a Traditional Storytelling Game. You will not act out your character's actions, you will not need to adhere to any in-game moral code or class restrictions, and you will not need to keep your out-of-game knowledge separate from your in-game knowledge. There are no stats, no calculations, and no complex sets of dice to roll. 

Instead, the game plays out much like a larger and more organized 'Who would win?' battle of supervillains, much like the arguments you may have had with friends over lunch or during game night. Skullduggery captures the core of the contest--context, powers, and decisions, and tempers them into a fast-paced, lively battle of wits mixed with a downward spiral of morality.

On your turns, simply dictate your actions, and they come to pass. Utilize secret actions, your supernatural powers, the resources of your vast agency, and superior planning to gain an advantage and be the first to complete your objective.

Power Play: Schemes & Skulduggery is underhanded, unrestricted supervillainy in a free-form, open environment. We like to think of it as "the Grand Theft Auto of Storytelling Games".

Here's a look at some of the villains you'll have at your disposal...

We've combined a bunch of cool stuff into Skullduggery, and we have even more to offer if we hit some stretch goals. So here's what we have put together to create the Power Play Experience:

Game Book - The game book will be about 100 pages, with a black and white interior and tough square binding. It will give detailed rules for the game, a quick rules overview, and an index with all the characters and scenarios in the game. All in all, the book is about 40 pages of rules and gameplay and 60 pages of game content, illustrations, and scenarios, including:

  • Over 5 different 'core scenarios' including a chase for a top secret briefcase, a haunted Shrunken Head that possesses its holder and grants new powers, and a cursed amulet that kills anyone who comes into contact with it, just to name a few!
  • Multi-stage plots that require you to lay careful long-term plans and collaborate with the other villains in the game.
  • Variants that put you on secret teams with other players, cooperating in plots you only know half of.
  • Multiple "bonus scenarios" including a Zombie Outbreak, a Superhero Team, and (hilariously enough) managing a mini-mall as your rivals try to sabotage your business.

Cards - The game will come with a deck of large tarot-sized cards that contain common elements, supernatural roles, and mundane roles.

Extras - We want to include player pawns, custom dice, extra cards, and a game box, but these will require us to hit some of our stretch goals. Read on below to find out about these...

Digital Rewards

These rewards are completely digital!

Get Stuff Rewards

We'll ship you games with these reward tiers!

Creative Rewards

You'll get to expand the game for everyone by choosing these rewards!

The Merch

If you are a Game Store Owner, we want Power Play on the shelf of your store! We will match any MIMIC level pledge you make and double the amount we send you when the campaign ends, giving you an effective 50% retailer discount on stock for your shelves.

To claim this bonus, you must have a physical retailer address in the USA.

(Store Flyers and materials to help you let your local community know about Power Play can be found below!)

$9,000 - Supervillains from Space! - Six new Supernatural Role cards, themed around classic movie monsters, included in every copy of the game.

$10,000 - Companion Scenario Book - An extra companion book that contains 10+ additional common elements and scenarios, contributed by well-known and up-and-coming authors in the RPG and storytelling genre. I'm really excited about this one and we've already contacted some pretty cool folks to work with on it. Included with every OPERATOR and higher KS pledge at no extra charge. (Other tiers will receive a PDF download.)

$11,000 - No More Heroes - Six new Supernatural Role cards, themed around well-known superheroes, included in every copy of the game!

... and more to be announced soon!

Who are we?


Level 99 Games is a team of designers and artists who create high-quality RPGs, board games, and card games packed with content and replayability. We are the publishers of BattleCON, Mystic Empyrean, Pixel Tactics, the Minigame Library, and many more games!

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John Parmalee is the author of Power Play. After about a year of serious planning (and many more years of brainstorming and mental percolation) he has brought Power Play to paper and to your hands. John has been roleplaying and writing games for years. This is his third game to make it to print.

Brad Talton is the producer of Power Play. He is especially excited to be working on what he considers to be a unique new style of game. As the author of Mystic Empyrean, he has a fondness for GM-less and narrative-heavy games.

Danny, Fábio, and Ana are the artists for Power Play. Danny has done most of the original art for the game, but has left  commission art to pursue his own projects. Ana and Fábio have picked up where he left off and are capturing the gritty and dark style of Power Play in upcoming artworks.

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Show your support for Power Play: Schemes & Skulduggery with banners and avatars!

Store Fliers

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Risks and challenges

Power Play: Schemes and Skulduggery is a radical new kind of storytelling experience. While we're very excited to bring it to you, there's a huge risk involved in bringing to the world not just a new game, but what we consider a whole new genre of game. The biggest risk for this project is determining what interest you, the players, will have in this new kind of experience we're offering.

We have already gotten quotes from a printer we've worked with before to produce high-quality game components and packaging, as well as calculated the costs of shipping, marketing, and production. We've playtested and polished the game for months. All that remains now is to get the game into your hands.

Here's a breakdown of our projected costs, for those curious:
- $350 - Amazon / Kickstarter fees
- $2,200 - Print run of 1000 books
- $3,200 - Print run of 1000 card decks
- $1000 - Shipping for ~250 pledges
- $750 - Author's Royalty
- $1,000 - Artist's Fees

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    THE BYSTANDER - A collection of 10 downloadable Skullduggery Wallpapers sized for your desktop, tablet, and phone. All higher reward tiers also receive this reward!

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    THE SUPPLIER - A random Skullduggery character card, signed by John, as well as a collection of Microgames, including the Skullduggery Microgame.

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    THE INFORMANT - A Print-and-Play Edition of Skullduggery, plus print and play cards.

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    THE FIRESTARTER - A copy of the Skullduggery game book. You can play the game perfectly fine with disposable index cards. You don't need the fancy cards--you'd probably just burn them anyway.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    THE TORTURED SOUL - It's all in the cards! Get a set of the Skullduggery game cards, plus a PDF of the game. You'll have everything to play the fancy version of Skullduggery on a minimum budget.

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    THE OPERATOR - The Skullduggery game book AND its companion card set together. Plus a PDF download of the game book!

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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    THE MIMIC - Three boxed copies of Skullduggery and companion card sets. Add $30 per extra set (up to the KS limit of 10 sets). -- Please add $40 per extra set instead if you are an international backer.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    THE SEER - A copy of Skullduggery, plus our previously published Roleplaying Game, Mystic Empyrean, with companion card sets for both games.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE CREEP - Create a Mundane Role. Everything in the OPERATOR reward, plus you get to name a mundane role (such as journalist, doctor, hacker, etc) and work with us to determine their traits and appearance. Your mundane role will appear in every copy of Skullduggery. There is a waiver to fill out when you select this reward tier. (Feel free to contact us and discuss before selecting this reward).

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    THE GATECRASHER - Get the OPERATOR reward, plus our entire line of Level 99 Games–Mystic Empyrean, BattleCON: Devastation, BattleCON: Strikers, BattleCON: Devastation Extended Edition, Seven Card Slugfest, Disc Duelers, Pixel Tactics 1 and 2, and the Minigame Library.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    THE PROPHET - Create a Common Element. All the rewards of the Operator tier, plus you name an object, and we'll work together with you to infuse it with strange supernatural powers and make it a MacGuffin in the world of Skullduggery. The new common element will appear in every box of Skullduggery. There is a waiver to sign when you fill out this form. (Feel free to contact us and discuss before selecting this reward).

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    THE MAN OF THE YEAR - Create a Supernatural Role. Everything in the MIMIC reward, plus you get to create a new iconic supernatural role and work with us to determine their traits, supernatural powers, and appearance. The new role will appear in every boxed set of Skullduggery. There is a waiver to sign when you fill out this form. (Feel free to contact us and discuss before selecting this reward).

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    Pledge $6,000 or more About $6,000

    THE AGENCY - Kickstarter is great and all, but why wait on new games to fund when you can just make them appear out of the Aether? With this pledge, we will commit to print a SECOND Competitive Narrative Game, with a totally different theme and roster from Power Play. EVERY BACKER from the OPERATOR tier and above will get a copy of this new game. Also, we'll send you a copy of every game we've ever made, AND ten copies of both Power Play and the extra game you've added to the project AND a special credit in the rules of both games!

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Funding period

- (25 days)