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Misspent Youth: Teenage rebellion in a fucked-up future! Play the only kids that can stop some asshole from turning the world to shit.
Misspent Youth: Teenage rebellion in a fucked-up future! Play the only kids that can stop some asshole from turning the world to shit.
988 backers pledged $35,652 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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The game

Misspent Youth is a tabletop RPG about friendship, standing up to bullies, and changing the world. The game is for 4 to 6 people, one of whom plays The Authority, the force that's making the world a shitty place to live. The others all play Youthful Offenders (YOs), the only ones who can redeem the future from this pack of assholes trying to fuck it up.

Ever wanted to play The Hunger Games (but focused on friends), Clockwork Orange (but with heroic droogies), Hackers (but less goofy), Mad Max: Fury Road (but, again, with teenagers), or Avatar: The Last Airbender (but sci-fi)? This is the game for you. It's fucking awesome; if you want to see for yourself how awesome, check out the full text of issue 1.1 on my site, for free download.

By Rick Troula for the world "Dangertown" by Jared Sorensen
By Rick Troula for the world "Dangertown" by Jared Sorensen

The campaign

This Kickstarter is for a slightly-updated reprint of the game's core book, as well as a new supplement of worlds for and hacks of the game.

Wil Wheaton likes the game so much that he decided to feature it on season 4 of his YouTube show, TableTop with guest stars Amy DallenKelly Sue DeConnick, and Matt Fraction! If you're curious how the game works, you can watch these smart and funny people play it right now:

Part 0: Authority, dystopia, and YO creation

Part 1 of the story proper

Part 2, the story wraps up

While I'm utterly overjoyed by this attention, folks, I was in no way ready for it! So, like the little troublemakers in the game, it's time for me to Sell Out to achieve my long-term aims.

See, after getting Wheatoned by the mere announcement that the game would be on the show, I quickly sold all the remaining stock of books I had. So that's the heart of this campaign: I need more books to sell. My goal here is to fund a print run, but that's not all! I'm also going to give you a supplement, called Misspent Youth: Sell Out with Me, a setting book stuffed with additional worlds, plus hacks of the game's rules.

The carrot

Misspent Youth has been around for 9 years and has quite a few fans. To give all you old crusties an excuse to re-buy this game and deepen my coffers of fat loot, I've made a handful of small fixes and I've added five new settings to this updated "issue 1.2" version of the game. These are Authorities, YOs, and the worlds they live in. You can use them as-is, change them around a little, or just take them as examples of how to build your own worlds.

While I may be a sellout, I'm still a sold-out punk, so I'll put all these worlds online in a free form once the Kickstarter is over.

But that's not all this Kickstarter is about. We got a new supplement, too!

By Nyra Drakae for the world "India's Daughters" by Strix Beltrán and Ajit George
By Nyra Drakae for the world "India's Daughters" by Strix Beltrán and Ajit George

The supplement

When you're running a Kickstarter, the name of the game is making so much money that you can make a Scrooge-McDuck-like swan dive into mountains of jewels and coins (no matter how much that may hurt). In order to make that dream a reality, I've gathered a bunch of my friends together and asked them to Sell Out with Me. Misspent Youth: Sell Out with Me is a supplement for Misspent Youth featuring additional worlds and rules hacks.

The book has a multiverse's worth of new settings. Each includes The Authority, the Dystopia, and the YOs. These writers showcase the kinds of things you can make with those systems: We got space, we got fantasy, we got historical drama, we got uplifted animals, we got the real fucking world, and of course, it wouldn’t be an RPG supplement without your standard black and white world where you are the only ones who can bring color to it.

And if that weren’t enough, we’ve got two hacks of the game. These are complete minigames based on Misspent Youth, but with their own unique twists. You can play out the story of a band making music for Love, or a bunch of bitter Old Fucks who have to drag their carcasses out of retirement to fix a world gone (back) to hell.

All this wonderfulness comes from the minds of these designers and writers:

Caitlynn Belle, Strix Beltrán & Ajit George (writing together), Misha Bushyager, Judd Karlman, Kimberley Lam, Daniel LevineKira Magrann, Matthew McFarland, Michael Miller, Quinn Murphy, Joshua AC Newman, Dev Purkayastha, Alex Roberts, Hannah ShafferJared Sorensen, Daniel Swensen, Curt Thompson, Rachel E.S. Walton, Bill White, and Gregor Vuga.

Not only that, we have these amazing artists!

Christianne Benedict, Nyra Drakae, Alex MayoJennifer RodgersEvan Rowland, Ernanda Souza, Rick Troula, and Jabari Weathers.

The rules

Here's how Misspent Youth works: First you create the evil Authority as a group, then you create your characters together. At the start of each episode, you ask questions about the friendship between the characters, then you make up some villains for The Authority to employ in fucking up your lives. Each episode has a seven-scene structure which, in every complete session, gives you a story with a beginning, middle, and end.

When it comes to the place in each scene where The Authority tries to stomp you in the face with its massive, fuck-off boot, you have a Struggle. In a Struggle, you attempt to achieve your group's hope without letting The Authority get her objective. As you throw dice in a craps-like system, you can win it all for your side or fuck up your hopes for all your friends. But not to worry, if you roll a loss, you can sell out one of your convictions! You describe doing something so vile, heinous, and Authority-like that your friends are horrified with you. You win it for your side but now you're permanently more like The Authority!

Once the first YO has sold out every conviction, that's the last episode of the series. In each episode, you have the chance to change the world to make it a better place to live. If the last episode of the series ends and you haven't changed the world enough, a catastrophe that the group authors at the start of the game comes to pass, and it's your clique's fault for failing to stop it. But if you beat The Authority, you can fix the world.

Ernanda Suoza's piece for the world "RLLRDLLZ: Seek Truth and Report It" by Joshua AC Newman
Ernanda Suoza's piece for the world "RLLRDLLZ: Seek Truth and Report It" by Joshua AC Newman

The books

The core book is:

  • 113 pages
  • Black & white interior with a color, matte cover
  • Trade paperback comic book size: 6.625 in x 10.25 in (17 cm x 26 cm)
  • Perfect-bound with the name of the game on the spine
  • Filled with cool-as-fuck style inside

The Sell Out with Me supplement has the same features, size, and so on, but it's got 196 pages.

The buzz

  • Misspent Youth is unlike any other RPG I’ve ever played[....] This is a game that lets us focus on the story, and makes it possible for old guys like me to imagine that we’re still young and fighting every day for something more important than a parking space.Wil Wheaton, host of TableTop and awesome dude, among other things 
  • I really enjoyed Misspent Youth. It's nicely simple, it's quick ... and the system works.... — Matt McFarland, Owner/president of Growling Door Games
  • [W]e have a few in our group that enjoy RPGs, and a few that merely put up with them since that’s what’s going on. [Misspent Youth] got even the latter category of player to invest his time and emotions into the game. Because of that, every player was firing on all cylinders, working hard to create an enjoyable and entertaining story.Greg Costikyan, game designer and science fiction writer
By Evan Rowland for the world "Last Days in Heaven" by Gregor Vuga
By Evan Rowland for the world "Last Days in Heaven" by Gregor Vuga

The clique

Here are the people making this happen:

  • Robert Bohl is the designer, author, and owner of Misspent Youth. He began designing the game in August of 2006 and has been milking it ever since. For this project, he gathered the artists and writers, worked with and edited them, and structured the book. He's done a few other things, some of which may have heard of (like his Game Chef 2016 winning entry, Beyond Our Walls). Why do you want to know so much about him? What's it to you?
  • Joshua A.C. Newman is the book designer and has been with the project since the beginning, giving the 2010 "issue 1" edition the unique style that the game is known for. Joshua is also the designer of a number of games, including the amazing Shock:Social Science Fiction, and is the publisher of Mobile Frame Zer0: Rapid Attack.
  • Jennifer Rodgers has been the primary artist for the game since the beginning; she did the amazing cover and most of the rest of the art. I'm so excited to pull her back down into the tabletop game ghetto from the lofty heights she is currently floating in. She will be providing Sell Out with Me's front and back cover images.
  • Adam Dray is the book’s editor and was one of the editors on “issue 1.” He pushed me to say “fuck” more wherever I slipped into a shitty dishwasher manual voice, to return it to its punk-as-fuck heart. Adam has edited some other amazing games like Annalise and Happy Birthday, Robot!, and he’s started dabbling in publishing his own stuff under the imprint Verdigris Press.
  • Luke Crane (designer and publisher of the amazing Burning Wheel, Burning Empires, and Mouse Guard RPG) is now publishing Misspent Youth through his company, Burning Wheel Headquarters. Luke has been a trusted friend for many years and has given me lots of crucial advice (including prompting me to rename almost every term in the game). I'm so excited to be working with him.
  • The song in the Kickstarter video, "Misspent Youth," is by Drakulas. We commissioned it for this campaign, and I love it so much, I want you to be able to hear the whole thing. You can do that, and see a lyric video I made, at YouTube.

Risks and challenges

The core game is complete, designed, playtested, and works. The supplement is typeset and in the editing and adding art phase. There is already a PDF-level-and-higher Backer-only update with text-complete, early drafts of both books in PDF. Other than waiting on a few art pieces, all that remains is editing the layout and adding art to it.

There could also be some delays in printing, but I consider the risks here to be low.

My publisher, Burning Wheel Headquarters, is handling fulfillment. I am confident they will make everything about this process run very smoothly. They've been putting out incredible books for over a decade and have run several successful Kickstarters.

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    Huh, ya' think it's funny
    Turnin' rebellion into money

    — The Clash, "White Man (in Hammersmith Palais)"

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    Do you remember when we were young, adventure had no end?
    Those were the days my friend

    —Bad Religion, "The Day That the Earth Stalled"

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    MY core rulebook, paper + PDF

    We'd only been friends for short time, but in just an hour or two
    It was like we'd been friends our entire lives through
    And I was so in love with you, but not sure if I should say it
    And I thought: "Yeah, I'm scared, and I don't know if I should, but I'll do it anyway!"

    — Anti-Flag, "That's Youth"

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    When she talks, I hear the revolution
    In her hips, there's revolution
    When she walks, the revolution's coming
    In her kiss, I taste the revolution

    — Bikini Kill, "Rebel Girl"

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    Every time I say something they find hard to hear
    They chalk it up to my anger
    And never to their own fear

    —Ani DiFranco, “Not a Pretty Girl”

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    I DON’T OWE YOU ANYTHING
    I’M NOT A PART OF YOU
    YOU CAN’T TAKE AWAY EVERYTHING
    I’M NOT A PART OF YOU

    —Sleater-Kinney, “The Last Song”

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    No one will do it for us, we'll just have to fix ourselves
    Honesty ain't all that hard
    Just put Rambo back inside your pants
    Causing trouble for the system is much more fun

    — Dead Kennedys, "Stars and Stripes of Corruption"

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    Black, Brown, White we're all punk rock
    We're the kings of our low income block
    Worn-out sneakers, skinheads, mohawk
    When we all get together yeh the music won't stop

    — Rancid, "I Ain't Worried"

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    Play with me @ PAX Unplugged 2017

    Bring da motherfuckin' ruckus

    — Wu-Tang Clan, "Bring da Ruckus"

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    Play with me @ Metatopia 2017

    These record labels slang our tapes like dope
    You can be next in line and signed and still be writing rhymes and broke
    You would rather have a Lexus or justice, a dream or some substance?
    A Beamer, a necklace, or freedom

    — Dead Prez, "Hip Hop"

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    Play with me online

    Not strong, only aggressive cause the power ain't directed
    That's why we are subjected to the will of the oppressive
    Not free, we only licensed, not live, we just exciting
    Cause the captors own the masters to what we writing
    Not compassionate, only polite, we well trained
    Our sincerity's rehearsed in stage, it's just a game
    Not good, but well behaved cause the camera survey
    Most of the things that we think, do, or say

    — Black Star "Thieves in the Night"

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- (30 days)