Sunday, 26 August 2012

Everyone is John

This Friday's game was postponed and a new GM, Thora, stepped up to the plate and offered to run a a one session game called Everyone is John.  I'd never heard of this game but as it was described as a rules light freeform competitive game, it was just up my alley.

John Cleese
John Cleese
The set-up for the game is simple, John is a normal bloke going about his day-to-day existence when he has a schitzophrenic episode and begins to listen to The Voice in his head.  Each player becomes a voice, with their own unique set of skills and obsessions.  However, John can only listen to one voice at a time so the players must bid using willpower to control The Voice and thereby influence what John does.  It's handy if you represent willpower with a bunch of tokens as players can simply reveal how many tokens they have in their hand.  The winning bidder then loses those tokens for the rest of the game.  

John is quite fickle and so control of The Voice only lasts for about 10 minutes or until a player fails a roll, at which time the bidding process starts again. 


Jon Bon Jovi
Jon Bon Jovi
Each player is then issued with 6 blank cards upon which they have to write 3 skills and 3 obsessions.  These are then randomly distributed to each player making sure nobody picked their own skills or obsessions.

Skills are used to reduce the difficulty of completing an action and can be actual skills (Boxing, PC Repair, Knowledge: Thermonuclear Devices), special abilities (Hail a cab first time everytime, ) or equipment (Letter Opener, Mobile Phone, Sonic Screwdriver).  Remember, the game is competitive and what you write down goes to your opponents so picking really usefull or powerful skills will most likely work against you.

Obsessions are your victory conditions and are ranked in 3 levels:

Jeanne D'Arc
Level 1 - Easy (pig out on candy, pick your nose on live TV)
Level 2 - Medium (steal a fast car, kiss a celebrity)
Level 3 - Hard (become President of the United States, Go to the Moon)

Each time you complete an obsession you score its Level, the more times you complete them the more points you score.  At the end of the game, the player with the most points is declared the winner.


Our Skills

Can Touch
their Nose
Their Tongue
Tune a Guitar Eat Fire Can
with a
Single Ant
Sonic Screwdriver Bricklaying Kung Fu Summon a
mode of
Transport by
his Last
Can hail a cab
first time,
every time
Fly a plane Literary Criticism Become the
Master of the
by wearing a
traffic cone  on
his head
and singing
"I've got the Power,
To Pick up a flower"

Our Obsessions

LVL 1 Cook
an Ostrich
Become a
Pick Nose on
Live TV
Kick an
Authority Figure
up the Bum
and run away
Charlie Chaplin
LVL 2 Steal an
Atom Bomb
Stop a
Terrorist Bomb
from destroying
Eiffel Tower
Steal a
Waxwork of
Draw a
on a
Traffic Warden
LVL 3 Capture
a Dinosaur
Find Evidence
Aliens Exist
in Area 51
Make a dog
have a
white poo

What John Did

John Shuttleworth
John Shuttleworth
John began the game walking through Victoria Station, London when he had his first episode.  He then ran outside the station and hailed a cab telling the driver to head for Madame Tussauds Waxwork Museum.  (BID)  He asked the driver to head instead for London Zoo and if he could stop by some road works on the way.  The taxi driver pulled over to the side of the road and John leap out and grabbed a traffic cone, stuck it on his head and started singing "Ive got the Power... To Pick up a Flower".  He then summoned forth all traffic wardens and got back in the taxi. 

As the taxi sped towards London Zoo, traffic wardens were walking out of side roads in a zombie-like trance.  The taxi driver swerved around them and John opened the window and tried to grab one as they passed but failed.  (BID)  John immediately demanded the taxi head to Madame Tussauds and he tried to use his sonic screwdriver to make the taxi go faster, but unfortunately failed.  (BID)  John abandoned the taxi and whilst smoking his last cigarette, summoned the TARDIS.  As it began to materialise he spotted a nearby Lollipop Woman and kicked her up the bum and ran towards the TARDIS (but unfortunately not like Charlie Chaplin).  The Doctor was suprised that the TARDIS had been so easily summoned but when John asked to go back in time to the Jurrasic era to capture a dinosaur, his curiosity got the better of him.

John Belushi
John Belushi
Arriving in the Jurrasic era, The Doctor agreed to wait in the TARDIS for John to return and watched him walk off into the swamp.  (BID)  John used his Literary Criticism to argue with himself that the Doctor was a fictional character and that the TARDIS was a poorly executed plot device and so could not possibly have transported him back through time.  This clearly meant that the swamp he was in was simply a Jurrasic era exhibit in a Natural History Museum somewhere like Sydney, Australia.  He promptly tore the shirt off his back and waved it around in the air and shouted "I claim this land in the name of Queen and Country and hereby name her Australia!!"...


The players got into the swing of things pretty quickly and it was definitely the most hilariously anarchic and inventive game I've played in a long time.  Most RPGs are not wild fights of fantasy for obvious reasons, but it is good to let your hair down every now and then to play something which demands unbridled creativity.  This game would be great in an after convention/party situation or as we found as a filler game if your regular DM hasn't turned up.

John McEnroe
John McEnroe
With slight modification to the pre-amble (Mental Health is a serious issue) and possibly pre-defined skills/goals (to keep the action a little more grounded) this concept could be used quite successfully as an introduction to RPGs for non-gamers.  It encourages problem solving through creativity and imagination and the action is fast paced with only a modicum of dice rolling so should be able to hold most people's attention.

This is definitely going into my GMs Survival Kit and may well get another play quite soon.

1 comment:

  1. My girlfriend played this at the Student nationals this year and had a great time. You're right about having preset skills and obsessions helping to keep it a tiny bit more under control, she has also just informed me that playing for a few hours is great, 8+ hours, tends to get a bit samey.