I’m pleased to announce that I just received an endorsement for The Lurker in the Library, my Lovecraft-themed murder mystery dinner party game, from none other than Howard Phillips Lovecraft himself!
I’ve created a simplified PDF version of 27 Haiku: A Game of Art and Poetry that you can print at home or at your school. You’ll need 100 unlined 3×5 index cards. This version does not include art cards; you will need to choose a source of images, such as Flickr or The Google Art Project, in order to play.
UPDATE: A print-on-demand version of 27 Haiku is now available from The Game Crafter. Click here to order.
To download the print-at-home PDF version of 27 Haiku, click here.
Trailer soundtrack by Kevin MacLeod.
I’m proud to offer a preview of 27 Haiku: A Game of Art and Poetry. 27 Haiku is many things: a game, a tool to strengthen creativity and aesthetic judgement, a portable collection of fine art, and a work of experimental literature, among others. When playing the game, players compete to arrange fragments of poems into haiku; the winner of each round is the player whose composition most beautifully represents a particular famous work of visual art.
Sometimes these haiku are poignant:
Sometimes they are beautiful:
Many people have contacted me about The Lurker in the Library, my Lovecraft-inspired dinner party mystery game, with requests to translate it into another language, modify it to be played with fewer people, or make other changes. Now you can! I’m releasing the entire 11,000 word script of the Lurker in the Library under a Creative Commons license. Click here to download. You are free to remix and redistribute the script in any way that you like, as long as you don’t sell it and don’t use any of the images or audio that are part of the paid version of the game.
WARNING: 95% of this script is spoilers. If you haven’t played the game yet, you should wait until you have before downloading the script.
I was very excited when I first learned about Nomic, a part-game-part-philosophical-experiment created in 1982. The basic premise of Nomic is that, while playing, players can vote to change the rules of the game. I decided to make my own twist on Nomic; I call it EcoNomic because in my version players use money to bid for rule changes in a silent auction. The game works best if each rule is listed on a separate card on a table. The full rules are below; click here to download a version that you can print on 3×5 index cards.
- Give each player $100 at the start of the game. Place the rest of the game’s money in a bank. Use a random method to determine the first player. Then begin the first player’s turn and discard this rule.
- If any player has $200 or more during her turn, she wins the game.
- During a player’s turn he has one action to spend.
- You may spend one action to collect $10 from the bank.
- You may spend one action to add a new rule. If you do this, first write the text of the rule on a card and read it aloud. Then ratify the rule change. This rule cannot be changed, replaced, or discarded.
- You may spend one action to discard a rule. If you do this, first declare which rule will be discarded. Then ratify the rule change.
- You may spend one action to replace a rule. If you do this, first declare which rule will be replaced. Write the new text on a card and read it aloud. Then ratify the rule change.
- Ratify all rule changes by silent auction; all players vote “yea” or “nay”, using any number of their dollars as votes; all players reveal their votes at the same time.
- A rule change does not take effect unless it is ratified with at least twice as many “yea” votes as “nay” votes.
- Ratified rule changes take effect at the beginning of the next turn before the next player can take any actions.
- All money used to ratify rule changes goes to the bank.
- When a player has no more actions to spend, end the player’s turn.
- When a player’s turn ends, begin the turn of the player to his left.
Monopoly is a fun game. Magic: the Gathering is a fun game. Therefore, anything that combines their rules must be a fun game! Here is my frankensteined creation; I call it Magicopoly.
Magicopoly combines the rules of Monopoly and Magic: the Gathering by using money as life, turning properties into creatures and lands, allowing players to purchase houses and hotels for their creatures, and making other adaptations. To play magicopoly, you will need a Monopoly game set and a deck of Magic cards for each player (alternatively, you may construct a single deck of Magic cards that all players share).
Players begin the game with $2000 (or $3000 if three or more people are playing). Each point of life is represented by $100; rather than gaining or losing life, players instead gain or lose money. When a player has $0, he or she loses the game and his or her properties are returned to the bank.
Each player’s turn has all of the phases of a turn in Magic. Players roll and move on the board during their precombat main phase.
Effects of the Monopoly game board (Community Chance, rent payments, luxury tax, etc.) are placed on the stack at sorcery speed and can be responded to by any instant effect.
A player may make trades at any time during his or her turn; if a creature is traded during the combat phase, it is removed from combat (but not untapped). Trades take place immediately–they do not go on the stack. The active player may make a trade even if there are effects on the stack that have yet to resolve.
Properties count as nonbasic land. Properties can be tapped for mana as follows:
Black mana: all railroads, Baltic, Mediterranean
White: Electric company, Waterworks, Virginia, States, St. Charles
Blue: Boardwalk, Park place, Connecticut, Vermont, Oriental
Red: Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, New York, Tennessee, St. James
Green: Pacific avenue, North Carolina, Pennsylvania Avenue, Marvin Gardens, Ventnor, Atlantic
Each property also counts as a creature of the color of the mana that it produces; it has the creature type “Property”. Properties have power and toughness equal to their purchase price divided by 100 (rounded up). If a property is dealt damage equal to or greater than its toughness, it is returned to the bank.
Players do not untap their creatures during their untap phase (including their properties). When players pass go, they draw a card, untap all permanents, and collect $200.
Rent is treated as combat damage. If a property is tapped, it does not collect rent.
Effects that would increase or decrease the power of a property raise or lower the rent value by $100 for each point of power.
When you mortgage a property, tap it; mortgaged properties cannot be untapped and their activated abilities cannot be played (they don’t have any activated abilities by default, but if some effect would grant them activated abilities they cannot be used).
Players can trade any permanents that they control or any cards in their hands in addition to the typical items that can be traded in Monopoly. During trades auras must stay on the enchanted cards or properties. If cards are already in play, they remain in play after trading; if cards are in hand, they remain in hand after trading.
In addition to their usual rent-changing effects, houses are treated as +1/+1 counters. Hotels are treated as auras of the same color as the creatures that they enchant; they grant the following effects:
Red: first strike
If a player owns three or more creatures of the same color and no one else owns any creatures of that color, he or she may pay three colorless mana to put a house on one of those creatures (or, if a creature already has four houses, a hotel). This effect is played as a sorcery. Players must build evenly and cannot have more than four houses and one hotel on any creature.
If you are in jail, your creatures cannot attack and you may not play instants, sorceries, or activated abilities.
There will undoubtedly be times when the rules of Magic and Monopoly don’t work together in some way. If this happens, choose whatever interpretation of the rules is the most fun.
Do you know a teacher living in the United States who would benefit from a free copy of an educational game? As I release several new games over the next few months, I will be unrolling the Games for Teachers Project, my effort to get useful and fun tools into the hands of educators. You may nominate any US teacher by entering his or her name and school district into the form below. If you are a teacher, feel free to nominate yourself!
When the Project is in full swing, you will be able to use this site to purchase a game to send to a teacher from the database. I will mail the game and a letter with your personalized message directly to the teacher’s school. Teachers will receive games in the order that they are nominated–your purchase will be sent to the next teacher on the list.
The first game released as part of the Games for Teachers Project will be 27 Haiku: A Game of Art and Poetry. The Kickstarter campaign to print the first 1,000 copies of 27 Haiku is happening right now! The funding period ends on December 5th.
Something has gone horribly wrong at the dedication of Miskatonic University’s new library, and it is up to your group of eight friends to save the world from disaster. Which of your number has been possessed by an otherworldly consciousness? Which is a cultist trying to finish the dark work that was started? Find out in the Lurker in the Library, the Kickstarter-funded murder mystery dinner party game inspired by the cosmic horror stories of H. P. Lovecraft.
The Lurker in the Library is a print-and-play game for 8 players; the game is delivered as a zip file containing 35 PDFs and 14 MP3s. It is played in 3 acts, with 7 different possible endings. Gather your friends to your home for a fancy dress-up dinner party, or meet together with the help of your favorite video chat application.
This game takes place in 1920’s Massachusetts during the dedication of the newly-constructed Library of Ancient Manuscripts in H.P. Lovecraft’s fictional Miskatonic University. Each player will take on one of the following roles:
- Harold Gogia, the Professor
- Isabella Bishop, the Librarian
- Luther Freeman, the Politician
- Samantha Clemson, the Inventor
- Howard Phillips, the Reporter
- Christine Westwood, the Administrator
- Franklin Orville, the Architect
- Elizabeth Blaine, the Philanthropist
Please enjoy a sample of the game audio:
Content Advisory: This game has a horror theme; you may not enjoy it if firearms, magical chanting, possession, or moral dilemmas make you uncomfortable.