Monday, October 9, 2023

Holding your breath and doing math - RPG or party game?

 As I mentioned in my last blog, I decided to read a couple micro RPGs. The first one, Holy Mountain, was just what I expected. Wreckdivers.. was not.

Wreckdivers, from what I can tell, was originally published in Table Top Magazine, as was Holy Mountain. I’ve never actually seen the magazine but I am now under the assumption that one-page games were a regular feature.

It’s a game of doing math with dice rolls while you hold your breath.

The theme is diving down to wrecked ships to salvage gold. The active player rolls two dice to see how long they need hold their breath. During that time, they roll two red dice and and two white dice. If the sum of the white dice is greater than the sum of red dice, you get the difference in gold. Keep on rolling and keep doing the math in your head while you hold your breath.

You can surface any time during your dive but if you breathe or run out of time, you lose any gold you got. Other players can talk during your turn and if they make you laugh, that counts as breathing.

Okay, I stand corrected. It’s a game of doing math while holding your breath while the jerks you hang out with try and make you laugh.

I have to admit, I think that Wreckdivers is kind of genius in its silly, slaphappy fun. Most micro RPGs invoke fear or anger or sadness. Because those are easy. (I once tried to get a manuscript of micro games published and I know I leaned heavily on those emotions. Because I knew I could get them to work) A game designed to make people laugh? That’s harder and I respect Wreckdivers for going for that.

It’s no Sea Dracula but that’s a high standard. Wreckdivers isn’t a game I’d play with folks who are looking for bleed in their RPGs but I would play it with the bastards who I’d have played with Diplomacy with.

There is one tweak I’d add to Wreckdivers. Have the non-active players take on the personas of folks sitting on the dock or in the boat. THEN it becomes an actual RPG.

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