Wednesday, November 24, 2004

I'm not American, but...

Tomorrow is Turkey Day in America. As Tycho over at Penny Arcade commented, Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays where the focus is on the animal being eaten rather than gods or whatever. Christmas is about presents, it's a sad capitalist fact. But Thanksgiving is about eating turkies. Lots of turkies. And very possibly putting them in your co-worker's offices (...or at least, directing them there, as in the 2nd season episode "Shibboleth" of The West Wing).

In memory of all the turkies that are about to be eaten, very possibly with stuffing, very hopefully with gravy, and unfortunatly with cranberry sauce, I now present to you:

Turkey: The Feasting

Turkey: The Feasting is yet another a simple, diceless game about slacker college students trying to put together a Thanksgiving dinner with no time to spare. All tests are resolved with a simple "rock-paper-scissors" challenge (best two out of three if you tie, unless your Major would change this [see below]). The objective of the game is to compete with other slacker college students who want the last couple turkies for THEIR Thanksgiving dinner, the guy at the beer store who refuses to believe you're 21, and trying to beat up your room mate for the drum stick.

The theme of Turkey is hunger. You are hungry. You want food now. Preferably with gravy on it, and hopefully not burnt to a crisp or frozen raw. This means that you may have to work for it. That is unfortunate.

The mood of Turkey is sturborn slackerness. No one wants to get the turkey. But once they get assigned to it damned if they're going to let that bird get away. The other mood of Turkey is humor. You want to be the only person who's not doing anything, so you can drink beer, watch football, and maybe find a live turkey to throw in someone's closet.

There are four main traits in Turkey. They will fluctuate as the game goes on.
-Slack. Slack represents just how much you've been able to get away with. You can spend six Slack to make the opposing team lose a point of Turkey. If you go over ten Slack, at all, even by one point, your buddies throw you out of the house and you get to call Mom and Dad from a pay phone and beg to come home, even if you have to apologize to Aunt Ruth for funneling beer into her cat, Fluffy, last Christmas. You can spend Slack to try and convince other people to do stuff for you. Slack opposes Duty.
-Duty. Duty measures how much you're welling to do and go out of your way to do to make this work. If you spent five hours and fifty bucks at a fake ID place to make SURE that you could get beer for your buddies just for this special occasion, you get Duty. If you pocket half the turkey money to buy the last few issues of Hustler that you missed, you lose Duty. You can spend five points of Duty to gain a point of Turkey. Duty opposes Slack.
-Hunger. Hunger is the enemy. When you gain Slack or Duty, you also gain Hunger. If you get to five Hunger, you lose the game because you passed out on the couch and no one noticed. Hopefully someone finds you after dinner and nurses you back to health with some pumpkin pie. But then again, maybe not. You lose Hunger whenever you eat something, but since eating something brings you to the attention of your friends, you lose Slack. Also, since you're a starving college student who has no money, if you want to eat you also could lose a point of Duty instead because you stole some turkey money to get food.
-Turkey. Turkey measures how far along you and your team is on getting the meal done. You can cash in five points of Duty for a point of Turkey. You can cash in six points of Slack to make the opposing team lose a point of Turkey (as you go over and bug them and slack with them). You need 10 points of Turkey (or just more than your opponents) to win.

Teamwork (aka "Character Generation")
The players pair off into two to four teams. They will all compete against one another. One player can decide to play an entire team, in which case each controls three students. Each student needs a one word first name, last name, or nick name (so Mike, Blackwell, or Big Ears all perfectly suitable ways to name someone who's full name is Mike "Big Ears" Blackwell). Each student gets a Major, a Turkey Job (shopper, beer buyer, cooker, cleaner, or driver, note that teams don't need all five), a favourite beer (pick a brand), a favourite football team (pick one), a meat preference (Light or Dark), a sauce preference (Gravy or Cranberry, though some perverse people use breadsauce), a favourite 'tater (mashed taters, roast taters, baked taters, boiled taters, etc.), and a favourite veggie (the poor sod that takes "brussel sprouts" is a sad man indeed).

If your Major is in English, History (of any sort), Philosophy, Geography, Languages or Religion then you're an Artsy and are good for talking out of their ass and being artistic. If your Major is Science (of any sort), then you're a Geek, and win on all ties when it comes to being smart. If your Major is Engineering, you are called an Engineer, you suck, and you win on all ties involving pranks and being a ponce. If your Major is Nursing, then, congradulations, you're a Nurse, and win on any ties to make sure that people don't die (and also for talking your way out of getting beaten up when you suggest that deep frying a frozen turkey might not be smart).

Scrawl all this down on a piece of paper.

The Six Degrees of Turkey
There are six primary steps for a winning team. First off, the GM sets some prices and how much money each team has. They have to stay inside their price range, unless someone wants to take Negative Slack by calling Mom (at the GM's discretion).
1) Buying the Bird
It's the day before Thanksgiving. There won't be enough birds for everyone. The GM should throw in a couple NPC teams just to make things amusing. You'll have to sneak, steal, bargain, beat, and buy your way to finding an edible bird.
*Finding and buying a bird awards two points of Turkey.
*Hunting down the turkey awards one Hunger to everyone involved. The person who fights for the bird the most takes another point of Hunger.
2) Beer Barter
Thanksgiving is nothing without beer. Argue with your friends about what brands to get, and how much. Try to convinc the guys at the counter you're really 21. And fight with everyone else to try and get the last case of whatever beers you like.
*Succesfully getting the beer nets you one point of Turkey.
*Beer Barter awards one Hunger to everyone involved.
3) Taking Out the Turkey
The next step is defrosting the turkey enough to cook it. Here's where things get fun. People can gain Duty (jumping in a hot bath with a cold turkey), and Slack (strapping the turkey to the hood of your Chevy and driving home) by finding creative ways to bring the bird to an edible temperature. Remember, you've got less than a day till dinner time.
*Succesfully defrosting the bird in a clever way awards a point of Turkey.
*The poor idiots who take their time to deal with the Turkey take a point of Hunger.
*Those sitting on their asses and doing nothing gain a point of Slack.
4) COOKERU! (to quote Chairman Kaga)
The fourth step is to cook the food! Presumably you got all the other trimmings, but frankly the turkey's the only thing that matters. You've got to hunt out, and send out last minute scouts to find, the fixings and stuffing. And a roasting pan. And make the Engineer make the oven work. This is a time factor. And a health factor.
*Succesfully cooking the turkey awards one point of Turkey.
*The whole process is heavily taxing and gives out two points of Hunger. Its around this time that people should start worrying about how hungry they're getting. But never fear, the next stage is...
5) Gluttony, My Favourite Sin
Now comes the REAL challenge: you've got everything cooked, but there ain't quite enough of everything to go around. Fight over the taters, duel over the gravy, and battle over who gets that drumstick! This is the time for the Engineers to get clever with their pranks, the Artsies to whip out the scorning monologues, and the Nurse to try to revive the Geek who's choking on a brussel sprout.
*The Hunger of all is immediatly satiated and drops to zero.
*Surviving the feast awards two points of Turkey.
*This is also a good time to pick up, or spend, Slack and Duty. Because your last chance will be...
6) The Great American Game (No...the OTHER One)
Its time for football. And beer. Couch space and chips are primo. And one slacker at someone else's house can ruin it all by stretching out the full length. This is also a time to kidnap people's couches, short out their TV antennas, and pray that you do it in enough time to still catch the game.
Finishing the night off in a drunken bacchanal frenzy nets one final, automatic *point of Turkey. After this, its up to the efforts of others to see things through.
*This is your last to spend those last ditch points of Slack and Duty.
*All this work can wind up quite the appetite, so people may be getting loads of Hunger before they have a chance to get the pork rinds.

The Morning After (aka The End)
When all's said and done, the day is over, and everyone's passed out drooling, tally up the points. The team with the most Turkey wins. Their players should get some pork rinds, a case of the import beers, and the best seats to watch the game. The absolute losers should be the ones who have to wash the dishes.

Turkey: The Feasting a game for the whole family...especially if the whole family consists of four totally hetero college guys living in the same house and griping about how much the beers cost...


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