This Friday was my little sisters 16th birthday party and being true to her birthright she is just as nerdy as any of us. So I decided at work to prepare a RPG just in case. The only problem was I had to drive straight from my place of business to my sister’s party and I had no RPG books in sight. So what to do? A quick google of Everyone is John and I had my one page system. Not surprisingly we ended up having a whole night of fun. So let’s talk about one page RPGs again a little bit. Specifically “Everyone is John” and why it’s good to have at least a cursory knowledge of any of these games. I’ll make this case by talking about my quick experience.
So to recap on what a one page RPG is. It is a RPG that takes up less than one page. Games like Lasers and feelings, Everyone is John or even Honey Heist (which is actually printed on a t-shirt) are all examples of one page RPGs. These games are not necessarily intended for much more than a one shot, although that is not universally true. The great thing about them is that they can be learned and played quickly. There are less words involved with playing these RPGs then are in the rule books for “Splendor” or “Carcassonne.” So let’s begin with my experience and hit the big points.
I want to talk first about how long it took me to set up “Everyone is John” all I needed was some “token” I used face down cards, a single D6 for everyone, and a sheet of paper for everyone to keep track of their personalities for John. So the components for this game are simple. A deck of cards, or some poker chips, a single D6 and a few sheets of notebook paper and John is on his way.
Now we are set up, let’s talk about the rules and internalizing. This part is so easy that I am going to simply put an image up for the game and let you guys do the leg work here.
Yeah pretty easy right?
Alright and the last part is the execution. For “Everyone is John” you only need a light premise and the game takes off from there. Since the players control John, where he goes, what he does, and who he meets it’s important for a GM to let the players go where they want so keep things loose and vague. So in this case John is getting ready to go to a birthday party when he suddenly feels these other voices encroach on his consciousness. So begins our adventure and as John continues the day he all of a sudden has an obsession with eating cupcakes, climbing stairs, and even trying to topple the U.S. government. Now it’s my job to make a world that acts correctly to this new John so that when they act crazy things get crazy.
When we started playing everyone had a blast! They didn’t know each other’s goals and were continually trying to undermine each other without that direction. John (who I roleplayed) was freaking out at the things being done and was following along with everyone’s insane logic, and you can be sure that there were laughs all around. This was my first experience playing a one page rpg and, while it’s not something I would actively commit to it was an amazing experience. My little sister and her friends had so much fun that they didn’t even want to do other things and they played for most of the night!
I personally think the game was great. The idea of having an entire RPG that is as accessible as a board game makes me happy and the people who generate these systems are artists in their own right. I suggest that if you have a regular RPG group to do some research on different games that your group may like just in case some players don’t show up. Or you find yourself having to suddenly entertain for some nerds.
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