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It's Always Been a Dive • 2018 rpg finalist

Grant Woodward •

You are employees in a seedy dive bar, churning through concepts, owners, and crimes. Requires: Index cards; pool of 5 Mismanagement tokens per player.

Players take turns writing the Dive's Features on cards: Name, Theme, Clientele, House Special, Secret. Players create two Employees each, with: Name, Position, Descriptor, Vice. Each player starts with one character Employed; set the others aside as Unemployed.

One player (the Owner) watches the other players play a scene in the Dive (~3 minutes). The Owner awards one Mismanagement each for: Encouraging others' Vices; abusing their Position; creating conflicts between Employees. Track Employees' conflicts and crimes as Baggage. The next player becomes Owner; repeat.

After the Mismanagement pool is half-empty, the Owner may change one Feature per scene as they frantically attempt to salvage the failing Dive.

When all Mismanagement is spent, the Dive fails. Fire the Employee with the most Mismanagement. Strike one of their Baggage items. Play a scene explaining why that Baggage collapsed the Dive. (Re)hire any unemployed character to replace them.

The next Owner rebrands the Dive, changing two Features. Return tokens. Give Employees one Mismanagement per struck-out Baggage. The Dive reopens, continuing until alcohol or ennui overwhelms the players.

Author Comments

Inspired by a particular intersection where, for at least thirty years, three of the four corners have hosted dives. They constantly change names, themes, and owners, but never stop being dives. And special thanks to my awesome wife @d20mom for helping refine the game and shrinking the wordcount!

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