Seat Five

Seen on DriveThru: Seat Five, a larp by Jason Morningstar:

There are five seats on the municipal board of Walnut Hill, and since the death of Carol Crawley one of them has been vacant. Today there was a special election and the votes are trickling in. About 150 are expected. The candidates have gathered to watch the returns—four people who all know each other very well and have since childhood. It’s local politics at its local-est, and before the night is over mud will be slung and tears will be shed.

And, incidentally, Seat Five will be filled.

I bought it on impulse, and it looks quite good. The characters are thin, but there’s enough there to define them, and there’s a prop municipal board agenda and some phone-in questions on the soundtrack to define them more. It is short though - an hour of play time (in three short scenes), plus setup, intermission mechanics, and debrief. It’d work as a short-round game at a con, or as a double feature with another short game.

Related, another game by the same author using the same design: The Pigeon wager:

It’s 1927, and three people anxiously await the results of a single-loft race sponsored by the Hoboken Homing Pigeon Association. One of them is the club secretary, who has a colorful and traumatic past. The other two are rival gangsters, who each have a colorful and traumatic present.

The gangsters have made a foolish bet and are each too proud to back down.

A pigeon is going to decide which gang controls the Hoboken shipyard, and then all hell is going to break loose at the pigeon club.

Like Seat Five, its a game about waiting, and driven by the soundtrack. Every so often a pigeon will flutter on the radio, and the race coordinator will announce who made it in next. Eventually, one of the gangsters will win the bet, and then things will probably get interesting.

Its also making me think about the use of soundtracks to drive a game. @Anna_K 's Boats Against the Current uses a similar mechanic, but entirely scripted rather than having cues for a random event. But you can see how it would work thematically in something like a Fallout game (where you can literally hear about your own exploits on the radio while wandering the wasteland, which is kindof cool). Or I guess if you were to do a larp in 1950’s NZ (Came A Hot Friday is out of copyright, you know) you could use it for the inevitable horse-race scam.