Nov 13 2017
Steve, Jason, and Alex will be at the inaugural PAX Unplugged this weekend in Philadelphia, November 17th-19th! We have so much planned:
Jason will be presenting a panel with Luke Crane of The Burning Wheel on Tabletop vs Larp, on Friday at 7pm.
Later that night, our musical friends The Doubleclicks will be doing a live version of their podcast, Gosh Darn Fiasco, and Jason and Steve will be on stage with them! The fun starts on Friday at 10pm.
After that, we’re resurrecting the world’s finest afterlife courtroom dramedy, Ghost Court! Our pals at the ONE SHOT Podcast Network will be joining us on Saturday at 10pm, for an evening of incorporeal indictment and frightful fun!
Alex will also be doing a panel on Queer Game Design, on Sunday at 1pm. She’ll be talking about the genesis and development of her 2-player romance RPG, Tension.
Throughout the con, our retail partner Modern Myths is the place to go to pick up our games, including copies of our latest nanogame, The Skyr Pitch, free with each purchase! Check them out at Booth 339!
Nov 7 2017
Each year Google Austria invites some of its customers to gather for a day of collaboration and discussion. This event is specifically designed to promote Google’s services as useful tools, to promote cooperation across hierarchies, and to show ways to turn threats into opportunities. The day is structured around talks in the morning, a lunch, some group activity, and then a keynote address. This year I was approached to provide the group activity, which was going to be a big, ambitious game.
My mandate was to design an experience for 200 (later 240) participants using an over-arching theme that engaged Google’s guests in something memorable and promoted the event’s core message. Beyond that I had a lot of latitude. As long as they left saying “You had to be there, man” – or, rather – “Das muss man selbst erlebt haben!”
Pretty quickly I came up with a core idea and general plan. There would be a sort of steampunk-y story to wrap around a series of small games, culminating in something big and flashy and memorable. The story was the easy part:
On September 2, 1899, Nikola Tesla wrote a brief comment in his laboratory notes:
I have arranged to have my device constructed in great secrecy in Varaždin, Croatia. It will then be transported by rail to Vienna via Graz, a distance of scarcely 250 kilometers. My Austrian benefactor has agreed to bury the device to preserve it for some future age when its use may become necessary. Both he and I have retained complete instructions concerning its hidden location, assembly and operation.
Tesla’s copy of these documents were no doubt lost in his 1895 laboratory fire. The identity of his Austrian benefactor has remained a mystery, and will likely never be known. The buried object was assumed lost – until now.
Recent excavations at a construction site uncovered a series of cast iron cylinders, all welded shut, all two meters in diameter and four meters long. Inside the cylinders, carefully packed against the ravages of time, were delicate turn-of-the-last-century scientific objects. The cylinders and their strange contents were taken to the The Technisches Museum Wien, where they were briefly marveled at and then forgotten in a basement.
But you know the truth – this is Tesla’s legendary “Vienna Apparatus”, rumored by some to be a terrible weapon and by others to be the work of an utter crank. Either way, you must know. It might be the most dangerous weapon the world has ever seen – Tesla certainly boasted of possessing such a thing. You’ve found your way into the museum, but you only have a few hours before you are discovered. Can you assemble the Vienna Apparatus and learn its secrets before it is too late?”
The “Vienna Apparatus” was assembled from a series of five small challenges that all required teamwork, but varied from brain teasers to physical exercises. The participants were divided into groups of a dozen or less, and rotated between the various challenges. Some were much harder than others! Each participant had one of four roles within their group, and all activities relied on specific roles for leadership, to make sure that no one dominated every activity. Participants were placed in groups across hierarchies, and the event’s badges did not indicate what any attendee did, just where they worked.
All this controlled chaos culminated in the assembly of three gigantic soma cubes, seven-part puzzles that I asked them to build as large as they could manage (and, as it turned out, as large as Austrian health and safety regulations allowed!). I had imagined them forming 3 meter cubes, which would have been epic, but the final cubes were still very large, remarkable, and fun to play with. Combined with some light theming and Tesla-inspired jargon that I enjoyed generating way too much, the experience portion of the event proved to be a success. Not everyone loved it, which was to be expected, but it definitely had that “Das muss man selbst erlebt haben!” factor.
To watch the action unfold, check out this video of the event (in German, of course).
We develop custom large group activities centred around education, team building, and fun for a variety of clients, including The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kaiser Permanente Healthcare, and UC Berkeley. If you’re interested in developing exciting group experiences like the one above, please get in touch via our contact form.
Nov 1 2017
Alex Roberts’ innovative and scintillating game Tension, already a sleeper hit on the convention circuit, has found a home with Bully Pulpit Games.
Roberts, well known as host of the Backstory podcast on the ONE SHOT network, and for her contributions to tabletop roleplaying games like Misspent Youth, Dialect, and Damn the Man, Save the Music!, has been developing Tension for several years.
“Tension comes from the bottom of my heart,” says Ms Roberts, “like a lot of the Bully Pulpit Games lineup, it fills a particular niche—in this case a niche for a two-hour, two-player game about relationships that feels both overdramatic and painfully real. Also you might want to smooch at the end. But you don’t have to!”
Inspired by Epidiah Ravachol’s groundbreaking RPG Dread, Tension combines exciting world-building, clever mechanics, and an unstable tower of wooden blocks to help players tell the story of two people entangled in their own undeniable, impossible attraction.
“When the tower falls,” Roberts says, “so does their resistance to their true feelings.”
According to Bully Pulpit Games’ co-founder Jason Morningstar, bringing Alex Roberts into the fold was a logical development. “When I saw Tension I got really excited by the game’s design and potential,” Mr Morningstar says, “I love that Alex has made a game that is tactile, outrageously fun to play, brimming with hope, and focused on something other than violence.”
“Tension appeals to all kinds of people, and I’m really looking forward to presenting it in a way that does justice to the theme—we’re already losing our minds over the art direction and product design possibilities here at BPG headquarters.”
Bully Pulpit Games is the producer of award-winning games like Fiasco, Night Witches, and Ghost Court. Join our mailing list, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ to stay up-to-date on Tension’s development and release.
Alex Roberts is a writer, designer, journalist, and roleplayer of boundless enthusiasm. A 2016 Gen Con Industry Insider, she has established herself as a recognized expert in romance, sexuality and care in RPG and larp. She is also the Production Coordinator for Bully Pulpit Games.
Oct 26 2017
Check out Improv Cincinnati’s Halloween Spooktacular!
In the spectral spirit of this spooky season, the performers at Improv Cincinnati are putting on a staged performance of Ghost Court, the world’s best and only undead small claims dispute process. Expect thrills, chills, laughs, prizes and surprises!
Oct 9 2017
Big Bad Con 2017 is less than a week away!
And we are thrilled to attend as an official co-sponsor alongside Evil Hat Productions.
Steve, Jason, and Alex will be running games all weekend, and there’s one you can still jump in on, for its player count knows no mortal bounds…
If you still haven’t had a chance to check out the world’s finest afterlife courtroom dramedy, or if you have and are thus bound to it in a dark, legally binding pact, we’ll have a spooky late-nite session on Saturday, from 10PM to midnight. We’ll bring the wig and gavel!
If you’re looking to pick up a copy of Ghost Court, or another Bully Pulpit game, our good friends at the Endgame booth will be there with our products in spades – and our new nanogame, The Skyr Pitch, to give out for free with each purchase!
In addition, Jason will be on a panel on Adult Themes in Gaming in the panel room on Saturday, at 9PM.
Adult vs. “Adult.” What’s the difference? How do you handle topics like sex, drugs, abuse, sexual assault? Should you? Our panel will talk about how to prep your group for the tough topics, how to handle them responsibly and how to make sure your players have an out if they need it. Mickey Schulz (M), Ogre Whiteside, Brie Sheldon, Jason Morningstar.
See you there!
Sep 19 2017
See Eldritch Justice in Action!
The improv streamers at Color Circuit brought Goths and Norms together to settle their dispute in the lowest court in the land – Goth Court! If you’ve been wondering how our live-action legal drama (and we do mean drama) plays out, you can watch the archived stream on their YouTube page, here:
Sep 12 2017
Join the Nachthexen!
For a limited time, you can get Night Witches, our thrilling historical game of Soviet airwomen in World War II, at an unbeatable price as part of the Apocalypse Engine +2 Bundle of Holding. If you haven’t given it a shot yet, this is the perfect time to pick up the PDF and check it out.
Pay $12.95 and get Apocalypse World 2nd Edition, Action Movie World: First Blood, Spirit of ’77, and Headspace. Bump that up to $23.95 and you get Night Witches, Masks: a New Generation, Epyllion: A Dragon Epic, and Uncharted Worlds, plus Action Move World: Deleted Scenes.
Ten percent of your payment will go to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an advocacy group dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.
Aug 15 2017
Headed to Gen Con? So are we!
We’ll be at Indie Games on Demand for most of the weekend, running games we love – including some tests of Jason’s latest works in progress. We’d love to see you! Stop by the Hyatt Regency hotel, second floor, ballrooms A/B.
If you want to get your hands on print copies of our games, Indie Press Revolution will have them at booth 2338 in the Exhibitor Hall.
The Skeletons, Now in Print!
Ok, now for the most exciting part. You demanded, we relented: our friends at IPR will have print copies of our reverse dungeon crawl tragedy The Skeletons. Here’s what Jason says about this unique roleplaying experience:
It flips the script on the typical dungeon crawl. You have one job, which is to repel or slay intruders. But there’s a catch – your skeleton is slowly remembering who it was and why they are compelled to stand guard across the centuries. The game takes place across an epic swathe of time – your characters are immortal – and with each interruption of their accursed slumber, they remember more and more. Things change in interesting ways as the character’s awareness grows and the tomb itself literally crumbles around them.
Designed to offer a complete, melancholy play experience in a few hours, The Skeletons combines a table-driven format with innovative play mechanics to simulate the grinding crush of time for one to six players.
We originally envisioned The Skeletons as a digital release, but it’s proved so popular that we retooled the manuscript for print publication.
Aug 1 2017
Goth Court, Liz Gorinsky and Jess Zimmerman’s hack of Ghost Court, is now available! Goth Court is a standalone game that features all the party-sized small-claims fun of its ghostly predecessor, but with more eyeliner and angst.
Goths and norms alike can find the digital edition and the print-on-demand edition, which includes a free PDF download, on DriveThruRPG.
In addition, if you’ll be at Gen Con in Indianapolis, you can find Goth Court in print at the Indie Press Revolution booth (#2338)!
If you just want to check out the rules, you can find them on the product’s page here.
Liz and Jess were kind enough to put together a suitably atmospheric playlist, to keep your courtroom as foreboding as any industrial club. It goes great with your fingerless gloves and black creepers (which we know are still in the back of your closet somewhere.)
Jul 10 2017
The folks at Roll20Con led a fantastic one-shot of Night Witches this weekend, and lucky for us, they recorded and posted it! GM Alex Abou Karam leads an all-star squadron: Suzanne Wallace, Kira Magrann, Mel Fox, and James D’Amato, through a session full of action, drama, and stylish hats. The best part? Roll20 took donations throughout for The Cybersmile Foundation.
Streaming is such a cool way to promote RPGs and share the games we love. If you’re interested in streaming or recording one of our games, please get in touch. We’re always happy to support great play.
–The Bully Pulpit Crew