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Pickets And Blinds

A game of murder stories set in suburban America.
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   Pickets & Blinds             Designed, Written, and Photographed by Kevin Allen Jr.Edited by Kate Horowitz  ©2011 Kevin Allen Jr. Design. All rights reserved.                                                                  Tis is a linked, bookmarked PDF. Go ahead and just click on the items to the right to jump to that section. “Te Catalog” is similarly tagged, and works  just the same. Links   What You Can Expect From All This Mess  Tis is a game. It’s you against the other players. Tere will be winners and losers, but everyone is going to have to live  with what they’ve done. Some games have you move little metal dogs and racecars across a board. Other games make you throw dice, or run around, or make difficult strategic or diplomatic decisions.  Tis game has none of that. Tis game is all about telling stories: stories about how normal people in normal  American towns end up killing each other.Every player is going to tell his own story. Each story will be a separate and unique tale of a murder in the suburbs.  Te stories are told one scene at a time as everyone takes turns. Every time your turn comes up, you tell a little more of your main character’s story, picking up where you left off, describing another scene. Te stories are not scripted, and there’s no right or wrong way to go about it. You are trying to keep everyone else at the table entertained.  As you tell your story, you’ll try to include particularly exciting moments (called riggers). Once you work a  rigger into your story, you get to play a simple, Memory-style card game, the goal of which is to capture pairs. As pairs are made, they are removed from play. Collecting these pairs earns you points, and when the cards run out, the player with the most points wins. Successfully collecting pairs also allows you to mess with the other players’ stories, making things trickier for their characters, and generally heightening the tension. Tis leads to even more exciting stories.But it’s not all that cut and dry. Tere is another factor at play: which card that can’t be paired up? If at any time  you’re able to guess what card is without its match, you greatly increase your chances of winning. Guess wrong, and  you’ll lose the game. Tere’s a reason that odd card is called “Te Downfall.”   Nothing Happens for a Reason                Pickets & Blinds is –above all else– a game of telling stories. Tese stories might be dark, or funny, or sad, or scary, but they should always be entertaining. Winning is great and all, but that isn’t exactly why you’re going to saddle up to this table. You play this game because you want to explore the lives of normal folks who are driven to murder. You want to get in their heads and in their shoes and laugh and cry and bleed along  with them. You want to direct the movie, you  want the starring role, and you want to sit in the audience and enjoy the competition. Te better the stories are, the more fun everyone is going to have. As an added bonus, the better the story  you’re telling is, the better you will do at the game. Good storytelling is the alpha strategy. Let me repeat that: If you want to win a game of Pickets & Blinds, you need to tell a good story.But why bother? What’s in it for you? What’s  worth this fuss? Te winner of the game gets away with murder.  Te police don’t suspect you. Te family doesn’t 󿬁nd out. Your darkest sins remain your own. No matter what you’ve told in the story so far, no matter how many bloody Isotoners you leave on her doorstep, if you win the game, your character goes free.  Te opposite is true of the loser(s). If you lose the game, the shit is really going to hit the fan.  You’re either going away forever, or you’ll get the chair, or you’ll be taken down by a hail of gun󿬁re in a service station restroom. Whatever the particulars of your story may be, you will suffer a most awful and righteous punishment for your crimes. Make no mistake: the losers will suffer.  While there can be multiple losers, only one person can and will win the game.      }                       You may 󿬁nd as you are spinning your tale of woe that you don’t want to win, and that you actually want to see an awful and just fate befall your character. You are a murderer, after all.  You may even consider throwing the game so you lose. Don’t do it. Not because you should always try to win, but because it’ll screw up the game for the other players. Play to win, keep narrating riggers, and keep the story exciting. If you want to change the rules at the very end so you get to describe an end that is right and good, that’s the time to do it. Not before. Murder is a crazy thing, and it makes us do crazy things. What You’ll Need in Your Toolbox  You’ll need a standard deck of playing cards. Don’t fuck around with pinochle or Uno or any of that –you might hurt yourself, and you sure as shit won’t be able to play this game right. You’ll also need good clean surface to play on. An average kitchen table should do 󿬁ne.Lastly, you’ll want to have some scraps of paper and a pen laying around.Don’t try this with less than three players, and don’t get involved with more than 󿬁ve. Te fewer people you have at the table, the longer every story gets, and generally the longer the game feels; but, at most, you can expect an hour and a half’s worth of amusement. Tis isn’t a hard and fast limit, so you might  want to set your iVo.
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