Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Don't sue me, Richard

The scene: 1992, Wizards of the RPG boardroom. Three Wizards sit around a table.

Wizard 1: What are we going to do? This company is losing money. Our RPG line is sinking. We're being threatened with a lawsuit. We need something new, cheap, and easy to sell!

Wizard 2: Yes, sir.

Wizard 1: What do you mean, "Yes, sir"? I need ideas, not "yes, sirs"s from a horde of Zork shopkeepers!

Wizard 2: Yes, sir.

Wizard 1: Oh, shut up! Go gain a stat. Well, what about you? Got any ideas?

Wizard 3: Ummm, not really, sir. Oh, wait. There's this guy Richard waiting to see you, sir. Something about a monkey game.

Wizard 1: A monkey game? I said cheap! Oh well, send him in. What have we got to lose?

Enter Richard.

Richard: Good morning, Mr Wizard 2.

Wizard 2: Yes, sir.

Richard: Good morning, Mr Wizard 3.

Wizard 3: Good m...

Wizard 1: Yeah, yeah! Cut the crap. What have you got for us?

Richard: Oh, sir, this is a different sort of game. Each player controls a live monkey that has to navigate a maze. Players tell their monkey how to navigate the maze at the beginning of each round, and then they let their monkeys go simultaneously. Only, the thing is, they have to tell the monkeys what to do before each round. They can't talk to the monkeys while they're in the maze. As the monkeys move, they crash into each other, get turned around, slip on banana peels, and so on. Hah ha ha! And they all throw bananas at each other! If a monkey gets hit by a banana, he gets confused. It's great! Har har ho ...!

Richard dissolves into laughter.

Wizard 1: That's your game?

Richard: Wait, there's more! The monkeys are all different. One is stronger. One punches harder. One can throw things further. And so on. And you pick the monkey at random before the game starts! Hee hee! Ho ho! Hahahaaaa...

Wizard 1: This guy's one cleric short of a party. Different starting abilities? Forget it. Sounds like Cosmic Encounter. Crap game. Throwing bananas? Live monkeys? Cripes! What about a normal board game with toy robots?

Richard looks up, stunned.

Richard: Hey! Great idea!

Wizard 1: Wizard 3, go work with him on it. But this isn't helping! I need something I can put out now! Haven't you got anything else?

Wizard 3: Yes, sir.

Richard: OK, I've got this collectible .... ah Richard begins to sneeze. ... collectible ... aaahh ... collectible car .. CHOO! .. game. Excuse me.

Wizard 1: Car game? Did you say collectible car game? Hey, great idea!

Richard: No wait! I meant collecti ...

Wizard 1: Yeah, ok! Got it, go get me some paper! Wizard 2!

Wizard 2: Yes, sir.

Richard: But, Mr Wizard 1! I ...

Wizard 1: What, are you still here? Did you forget to put on trunks on your way to the gene pool? Go get me some paper! Hut hut! Unless you don't want a published game with licensing fees!

Richard gulps.

Richard: Uh, yes, sir. Ok!

Exit Richard.

Wizard 1: OK, here's how I see it. Each player has to collect cars, and each car is different. Some are rare, and some are common. Players can't play with more than 4 of any type of car during each game, and they have to use .. Wizard 2!

Wizard 2: Yes, sir.

Wizard 1: How much money do we need to make this year? $1,000,000?

Wizard 2: Yes, sir.

Wizard 1: OK, no less than 60 cars in their car bag. Each time it is their turn to play, they pick a car at random out of their bag. Then they either roll it across the floor at their opponent, or place it in such a way as to block their opponent from rolling it at them. If you hit your opponent's car, it's out of the game. Otherwise, if you hit your opponent, you win if you break their nose ... no, wait, if you hit them three times.

Wizard 2: Yes, sir.

Wizard 1: Oh, shut up! It's a wonder you ever found the fallopian tubes. Wizard 3?

Wizard 3: Sounds good, sir. What about special types of cars?

Wizard 1: Special cars? What special cars? This isn't Cosmic Encounter! Crap game!

Wizard 3: Yes, sir. I mean, cars you can play when it's not your turn. Different color cars that are better than others in certain ways, like green cars, blue cars, and so on.

Wizard 1: Excellent! Great thinking Wizard 3. Go double your salary. Where's that paper guy?!

Richard retuns.

Richard: Here you go, sir. Sir, if I may add ...

Wizard 1: Thank you, man. Just what I needed. Go double your salary.

Richard: Sir, how about a collectible card game, not CAR game, but CARD game?

Wizard 1: What? Cards? Who in their right mind would pay money to buy collectible pieces of cardboard?

Richard: Well, sir, they buy baseball cards ...

Wizard 1: Oh yes. Well, we'll give each car a coaster to sit on. Comes with the car. Very good. Go double your salary.

Richard: I meant the card is the main feature.

Wizard 1: Fine, fine. Buy a coaster, get a car. I don't care. Richard grimaces. I've got it all worked out. Gentleman, we're going to be rich. Well, all except for you, Wizard 2.

Wizard 2: Yes, sir.

Wizard 1: What should we call this game? Anyone? Wizard 2? Or are you still leaving the Intillect Devourers hungry?

Wizard 2: Yes, sir.

Wizard 3: Hmmm... perhaps, something pretentious, with an appeal to the rich kids, you know. How about: "Cars and Coasters"?

Wizard 1: Sounds like another damn RPG. How about: "Car Wars"?

Wizard 3: Already used, sir.

Richard: (sarcastically) How about "Traffic: the Splattering"?

Wizard 1: Yes. Just about right, anyway. We'll work on it. Double your salary. Anything else, wizards?

Wizard 3: I think we'll need a new name under which to publish this game, to protect it from the impending lawsuit, sir.

Wizard 1: Yes. Good idea. Any suggestions?

Richard: (sarcastically) How about "Wizards of the Coaster"?

Wizard 1: Done! Double your salary, man.

Richard: I don't have a salary, sir.

Wizard 1: Then triple it. Ah ha ha! Collectible cars! This thing is going to be huge!

And the rest, as they say, is history.


Coldfoot said...

Good stuff Berlinger. Double your salary.

AdamC said...

It's like you were there! Creepy!

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Thanks, all.

Adam, I'd love to hear the real story. I searched around for it and I couldn't find it.