Now, if you are like me, and I doubt you are, you play a lot of games with your co-workers during the work day. I work for an educational technology start-up, and we were encouraged when I first started to find fun ways to build team cohesion and get our minds away from our work for short stints during the day. These have led to some creative decisions from some teams, who mostly focus on Pictionary, quiz games, and trivia questions to break-up their days. My team plays quite a bit, usually 2-3 games a day, of Exploding Kittens. Over the last few months, I’ve also been exploring the possibility of playing a short form RPG with my team during the work day.
I’ve come up with 3 games that I think would work perfectly for this.
Quinn and Joel did a great review of Dread on the podcast, and I recommend checking that out if you get the chance. Dread uses a Jenga set to simulate the impending horror of what is going to occur to your characters. Character sheets are pretty simple, and game-play is not really designed for long-term RPG stories. So, with some work, it should be possible to create a short scenario that occurs within a half-hour block. That would be perfect for my team, as we generally take a 30-minute break to play games.
2) Dungeons and Dragons 5th Ed
Particularly with pre-generated characters, the newest edition of the world’s greatest role-playing game would make an easy to use short form role-playing session. Wizards of the Coast has put out a great series of pre-generated characters from lvl 1 – 10 which you can print for free from their website. I recommend grabbing enough characters for your team members to have 2 choices, and jump in head first. Create a really short scene, and ask the players how they would react. Keep this as simple as possible, using dice rolls as rarely as you can get away with. Having a dice roller app is helpful here, as carting around dice at work may not be a grand idea. That being said, having one die that you pass around the table isn’t a terrible decision for this short form. Basically, you are running a very short scene, and you’ll need to be able to keep the pacing quick to make this work.
Fate, using the FUDGE system created by Steffan O’Sullivan, is a great game to jump in feet first with a group of co-workers. Particularly if you use the FATE Accelerated rules on the FATE SRD. FATE’s simple to use system will let you jump right into a story. FATE uses a simple die mechanic, and rules light elements to get you right into the action. When running work games, focus on small scenarios that allow your co-workers to get a feel for what you’d do in an RPG. Give them either-or choices, and let them roll through and see what they come up with for solutions to the challenges you present them.
Running an RPG at work probably sounds like a strange idea to some. You might not be open about your RPG habit, or you might get yelled at by your boss. If, like me, you work in a space that encourages out of the box ways to break up the monotony of the day, you might be able to pull this off. You could also do this during a lunch break or after work. These are all great, easy to learn games that will let you jump into the action quickly, which is 90% of the battle.
With 18 years of playing rpgs, Josh started with Mind's Eye Theater LARPs and loves the World of Darkness. He recently launched,www.keepontheheathlands.com to support his gaming projects. Josh is the administrator of the Inclusive Gaming Network on Facebook. He’s a player in Underground Theatre LARPs and is running a Mage game and a D&D 5th Edition campaign. He’s a serious advocate for inclusive gaming spaces, a father, and a graduate from the International Peace and Conflict Resolution graduate program at American University in Washington, D.C.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.