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April 2020

RPG Roulette:The United States of Play, Season 1

By RPG Roulette, United States of Play

As we were broaching what would be Season 4 of RPG Roulette, the world lockdown came to visit for the Covid-19 event.  With many people isolated and yearning for things to do that would lighten and occupy their time… the online gaming communities ramped up their efforts.  In light of this, I wanted to adapt the existing format of RPG Roulette for online play.  Beginning in a couple weeks we will do a modified Roulette-style of online play on an every other week basis.

Where RPG Roulette exists as a lab and game day, United States of Play will focus on the play but also retain some of the blind elements of the original format.  Each event will take place on a public, free multi-platform software (currently Zoom seems to be leading the pack), on four Saturday nights (730pm EST).  One Ref and up to 5 players, or as the game system dictates.

The online USoP Roulette format is as follows:
  • Announce the event and Request that interested Refs submit proposals for games.
  • Refs have to attended one prior Roulette for consideration.
  • Refs should email me: some keywords for the type of game and a short 200 character synopsis of the event.
  • After about 72hours i will randomly draw one of the games and notify the ref of their selection. After which, I’ll send out a general call for rsvps.
  • RSVP for players. Once a game is selected, RSVPs will open through an Eventbrite regsistration. Generally, games will be limited to 5 players, but that is at the Ref’s discretion and limitations of the game system.
  • Notifications. Eventbrite will notify you a couple of times about the coming event. The Ref may reach out to you with any specific requirements. It is quite possible that you may not know the ref or which gaming system you’re playing in for the game day. Which is “so Roulette”.
  • Play. All games will be played on cross-platform free online software. The go-to at the moment seems to be Zoom. This is at the Ref’s discretion. You will be notified of platform and password in advance.
  • Next. After the event, I will send out an announcement and RFP for the next event and the process repeats. If your submission wasn’t selected the previous time you are welcome to resubmit. I will TRY to not have the same Ref run back-to-back, if that’s an option.
  • Can you bring a friend? Yes. If you’re already registered for a game, you can forward the event invite to them and let them register, if available. We want people to be able to play and play with their friends. Obviously there may be space limitations.
  • What if i need to cancel my RSVP. Contact me as soon as possible so that I can let someone else get into the game!!! However, If you cancel during the final 24 hours before the game or no-show you will be placed in the doghouse. There will be a sub-game about how to get out of the doghouse and at least one of us will find it amusing. Multiple no-shows and you should probably start your own gaming event.
What’s different? If this is your first time then: Nothing. If you’re an old Rou’er then the “lab” element of the original Roulette will be taken off the table. But the focus on showing up for fun and everyone responsible for play will still be shored up.
If you would like to submit a game to run, you need to have already attended at least one RPG Roulette event or one United States of Play event.
If you’d like to run a game. Send the following to me when the announcement has gone out and RFPs are open. For example: Now. I will try to make my selection between 48 and 72hours after announcement.
  • email me the following:
  • Subject: RFP – (date)
  • Game: use keywords here rather than the game system. eg. Fantasy, silly, hard-edged space, gonzo, chivalrous, animals, heartbreaker, etc. Describe the system and the type of game you’re invoking.
  • Description: This is the game event description. Limit it to about 200 characters. This is your pitch to the players about the evening that they will be participating in.
  • Format: note what platform you’d like to run the game on. Default for Season One will be Zoom. Use what’s best for you so long as it’s free and available for mac and pc.
CAVEAT on Content
Our real lives are not A LOT of fun for many of us at the moment. These games don’t have to be purely light-hearted escapism. But for the first season I’m going to ask that anyone refrain from anything that sits hard by wallowing in the realm of apocalyptic or plague based. Touching on some of those themes is part of the genre but nobody right now wants to play 4 hours of Children of Men the RPG or your home brewed LARP of Pandemic. I often enjoy games that encroach on the territory of a poorly phrased sociology thesis, but now is not the time for it. Save that for your home group or the Second Season.

Unfortunately, United States of Play homebase won’t be able to fully cover all the gamers wanting to play all the games all the time.  Hopefully you like this model and you are welcome to take this format and run with it yourself.  Or if you find yourself enjoying online gaming, please consider running a game with your old friends and some new ones.