A Kotaku Reader Made A Tabletop RPG About Cricketers Falling In Love

Twitter is an incredibly dumb place most of the time, but it has its moments. Last night, one of those gave berth to something truly special. Enter stage right Kotaku reader, redartifice.

After a brief chat about how Kotaku Australia was a bit of a cricket fan site these days, a former Aussie games PR asked: why not a tabletop RPG about cricket?

So redartifice, a long-time reader of the site, got to work. Within 28 minutes, L.B.W: Love Before Wickets was created, a cricket-based roleplaying game for three people:

L.B.W: love before wickets: A cricket based roleplaying game for 3 people
(and perhaps some commentators)

You need: some index cards, and 2 d4s. Sit the 3 players around the end of a table, with the one player (THE BOWLER) sitting between the two BATSMEN (Batsman 1 and batsman 2.).

It doesn’t have to be batsmen — any cricketer is fine. The whole idea is that two people are in the middle of the pitch batting during the last innings of a 20/20 game. A third person, who plays the bowler, has fallen in love with one of the batters on the pitch.

Scenario: it’s the last innings in a 20/20 cricket game. After this game, the visiting team goes home to their home country, and this summer will be but a glorious memory.

The batting team is chasing 100.

One player takes the role of The Bowler. He is hopelessly in love with Batsman 1, the player that starts to his left, who may or may not reciprocate. Batsman 2 is tasked with winning the cricket game.

The game is played over 20 OVERS. Each over, each batting player will roll a d4 and adds the result to a running total which represents their RUN COUNT. The run count represents which end of the pitch the batsmen are at so represent who plays out a short exchange with the bowler- if after the over the count is ODD, batsman 1 interacts with the bowler. If even, batsman 2.

It’s a D4 based system, with each batter having one D4 each. Every over — there are only 20, remember — the batters roll the D4. The number gets added to the total run score, and the total run score at the end of each over determines who’s at the non-strikers end (the end with the bowler). If it’s an odd number, it’s batter 1. If even, it’s batter 2.

After that, things get … look, I’ll just let redartifice explain.

Each over, the interacting batsman will play a dialogue with the bowler. The dialogue will play off the following themes or events- cross the next one in the list out each over and write the current run count next to it, then act out a short dialogue on the topic. Bowler, stress your love. Batsman 1, do you reciprocate or deter? Batsman 2: how do you use the bowlers behaviour to your advantage to win the game? Will you stand in the way?

  1. The first over, an overture is made
  2. A strong opening
  3. A crowd reaction causes angst
  4. The umpire (played by the non active batsman) intervenes
  5. Almost caught
  6. A conference with the bowlers captain (played by non active batsman)
  7. An incident on the pitch
  8. A shot goes wild
  9. A no ball causes controversy
  10. Pace attack
  11. The third umpire is called
  12. A mid inning stretch and a cruel sledge
  13. A fresh ball
  14. In the chase
  15. A hush on the crowd
  16. The play of the game
  17. On the back foot
  18. The long partnership (a dialogue only between the batsmen)
  19. The game is almost won
  20. Run out

After you finish the final over, work out the total score. If it’s over 100, the batting team has won. If not, the bowler’s team wins. Players then work out whether a) the batter has accepted the bowler’s, uh, advances; b) if the bowler thinks the relationship will go the distance based on how well they did; and c) whether the other batter is OK with all of this shit going down in the middle of a match.

A neat twist, however, is that you have to narrate the final bit “as a post match press conference”. Extra points if someone can do a good Richie Benaud impersonation.

If you want to get thoroughly sloshed to enjoy this glorious tragedy for yourselves, firstly: thank redartifice on Twitter. And when you’re done with that, you can find the rules (released under Creative Commons) here in a PDF.

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