Saturday, July 2, 2011

Paranoia night: A study in "Seriously?"

My friends are foul-mouthed bastards.

I really mean it. Any given weeknight at House Blarg is an exercise in how many ways one can accuse someone of sucking the dog's penis.

The Chihuahua.

He usually looks terrified during these exchanges.

Other exchanges often involve, but are not limited to game references, either to the game we're about to play or some other, more popular game that we crave.

"You oughta build a character with the 'Child' flaw, buy the 'Medium' merit and then take the flaw 'Hunted'".
"So you could be a small medium at large".
[Insert laughter for 25 minutes].

Tonight though, tonight we play Paranoia.

Paranoia is a game about a dystopian future within a thing called Alpha Complex. Alpha Complex exists underground, and is run by Friend Computer, a homicidal and paranoid AI. The game is rife with black humor, and color coding. As a starting level character, you're a Red--all other colors in the ROYGBIV spectrum are above your clearance. Questioning this is a good way to lose the use of one of your six clones. Paint, of course, can be invaluable.

"I was just thinking about how much fun it'd be to beat someone to death with a bucket of red paint".

You play Troubleshooters--people whose job it is to go out, find trouble, and then shoot it. Sometimes (such as being told that you must find out why the scrub bots are attacking people) one is reduced to dramatic action. It is a dystopian bureaucracy, after all.

"I'm going to beat this guy to death with a fire extinguisher".
"The merchant?"
"Because eventually, that means the scrub bots will have to show up."

Remember, Friend Citizen, happiness is mandatory!

"I will happy you in the fucking mouth."

Paranoia is one of those wonderful games where the out-of-character chatter can, should be, and usually is taken as in character. You learn early on that everything is above your clearance level, even the rules.

"Information about nipples is above your clearance".
"But I've been rubbing mine all night."
"... So have I".

I think that's possibly what makes it so damn much fun to play.

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