Aug 122009

Basic Mechanic

In any given conflict–be it over a particular exchange of blow in a melee or an extended exchange of dialog resulting in a social skill check–each participating player reveals one of his or her Uno cards. Highest card wins; ties are broken by color, with the winner being the most appropriate narration of the color in use (color ties are actual ties: stalemate… for now!).

Color Designations

Each of the four colors of Uno cards is associated with a particular set or class of capabilities, as appropriate to the LARP genre. For example, a spy game might use these associations:

Coolness; useful when the situation favors a poker face, steady hands, or nerves of steel.
Wealth; useful when the situation is best handled by greasing palms or being best dressed.
Fury; useful when the situation is best handled with violence, scathing words, or sheer stubbornness.
Caution; useful when the situation favors the soft pedal approach, discretion, sneakiness, or fleeing in terror.

Winners and Losers

The winner of an exchange trades cards with the loser. In the case of multiple participating players, the cards are rotated in a highest-to-lowest manner; for example:

  • Player A won outright, with an 8. Player B got middle ground, with a 6. Player C lost outright, with a 2.
  • Player A gives his or her card to Player B. Player B gives his or her card to Player C. Player C gives his or her card to Player A.
  • As a result, the winner gets the worst card, the loser gets the next best card, and the middle ground gets the best card.

Character Creation

The fundamental system for creating a character involves distributing cards of color and value appropriate to the character concept and build. The specifics exceed the scope of this basic system idea, but one could design a game such that descriptive “Traits” grant a set of cards; or perhaps limited-use “Powers” could allow for adjusting a card value or color upon reveal. For example, a spy game might have these “Traits” with the associated “Points Costs”:

Martial Artist
Red 5, 7, 9. Blue 6. (28 Points)
High Society
Green 6, 8. Yellow 7. (21 Points)
Red 4, 6. Yellow 7, 9. (26 Points)

Note: Whether or not a game uses Traits or Powers (or Points Cost for custom building characters), all characters must be created with an equal number of cards, so that the zero-sum card-exchange process results in someone always having the same number of cards to reveal and exchange.