So, after about seven years, I'm finally attempting to publish Dog Eat Dog
, a story game about the colonization of the Pacific. I wrote this sucker a little after I'd encountered indie roleplaying games for the first time, in the form of Dogs in the Vineyard, and after I'd started thinking seriously about race, colonialism, and what my mother went through by leaving behind everybody she knew to give her kids the chance to grow up in America.
In Dog Eat Dog, the group works together to describe the Natives and the Occupation of a hypothetical Pacific island. One player takes the role of the Occupation, while everybody else plays Natives, and together you play through the story of the occupation. Through individual scenes you define the relationship between the two parties, as expressed in a set of Rules, and your decisions to follow or break these Rules govern whether you gain or lose tokens, and, ultimately, whether you live or die and whether the occupation succeeds or fails. The game usually takes about half an hour to forty-five minutes to play.
Here are some quotes from some of the people who helped playtest it:
"Dog Eat Dog isn't a game about how colonialism steals resources; it's a game about how colonialism steals identities. Who you were, who you are, and who you can be? That's what gets stolen, and Dog Eat Dog is about how much of that you can hold on to." -- Chris Chinn, Deeper In The Game
"Dog Eat Dog is an extraordinary breakout game....It presents colonialism stripped bare of any fantasy, without apologies or excuses. Playing it is an emotional roller coaster of power and suffering, presenting both the unconscionable consequences of a dysfunctional society and the violent consequences of breakdown." -- Ben Lehman, Polaris
"This game is fun. Really, really fun. Thanks to the pervasiveness of institutional racism(!) and systematic oppression in science fiction, this game is a great fit for sociological sci-fi in a rules-light, super accessible package." -- Elizabeth Shoemaker Sampat, elizabethsampat.com
"Dog Eat Dog shook me to the bones. The first time I played it, it hit me so hard that I couldn't sleep that night....It's a game, an experience, a work of theory and a work of art. It's also a lot of fun. It should be required playing for activists, thinkers, politicians, marginalized communities, students, and dreamers." -- Jennifer Flowers, International Development Project Designer
Dog Eat Dog is a roleplaying game, but it's designed to be easy to play and quick to learn, perfect for new players. It contains many exciting design innovations from 2005, which have since been reinvented and popularized by other designers. You can use it to play the Philippine-American War, the christianization of Lithuania, the establishment of the Peace Corps, the creation of the Uruk-hai by Saruman, or the marriage of Ike and Tina Turner. I'm very proud of it, and I'd like to be able to publish it and put it out there for people to see. If you'd like to help me do that, please check out my Kickstarter