Everyone enjoy their weekend? Mine was nice. Lots of games, board and otherwise. I played the British Xbox version of Trivial Pursuit and tried to guess who all those ‘football’ players were. Very confusing, and not at all helped by the ever-so-slightly condescending voice of the announcer. And, with a bribe of pie, we learned to play our friend’s Battlestar Galactica board game. I also discovered that I am a Cylon, and, with my fellow Cylon, succeeded in destroying humanity. Oh, and there was some Firefly in there, too. Good weekend.
Leisure time defines who we are. You look at the way someone spends their free time, and you think you know something about them. Based on my weekend (games of all varieties, sketches of tabletop RPG characters, victory brunch after destroying humanity as a frakking toaster), an observant person would correctly assume that I am kind of a nerd, but a social one. They might also notice that I have a penchant for playing the bad guy, but nothing can be drawn from this. Pure coincidence.
The Monday Challenge for this week should really be the Sunday Challenge, because it concerns leisure time, but the Posting Schedule is all-powerful and cannot be denied. Invent a pass-time for your characters. Anyone who watched Battlestar Galactica remembers Pyramid and Triad, the games that survived the apocalypse. Harry Potter fans all know Quidditch, of course. And let’s not forget Tri-Dimensional Chess, first created in Star Trek and later developed into a real game.* Blernsball, Tall Card, Electro-Magnetic Golf, Jiggly Ball, Pod Racing, Double Cranko, Calvin Ball, Sabacc…there are a lot of these. And with reason. People can’t just sit around and advance the plot all the time. They get bored and they need something stupid to do, usually while drinking. Hence the games.
So, what are these characters doing when they’re gathering in the break room? This is not just for writers of alt-world fiction—feel free to make up the rules to Inter-Office Hockey Joust. Or Rebound. Or Guerrilla Catan. And then write a scene in which someone plays it, and then loses horribly.
But remember: choose your stakes carefully.
*A fucking hard real game.