Last Wednesday, the indie table at Empire’s Wednesday RPG Night hosted Best Friends, by Gregor Hutton.
In Best Friends, you play a woman (always a woman– that’s how the game is set up) and your character stats are based on what the other characters hate you for.
“I hate Missy because she’s richer than me.” Missy now has +1 in her “Rich” stat. Depending on how many other Friends hate Missy for her wealth, Missy might end up driving a Porsche in this game. A 0 means you are below average at something. A 1 means average. 2 is really good. And 3 is the super-bestest. You then invent, based on nothing but your stats, some Stuff and Nonsense that makes sense for you.
We started with 4 players and had 2 late additions, so we ended up with 6 players and everyone got to hate everyone just once. It was pretty cool, actually. We decided on the outset that we were in a failing space station that may or may not have hostile aliens on it, and that the story ends when we safely reach the escape pod.
My friend Jennifer and I had the same stats, so we came up with some backstory. Both of us were in science– she was the software engineer, while I was the station’s medical officer. She said that my Friend was her rival. I said that mine “always repeats her plan as if it were my own.”
Although we were running it “GM-less,” I kept us focusing on obstacles. I reminded everyone that we are in a crisis, so nothing can go completely right or be uncomplicated; when we ran into a new situation in the adventure, I asked “ok, do we want something dangerous to be up ahead?” Usually the answer was yes.
We had some highs and lows while our characters backstabbed each other to get out of the station (making a space walk on the outside of the ship, since the interior hull was decompressing). We “rescued” (kidnapped) a space alien baby, which had sticky acidic mucous that burned through the captain’s gloves. Just as we got back into the station, we ran into the alien baby’s mother, who was not pleased to see us.
I think we filled her with lead and then continued to the escape shuttle, where we discovered our last obstacle– only enough oxygen for 4 people.
We all looked guiltily at the two happy-but-dumb characters (Smart: 0). “Um…. hey, I left a lab experiment running that’s growing diamonds. Anyone want to go get them?”
With those two gone, the remaining 4 of us hopped into the shuttle and escaped. The two remaining ones shared their shoe collections with the space aliens, were adopted into the hive, and became the aliens’ new queens.
The game was remarkably fun, only slightly problematic (it’s a game written by a man about women who hate each other!), and really lent itself to a very over-the-top storyline. I can imagine playing it with a smaller-scale story, something closer to the heart, but this particular iteration went full gonzo, and we loved it.