My friends, the jerkform revolution has begun. And it comes to you in the form of….
Those of you not familiar with American Jerkform (catchphrase: “There’s no negotiating with bees.”*) may wish to read the original manifesto. Simply know that jerkform is for everyone and no one. It loves babies and alligators, sometimes together. And when the moon is full and the scent of jasmine fills the air, or when the bird is upon the wing and the sun beams with all the beatific perfection of Steve Buscemi, simply whisper its name onto the wind, and a swarm of bees will sweep down and render justice upon you.
Jerkform is not meant to be played, it’s meant to be smeared all over your body, like poisonous berries, or stared at intently until one of you spontaneously combusts. Seriously, do not attempt to play jerkform.
Here is a new collection of games written by about fifteen people, working singly or in groups.
LONDON BURNING by Sex and Bullets
Burn yourself with a cigarette. Tell the cigarette how it feels.
HAUNTED BY BEES: An American Jerkform/Beeffor LARP by Terry Romero
You’re trapped (as in actually locked into for a week) in a post-apocalyptic warehouse on the edge of town populated by hungry slow moving zombies and even hungrier freegans. Each team of two and a half people gets a 10 hour supply of extra spicy jerky and 5 hour energy drink.
You must defend your turf and loved ones and crap armed ONLY WITH BEES. Throw some actual f***ing bees! They can be real live bees, handfuls of dead bees, or a sock full of d4s.
- If you’re hit with one bee you die.
- Two bees, you die in real life.
- Three bees, you die and come back as an emo ghost.
- Eat all the bees, and you become the Beelzebub.
Last player standing marries Beelzebub, then breaks it off due to overwhelming guilt of being responsible for the death of thousands of bees.
There is no bleed in this game because you have chosen in real life the most dangerous game of all!
THE NORDIC LARP COLLECTIBLE CARD GAME by James Stuart
Each lovingly hand-painted card contains the image of a Nordic larpwright, a catch phrase, and a function (+3 bleed, +2 theory burn!, +5 historical accuracy). Gotta catch ‘em all!
THE RULE OF PHILOSOPHY CLASSES by Lizzie
Just like every party has a pooper, every philosophy class has an a**hole. Sometimes, it’s you. Deal with it.
FAT MAN SITTING DOWN by George
A game for 11 GMs, and a large ensemble of furniture.
The largest chair in the room — preferably a sofa if one is available — is the fat man. Arrange all the side tables and chairs in the room in a circle around the fat man. Tell everyone there is a fire extinguisher.
The GMs form a circle around the furniture and yell at it, forcing it to be meaner to the sofa. The game ends when a dining room chair breaks and sets the sofa on fire.
If anyone asks about the fire extinguisher, laugh maniacally.
FAT MAN DONUT by James Greenan and Sara W.
The largest member of your gaming circle is assigned the job of “driver.” He drives you an hour from home to a discreet artisanal donut shop in Brooklyn. There is no parking. Fat Man Donut must sit in the car while the rest of your party enjoys donuts from behind a plate glass window. Once donuts are consumed, Fat Man Donut is told how he feels by each donut-eating individual.
Actual play report: We’re now at the idling part of Fat Man Donut. This game sucks, I wish there were more bees. — The Fat Man
WE MUST IMAGINE SISYPHUS HAPPY by Lizzie
Mention X. Try to convince Y you haven’t just insulted them. Pick up a bronze statue of Foucault and beat the opposition with it.
There are many play sets. Post them in the comments.
GAME THEORY THUNDERDOME by Sex and Bullets
Two game designers enter. One interpretation of GNS theory and/or the “magic circle” leaves. Flamethrowers.
MAGRITTE by Megan J.
Put some props on a table.
TALKING STICK by Sex and Bullets
Agree to use a talking stick. But who gets it first? Whoever yells the loudest.
ANGSTY HANDF*** by Graham
You are attracted to various people. While you work out who you are in a relationship with, rub hands with them and pretend to have sex.
NOIR by Joanna Charambura
Sit in a dark room until one of you decides to switch the light on.
UNIVERSAL BLEED MECHANIC #2** by Sex and Bullets
MANIFEST THIS MOFO by Bryant Johnson
1: Walk into a room where people are larping; preferably something introspective or foreign. (Listen at the door; if you hear the word “bleed” and it isn’t preceded by the phrase “stabbed in the stomach with a scimitar” you’re probably in the right place.)
2: Kick over a table, or a chair, or someone with small fashionable glasses.
3: Yell “MANIFEST DESTINY!” as loudly as you can. (You may also help yourself to any drinks you spot.)
4: Repeat. (I find conventions work best for this.)
5: Skip any attempt at a debrief. You need to let that s*** simmer.
FORTHCOMING JERKFORM GAMES
Manic Pixie Dream Girl Prostitute by Sara W.
Catch Me if You Can: A child’s first story Christmas story with cannibalism by Terry Romero
*We know this first-hand thanks to cohort A.A. George, who was once attacked by a swarm of bees, thus proving that there is no negotiating with bees — only screaming. Seriously. Buy M- George a beer sometime — a bee attack renders you in permanent need of sympathetic beers — and ask to hear the story. And the audio.
** We’ve recently learned that game designer JR Blackwell has previously designed a game that employs this mechanic.
I will now claim that I invented American Jerkform in the early 90s with the LARP, “The Mystic Spoon.”
Here is how to play: Send one of your players — in my case it was Gordon Olmstead-Dean — out of the room and then one by one tell all the other players why they want the mystic spoon. Make it as needful as possible.
Then go out of the room and tell Gordon that he just found a spoon and needs to show it off to the other players.
Then let Gordon back in the room and watch the ensuing chaos from a distance.
More larps can be found at the website link above. I think you’ll especially like Abattoir.
Also, Lizzie, at Intercon please take a moment to “enjoy” my 3-minute GM simulator, which can be used to show any person what it is like to GM a LARP. All participants at Intercon are welcome to try it out.
Also, the larps posted above are awesome!
I’d play Magritte.
Pff! I’ve *played* Magritte.
Pingback: Introducing American Freeform » Lizzie Stark
I was going to say I really liked “Magritte”, but now it just looks like I’m jumping on the bandwagon. How did I become so mainstream?
Anyway. As a reaction to the reaction that is American Jerkform, I’ve written a Norwegian Jerkform. Although, since I am at heart an American jerkformer, it can also be considered American Jerkform. Although although, to be honest, the title is in Swedish and cannot be understood outside of the context of how Swedish feminism is positioned within the pan-Scandinavian larp discourse. Although although although, the game text itself is in English and about U. S. indie feminism debates. It should not be seen as a comment on anything, but it is.
Here it is, in its entirety.
“Dekonstruera Min Kuk:
CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE”
(Oh, in reference to Sara W’s “Manic Pixie Dream Girl Prostitute”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL2ekEeMk0Q)
Postmodern Blues – By Anna-Karin Linder Krauklis
A room of silence and populated by men in different beards. Everybody must not think of Freud. The first one who mentions post modernism will have to beg the others to kill him. They will, by bore him to death.
Gaze into the Abyss
by Hilary Umbreit
Influenced by avant-garde and Dadaist principles, a 4th edition rulebook will consist of nothing but this link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khbel2p7ou0) followed by 149 blank pages. Transitions particularly well into the “GM Simulator” game.