“Pepper Madness!” (Co-Op card game)
Pepper Madness! is a game in which four players control the actions of a team of miners in the quest for subterranean pepper bounty. This game takes inspiration from the Prisoner’s Dilemma, wherein two detainees are forced to choose between mutual betrayal, confession or coordinated silence. In place of this simple binary, Pepper Madness offers a more complex array of possible outcomes to a problem of group decision making set amongst precarious external forces. On any given turn, as will be explained in the rules, players in the mine face a shared predicament or impending danger that can be encountered in one of four ways, each of which has the potential to highlight a different group dynamic. The outcomes of these choices can be measured in the accumulated peppers of the individual miners as well as the mining convoy’s progress through the circular tunnel. While players are encouraged to discuss their plan of action to achieve coordinated outcomes, they have the choice to forsake the collective through deception or blatant self-interest. Pepper mining may not make you rich or make you a better person, but it will provide some interesting ways of engaging obstacles as a group with some unexpected twists along the way.
Materials: Eight Action Cards. Thirteen Mine Cards (including the Mine Entrance card). A mine cart (or other) token. Many small tokens to represent peppers. Paper and writing materials to keep score.
Setup: The ‘Mine Entrance’ card is placed face up upon the table or playing surface. Two Action Cards are dealt to each player – one ‘Mine Peppers’ card and one ‘Push Cart’ card apiece. The Mine Cards are shuffled (all of them, with the exception of the Mine Entrance card) and then dealt around in a circle (also face up), starting and ending with the Mine Entrance card. Once the series of cards is arrayed on the table, they make up the playing ‘board’ which will be traversed by the mining cart. If *all* of the players feel that they have gotten a bad deal (hint: two holes or two bats in a row is very difficult), they may shuffle and redeal. Place the mining cart (or other representative token) upon the ‘Mine Entrance’ card. This represents all of the players, who move together as one unit.
Co-designers: James Chapin, Maxim Kolbowski-Frampton, Michael Consoli, Stephen Lawrence Clark