WRITER'S ROOM (3-6 players):

Overview

You're a bunch of scriptwriters on a tight deadline, working together to write the next hit! Players take turns acting as producer while the other players compete to have their pitches incorporated into the script, scene by scene.

Gameplay

Everyone takes a turn being the Producer, one at a time. The Producer plays a Trope Card and then all other players take turns pitching a Scene to the Producer including the Producer’s card and 1-2 cards of their own, and building on all previous Scenes. The producer picks their favorite pitch, which becomes a part of the script, and the next player becomes the Producer.

Setup

  • Shuffle the deck and deal 6 Trope Cards to each player.

  • Pick a starting Producer. All other players are Writers.

  • Agree on a total number of Scenes, usually 4-6 (1 or 2 Scenes per player).

Writing the Story (Follow these instructions for each Scene)

  • The current Producer plays a Trope card face up. This Trope must be used in each Scene pitch.

  • Starting to the left of the Producer, the Writers each pitch a Scene using the Producer’s Trope and either 1 or 2 Trope cards from their hand.

  • The Producer picks their favorite pitch and then summarizes the whole story up to and including the new Scene.

  • Leave the Producer’s card and the cards from the winning pitch on the table. All other cards are discarded. Arrange the cards so you can follow the story.

  • The Writer of the winning pitch gets a Point.

  • Everyone draws back to 6 cards.

  • The Producer role passes to the left and play proceeds to the next Scene.

  • Mulligan Rule: Once per game, you may discard your hand and draw 6 new cards.

A sample play area with three completed scenes

A sample play area with three completed scenes

Finale

  • After you have played the agreed-upon number of Scenes, the story is over.

  • The player with the most points gets to come up with the story title!

  • If there is a tie, all tied players come up with a title and then everyone votes for their favorite.

  • Everyone's a winner if you told a good story! Agree on a brief summary of the story and post it with a photo of your game board to Instagram, #tropedeck. Your story will be added to our Story Gallery!

Suggestions

The Producer’s Card

  • The Producer should keep an eye on where they are in the story

    • In the first Scene they should try to set the stage

    • In early Scenes they should try to create conflict

    • In the last 1 or 2 Scenes, they should try to wrap things up

  • The Producer can give an introductory explanation when they play their card, but the Writers don’t have to incorporate anything the Producer says into their pitches, just the Producer’s Trope.

The Producer’s Summary

  • Yes, each producer should summarize the entire story after they pick a pitch. It goes quickly, adds humor, and keeps everyone on the same page.

  • The producer may add detail as they tell the story, especially to the newest scene which they just picked.

  • An especially helpful thing for a producer to do is to name any unnamed characters.

  • The producer shouldn’t negate or significantly re-interpret earlier scenes in their summary. If the Writers think that the Producer hasn’t remembered a scene accurately, they can offer a correction.

The Pitches

  • Pitches should build on the story from previous rounds.

  • Pitches should probably be 30 seconds to 1 minute long. If you’re having trouble keeping them short, we recommend using a timer.

  • Pitches shouldn’t use tropes played by other writers, only the Trope played by the Producer.

  • It’s ok for players to interject - giving suggestions, asking questions, etc. - during others’ pitches, but be respectful.

Have fun

  • It's your writer's room, so you can pick when to strictly to enforce the rules and when relaxing them a little will improve everyone’s enjoyment.

Example Round:

Alice, Ben, and Carol are playing. They’ve agreed to play 6 scenes.

Alice is the producer for the first round.

Alice: <plays Dirty Cop> I wanna hear the story of this Dirty Cop. Maybe it’s her origin story. Maybe she's trying to get clean.

Ben (on Alice’s left): I’m afraid not Alice, the Dirty Cop is just a foil for our true hero who is <plays Arrested for Heroism> arrested for stopping a <plays Bank Robbery> bank robbery that the dirty cop was turning a blind eye toward. This is the opening scene and it’ll give our hero something to fight against.

Carol: I’m gonna take things in a different direction. This is more of a comedy, and our Dirty Cop has a <plays Fatal Attraction> crush on a master criminal.

Alice: How does that make it a comedy?

Carol: Well she’s going to keep covering for him in wackier and wackier ways. Maybe in this first scene we see her absent-mindedly handcuff herself to a pole while the mastermind sexily walks off.

Alice: Ok guys, we have a drama about a hero arrested for fighting police corruption or this wacky comedy where a cop keeps covering for a criminal because of looove. <pauses> Alright I'm going to pick the "wacky comedy" (Carol: woohoo!) so that's going to be one point for Carol. The story so far: Betsy, a well meaning cop, even if a bit of a bumbler, gets pulled into a seemingly mundane call, and comes face to face with basically the James Bond of crime. Leaving her tongue tied, he saunters off while she accidentally handcuffs herself to a pole.

Ben: Maybe she handcuffs herself on purpose to cover for her unwillingness. That's more of a Dirty Cop thing to do.

Alice: Oh yeah! She's in a position to arrest him but she just can't do it, and as backup arrives she handcuffs herself to a pole and calls for help. Poor Officer Betsy.

Carol: Let's call the criminal James, since that fits with your description.

Alice: Sure. The criminal is James MacNamara, criminal extraordinaire. Ok Ben, you're the producer now.

They discard Ben's unused cards, draw back up to 6 cards each, and play continues with Ben as the producer.