Last night we played a one off game of Classroom Deathmatch by Atarashi Games . It is based on the Japanese property Battle Royale. The basis of both is that a class of high school students are knocked out and wake up on an abandoned island. Told they have to kill each other or die, they are then sent out into the island with only what they had on them and one random bonus weapon. It has strong Lord of the Flies feelings.
The system is simple and elegant, it features a dwindling dice pool based on the classical elements. The type of die you roll is determined by your characters popularity. This is paired with several narrative elements. I won’t go into all the mechanics but below I have included some of the narrative bits for your perusal.
On the sheet you have two spaces Rival and Best friend, your rival describes what happens if you fail and your best friend describes what happens if you succeed. Those spaces are filled in with the names of other players not their characters. This makes sense as you could go through many characters in a session. The only problem it was easy to forget whose best friend or rival you were. I should have noted it down, so I call this more of a player fail on my part.
Also there was a flashback device which allowed you to refresh some of your dwindling dice. One player is allowed to call a flashback per day, during which the other players take on temporary roles in the flashback to help the player tell his dramatic past moment. The players then rate the flashback and award the player points based on how compelling it was. For participating the players receive one point to add to one of their dice pools. The rough part of this is the flashback takes up a chunk of play time and, as it is a game within a game, could be confusing.
Each player can set a scene and there are questions that you answer to help such as- where?, Who?, What is the mood?, What is scary?. While one player is setting the scene the other players can add things to the scene as well.
The game was FUN and that is the point of these funny dice games isn’t it? Classroom Deathmatch included all of the players at almost every point during the game. There was almost no time when you weren’t interested in what was going on . I recommend checking it out if your players have the chops to throw down on some strong storytelling and don’t get attached to their characters to quickly (one of the players characters got killed before the game even started).
So in short, good game and fun times.