While this might sound like a coy
name for an E2 Gathering, this was in fact an actual role playing game released by TSR
in 1988. It has the distinction of being the only role playing game
ever released that came with its own set of hand puppets.
How did TSR sink this low
? Let me explain.
Under the leadership of Lorraine Williams
(who ousted Gary Gygax
and used her family fortune derived from its ownership of the Buck Rogers
name to buy controlling interest in TSR), the gaming company was directed to begin widening the scope of role playing. Williams hoped to get TSR away from serving the needs of the traditional, highly idiosyncratic
fantasy role playing community (a community she made no secret that she loathed
) by licensing and creating role playing games based on classic TV shows. And we're not talking Star Trek
. There would be, for example, a role playing game based on The Honeymooners
. Eventually day time soap operas like All My Children
would get the role playing treatment. (Again I need to stress this is all true... this node is NOT an early April Fools Joke
But first up was the Bullwinkle
and Rocky Role Playing Party Game. The boxed game included the standard rule sets plus six "Two-Dimensional Rotating Randomizers" (otherwise known to players of Twister
"), two fake diplomas from Wossamotta U
and the Ukrainian Safe-Cracking Academy of Pottsylvania
, and, the piece de resistance
, 10 vinyl
The Bullwinkle and Rocky Role Playing Party Game offered those unfortunate enough to buy the game one of three ways to play it:
- The Narration Game
- The Everybody Can Do Something Game
- The Graduate Game
In the Narration variation, players get the beginning and ending of a story. They draw cards and generate stories based around the circumstances spelt out in the cards ("a submarine
appears" "you are hypnotize
The Everybody Can Do Something variation is "dungeon mastered" by The Narrator. Each player assumes an identity like Bullwinkle and has unique pre-assigned powers. Bullwinkle has powers like Prophesying Bunion
and Mighty Moose Muscles. These powers would make even the most hardened Tunnels & Trolls
player feel deep shame when verbally referring to them. The spinners are used to determine if the powers invoked was a success or failed. Characters then use their powers to achieve certain goals.
The Graduate Game builds on the Everybody Can Do Something by allowing players to make up their own cartoon characters. Character get random
ly assigned powers and pitfall
The game was, not surprisingly, an absolute failure. While Willaims goal was to divest itself of its hardcore gamer following, the game was marketed at role playing convention
s TSR attended. Unable to sell copies, TSR started giving them away as prizes, ostensibly to build word of mouth and critical mass. That proved an impossible task as those who were "lucky" enough to win the game found it impossible to locate another gamer who wanted to play a role playing game that used hand puppets -- even those sleep deprived, drunk
, or high.
After TSR lost a lot of money on Bullwinkle and Rocky Role Playing Party Game, even Lorraine Williams had to grudgingly admit society at large was not ready to accept role playing games, no matter how broad the appeal of the original source material. TSR walked away from thousands of dollars it sunk into securing the role playing game rights to All My Children
and The Honeymooners
. With The Honeymooners TSR got as far as making hundreds of thousands of Ralph Kramden
s. TSR managed to eventually unload the figurines in Japan
, where the works of Jackie Gleason
were enjoying a rediscovery.