The Magazine Episode is designed to be played by a minimum of three people with a maximum of seven.
One person is assigned as the game moderator. The game moderator is in charge of being a storyteller who creates the game’s setting, and also acts as a referee who makes sure that the rules of the game are understood. The game moderator should have the game script on hand as a story guide. All other participants are deemed players.
The players each select a character sheet to use. Character Sheets represent a character within the game's story which a player is able to use to interact within the game world. Character sheets contain the characters name, descriptors, bond, talents, values, and inventory. An example of a character sheet can be found at the end of this guide
Descriptors help the players understand their chosen character's behavior. Bonds tie characters into the game’s plot by giving the character clear motivation to partake within the story’s conflict. Talents determine a character’s capabilities and can be improved throughout the game. The Values section allows for the player to demonstrate American values through their character and are awarded by doing so with the opportunity to improve the character's talents. The Inventory section is used to keep track of what items a character may have upon their person.
Once the Players have a character sheet with dice and a writing utensil, the game moderator has the game's script with a writing utensil, and everyone has knowledge of the game rules, then the game is ready to begin.
Unlike many other types of games, role-playing games are rarely competitive. The goal of a role-playing game is for a group of individuals to collaborate with one another in order to create and experience a story. The Magazine Episode aims to allow players to partake in a story of turmoil in Williamsburg while also learning about core American values through character expression.
The game begins with the game moderator beginning the first act of story collaboration through narration of the setting and introduction of the event that acts as a catalyst for the stories central conflict. After the initial narration, the game plays out in a rhythm. The players announce what actions their characters make in the given scenario, while the game moderator narrates what occurs in response to the actions of the characters. This pattern continues until a proper resolution to the story’s conflict is met.
Whenever a character, controlled by a player, makes an action that attempts to overcome challenge, the success or failure of the character is determined through the player rolling dice. The player roles an amount of dice corresponding to one of their character’s corresponding talents. If the rolling of the dice results in at least one six becoming rolled, the action is a success. Otherwise the action is a failure and the game moderator determines the failed action’s negative repercussions.
Example: A player wishes to have their character pickup and push a heavy rock out of a doorway, so that the character may pass through the doorway. This action requires physical prowess and is thus linked to the strength talent. The player’s character sheet has three boxes filled in next to the strength talent. So, the player will roll three dice. The player rolls a three, a two, and a six. Because a six was rolled, the action is a success and the character manages to move the heavy rock away from the doorway.
Whenever a player makes an action that expresses one of the American values, they may check a diamond near the corresponding value section within their character sheet. If they do so, then they are rewarded by filling in an empty box within the talent section of the character sheet. This rule is designed to encourage players to express American values.
As previously stated, the game is played through the game moderator’s narration of the story, and the players interact with the story through choosing their character’s responses to the events within the narration. The story that becomes told throughout the game should follow a classic story arc that includes rising and falling action caused by a central conflict. The game can only properly finish when either the characters find a proper resolution to the conflict at hand, or the characters are overcome by the challenges presented by the conflict and fail. The latter option is generally to be avoided as it may not form a satisfying experience for the players. Once the conflict finds an ending, the game moderator should narrate the results of the story for each character. Once this is done, the game has concluded