Tabletop RPG jams are known for pushing creative constraints on applicants, tasking them to conjure art unders specific circumstances or within certain genres. The Pleasure-not-Business Card RPG Jam wants a tabletop game condensed to fit on a single printed card that fits in a standard wallet.
Started by UK-based designer Oz Browning, the jam currently has nearly 200 entries with eight days left on the submission clock. Browning left the jam open for interpretation: full games, hacks, supplements, and the more weird art can all be thrown in as long as it can be crammed into one business card - hint: the front and back are both viable.
The result, so far, has been a collection of micro-games and bite-sized experiences running the gamut from drag racing to pistol duels at dawn; from dad-joke LARPing to a one-letter Hamlet RPG that simply has a big, bold B printed on the back of the card (that one’s for the intellectuals).
Favourites include Zak Barouh’s C-Pet, which simulates a Tamogatchi-esque virtual pet that can be enjoyed in about a minute each day. After naming the new theoretical responsibility, players take their daily “turn” by checking its health and doing a single activity: gather, train or adventure. The experience and food gathered thus will keep Death from claiming their pet, for now. Luckily, Barouh swerved on adding a waste-cleaning mechanic in this initial version.
The slightly more esoteric Dodman, or Deviner or Odd Domains, is a map-drawing activity by Alfred Valley that uses the business card, along with a writing implement, a coin and a sheet of paper to procedurally generate the outline of a map that can be used in a different campaign or one-session RPG. Or, it can just be a way to pass an otherwise dull lunch break.
“‘Dodman’ is an old English word for a land snail. According to some it is also an ancient word for a surveyor; one who divines and demarks ley lines,” the description reads. Players flip or spin the coin, using its ultimate position and orientation to sketch lines from a center mark, eventually creating a nest of nodes and intersecting paths. Each node is marked by some broad descriptor to provide a hook for filling in details later, such as “subject of ill rumour” or “site of dire dreams”.
The majority of the submissions to the Pleasure-not-Business Card RPG Jam can be downloaded for free or at a name-your-price rate, and include printable versions of the rules in a business card format. Use them to enrich - or complicate - campaigns in larger systems or while waiting for takeaway to arrive. Keep a few in the pocket of a jacket or purse for any of life’s constant moments where all one can do is wait.