The Everyone is John game

johnWhen I was 16 my best friend introduced me to the vast world of table top roleplaying games and I’ve classified myself as an RPGer ever since. The first games I played were World of Darkness and Dungeons and Dragons. Then a few years ago I was introduced to one of the simplest RPGs I’ve ever seen called Everyone is John.

The rules are very simple; there is one game master and the players are all playing the different personalities of John. Each player writes down 3 skills and 3 goals, easy, medium and hard, that are then distributed randomly among the players. Each player gets 7 tokens that are used to bid for control over John. The player who is in control gets to decide what John does and they should try to achieve their goals using their skills.

Depending on how silly people want the game to be the skills can range anywhere from “writing” to “jumping over the Eiffel Tower” and be interpreted in anyway the game master allows. The goals can also be quite silly, such as “drain the Thames” or “meet the 11th Doctor”. Before the game starts the players and game master decide if they want the game to be superpowered and if John should be retarded* or not. If John is retarded the players have to roll the dice for every action they take, including talking and walking.

*No offence is intended towards mentally handicapped people

When a player is in control of John, they choose what to do. Usually it involves trying to complete one of their goals. Each time they want to do something they must roll a 6-sided die. If they can explain how one of their 3 skills can be appropriate for the action they are doing they must get 4 or more on the die to succeed. If not, they must get a 6 on the die. This can lead to rather hilarious situations where someone is trying to use their “jump over the Eiffel Tower” skill to jump over something that is not the Eiffel Tower, such as a river or a house, by proclaiming that they name this particular object “The Eiffel Tower”.

To find out more about this game, head on over to Roleplay Geek and check out their hilarious account of their first Everyone is John game, where they explain in a bit more detail how the rules work.

So a few weeks ago I tried my hand at directing this game. It went well I think. My husband and 3 of our friends were players and I was the game master. They came up with rather hilarious skills such as “lemonify” and “call the pope”, which ended with John turning into the Messiah and moving the British Isles a bit further west by turning them into lemonade. For a while John became an alternate universe containing the entire world’s police force. He also walked on the sky because the player forgot to mention they were heading to the ground after climbing to the top of a statue.

Overall this was fun. I had been afraid of being a game master because I usually don’t think of myself as witty or quick to think so I was afraid I was going to end up going all like “Uuuu… eh, I…” but then I didn’t. The alternate universe thing, for example, was one of those things that I didn’t really think much about, I just said the first thing that came into my mind.

I encourage you to try this game, it’s a lot of fun and can be played with players of almost any age, although I wouldn’t recommend playing it with a toddler I don’t know who came up with the game but it is brilliantly simple and so much fun to play.

This entry was posted in Geekdom.
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