Written by Jeremy Morgan, tabletop games editor, gamer, and software developer.
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Out of Spoons

15 January 2015

Last post, I tossed out a half-formed idea. This is a continuation of that. It’s shaping up into a microgame I’m going to call Out of Spoons.

[Edited post to include attribution for Spoon Theory in the text itself. Thanks to Elsa for the gentle reminder! -Forgetful Editor]

Out of Spoons1

Out of Spoons is a game about managing the reserves of energy each of us has each day. It’s about understanding that not everyone has limits; some are just lower than others. There’s no GM here, you’re all players. Each of us is responsible for your character’s actions and reactions.

You’ll define a relationship with two other players. Make sure that no one is left out in the cold. You’re all here to play the game. Relationships need not be two-sided, either. Just because someone is your friend, it doesn’t mean you consider them a friend.

Each of you has three resources: physical, mental, and emotional. The game represents a week, with one or more scenes each day. At the start of each day, roll one six-sided die for each resource; these are your starting pools.

Whoever is youngest starts play each in-game day. Choose one of the other players and decide on a scene. The scene should be something that involves an interpersonal conflict or dilemma that is likely to drain one or more of your resources. For example, you might declare that the scene is a breakfast with family during the holiday season, able to drain you mentally and emotionally.

Decide how difficult this scene is going to be for your character in terms of each resource. The other player involved in the scene should do the same. Note that the difficulties need not be the same for each character.

  • Easy: 1
  • Moderate: 2
  • Difficult: 3

Once the stakes are set, you may decide to avoid the situation. In this case, choose one of the resources and narrate how that helps you avoid (for physical, you literally get up and walk out of the room). Decrement that pool by the difficulty and end the scene. Play moves to the right.

When you run out of any of the resources, you’re done for the day. Narrate how your character spends what energy they have left (doesn’t talk to anyone for the rest of the day, goes to bed and sleeps, etc.).

I’d love to hear any feedback, especially if you get the itch to try out a session of it.

  1. The name comes from Spoon Theory, created by Christine Miserandino, and you can read about it here.


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