21st Century Fake News

Running via Phantasmal Freeform Co-op, 23rd March 2019

4-8 players, 4 hours,
by Malcolm Campbell and Mo Holkar.

A re-skin of Fake News by Mo Holkar (see Acknowledgements

The Premise

Much to the surprise of The Party and The Opposition, a new President with no political experience has been elected. They’re a celebrity who campaigned on populist ideas – nominally as a member of The Party, although The President’s policies aren’t always well aligned, or even consistent. But through The President, The Party is in power, and they’d like to stay that way.

The setting is an exploration of contemporary populist politics – it will draw on news stories both from North America and Europe, blending them into one fictional narrative.

The characters are The President’s spin team, working hard to make the government acceptable to the people by putting a favourable take on a succession of news stories.

During the course of the game, the players will work down a stack of cards containing news events which they must come up with a way as spinning as fake news, or into a positive narrative for The President. Different characters will have stronger loyalties to The President, The Party, or The People – and different influences over the media. Their powers of invention will be more and more called upon, and their cognitive dissonance ever stronger. An overall storyline will develop and build to a climax.

Themes

The game includes themes of politics, military conflict, immigration and refugees. If these themes are upsetting for you, this might not be the game for you.

There are no sexual assault themes in this game and players will be asked not to introduce them, even off-screen.

Game Brief

Acknowledgements

21st Century Fake News is a re-skin of “Fake News” by Mo Holkar – made with his permission.

It’s been re-skinned to take a dark look at populist politics in the 21st Century, drawing on both fiction and real life as its sources – and also to expand the game to 3-4 hours in length.

The +/-/~ cards are based on an idea in “Women on the Verge”, another Mo Holkar game (although used slightly differently).

Writeups of Cut, Brake, Lines and Veils are based on too many games to mention.

Thanks to Mo, and to all the playtesters and players of his original game who contributed to that design.

You can find Fake News here: https://www.holkar.net/larps/fake_news.html

And many other great games by Mo here: https://www.holkar.net/