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This is a Print-and-Play Game

All you need to do is download the files below, print them off and you're good to go. Counters, cards etc. are included in the files, but you may need to source some other bits yourself.

Operation BP: Bullshit Plug

Operation BP: bullshit plug overview:
"BP's PR machine is leaking bullshit at an uncontrollable rate ... "
2 players
10 minutes
12+ yrs

Operation BP: Bullshit Plug

June 2010 - The standards that any game idea has to reach are pretty high before we'll even consider it for publication. It has to be right in so many ways that, invariably, many smaller ideas are left on the cutting room floor. But it seems a shame to leave them there, gathering dust, so we thought we should make quick, downloadable games and give them away. This would solve our problem.

So here it is Operation BP: Bullshit Plug: our first print-and-play game. You need nothing else but a printer, some card, some scissors and two pieces to serve as counters - pennies do nicely.

Game Files:

Operation BP: Bullshit Plug

DOWNLOAD: High-res jpeg (1.3Mb) | PDF (2.6Mb)

This game is for two players. Each player takes a role - either 'BP' or 'The Public' and each player has two cards that represent two possible strategies. BP is trying to shore up its dwindling share price, while the public just want the leak plugged. Both players pick a strategy and play it face down, simultaneously. These are then revealed and the effects on the share price and the leak are worked out. This action is then repeated until the game ends. It's very simple, takes just a few minutes to play, but is also quite devilish and deceiving.

For the game-design/psychology geeks among you, Operation BP: Bullshit Plug is (as you probably know if you're a game-design/psychology geek) actually a variant of the classic Prisoner's Dilemma. In fact, it's a re-iterative prisoner's dilemma with a non-finite amount of iterations (although the iterations can safely be presumed to be fairly low in number). This makes co-operation in the game rather difficult.

Things to look out for: The game is best played without speaking. Let your actions communicate for you. In this way, co-operating and defecting can be used as both encouragement and punishment respectively. Also be aware for any patterns of tit-for-tat behaviour: these can either spiral out of control or lead to a calm compromise, depending on what behaviour is being mirrored. Above all, watch out for any possible penultimate moves in the game and think carefully about what the other player will likely play in this situation before stating your strategy.

Incidentally, there can be no greater satirical comment on this crisis than browsing the "In pictures: a response" section of the BP website. You can almost hear the grinding of marketing teeth each time they feel they have to stay on just the right side of the reality divide and include a shot of an oiled animal or soiled beach. Even those photos look remarkably clean and not much to worry about. The most incredible thing though is how everything reflects an air of calm, clean, professional control. No animals suffocating in oil, no ruined marshes, not, literally, a cloud in the sky. Now compare these.

Feel free to leave any feedback - we'll certainly do more if this turns out to be a good use for our 'reject' ideas.

What Do You Think?

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Creative Commons License This game is released under Creative Commons licence