The House Beta version 0.3 – By Orion Canning and Robert Bruce
You’re a character in a reality TV show (think The Real World or Big Brother). You live in public with a bunch of other narcissists, sharing a house and daily rituals together. You have a hard time living with people who are different, and it doesn't help that your primary method of communication is talking behind other people's backs. Nothing that actually happens in the house happens on-screen. Everything’s told through daily video-journals or candid interviews, all posted online for the enjoyment (or mortification) of all.
If you're playing the game online you'll want make sure to have some way for all the players to converse as a group, like an email mailing list, a forum thread, a social networking site, an instant messaging program or something along those lines. The Youtube videos should appear as authentic as possible, so keep any out of character conversations to private messages, other non character Youtube accounts, or the place you use for conversing with the group. Make sure to tag all your videos with Thehousethegame, and send links for your videos to Thehousethegame channel so we can add them to our playlists to make them easy for everyone who is playing or watching to find. You can find the rules and other downloads at thehousethegame.com
Think of a name. Try picking one out of your high school yearbook. Maybe “Most Likely to be Famous.”
Each character has 2 prides, someone they love, and someone they hate.
Prides are promises to yourself. They are who you think you are. Prides always begin with either, “I will always” or “I will never”. For example, “I will never cheat on my partner.”, “I will never have sex on TV.”, “I will always be the best cook I know.”, “I will always be the smartest in the house.” Show your prides through your words and actions, but don't tell us your prides outright in your videos. You'll write your prides on your character page so everyone can see them.
Now it’s time to deliver your Character Pitch. This is done in the form of an audition tape, sent to the producers of the show. The tape should be focused on you, and should really be a pitch about why you would be the most interesting person to see on TV. Why would people enjoy watching you? Are you hot? Do you always speak your mind? Are you trendy and hip? Maybe you have a fun and high-paying job. Or you could just have the unshakeable, unbreakable belief that you WILL BE FAMOUS!!!
Show us. In 5 minutes or less.
Make a youtube page for your character, and feel free to add as much information about your character as you want. Make sure to put your prides on your channel page in the About section in the upper right corner. Post your pitch video on your character’s account. Send a private message with a link to your video to Thehousethegame to be added to the episode playlist.
After watching the other player’s pitches, pick one other character you love and one you hate. Like the pitch video for the character you love, and dislike the video for the character you hate.
Your daily schedule for living in The House will generally look something like this:
10am: House-mates share a communal breakfast
11am: Head to your job or fake, trendy internship
1pm: Boss gets frustrated with your useless ass and you take a lunch.
2pm: Do your daily videojournal at home. You don’t have a lot of time, so spill yer guts. Also: Take care of personal business, call your partner, and maybe make a rant video or participate in an interview.
5pm: Communal dinner or dinner date.
7pm: Gettin ready to partay.
10pm: Roll into the club, GET WASTED!!!!!!
Later: Your friends will tell you all about it.
A game of The House is called a season. A season is composed of episodes that cover a week of in game time. The first episode consists of the character pitches, after that each episode we'll begin and resolve a conflict between characters talking shit about each other. Each episode every player must like or dislike two of the other character's videos from that episode, and no more than two. Whoever has the most combined likes and dislikes on their videos at the end of the episode starts the next episode as the hater. Ties are broken by most page views, and if that's also tied the hated player gets to choose who plays the hater next episode. The hater decides the turn order for that episode and posts it in the comments for their first video for the episode.
Each episode players will take turns posting video journals in character. One character, the hater, chooses a character to start a conflict with, the hated. The hater goes first, the players not involved in the conflict go in turn order afterwards, and the hated goes last. If the hated continues the conflict, turn order reverses, ending with the hater. Note that the hated only gets one turn.
(Making a videojournal)
In character, make a video where you talk about the most important things that happened in your day. Conflicts in the house, romantic developments, whatever your character thinks matters. Again, you have five minutes or less, so focus. Build the drama. On your turn you get to tell your character’s version of events. Watch the other character’s videos first, then feel free to respond to their statements or introduce your own events. Anything any character says can be a lie, so it’s perfectly fine to have characters disagree over how things actually happened and contradict one another. Which side was telling the truth gets mostly determined at the end of the round, but there might still be some loose ends. That’s okay, it’s fine to leave some ambiguity about what really happened.
When it’s your turn to be the hater, you'll pick who you're hating on, making them the hated. Then at some point in your video journal you'll describe an event that threatens one of their prides. If the hated revealed their prides to you, this is easy, but otherwise you have to guess based on what you know about them from their videos. Anyone can choose to Escalate the conflict in a subsequent video. Escalating allows you to decide whether the hated's Pride continues to be threatened or if the conflict gets turned around and the hater’s pride gets threatened instead. The threatened player is called the Target. If you target the hated with an Escalation, describe an event that backs up the hater’s claims or version of events. If you target the hater, you can describe an event that defends the hated or otherwise contradicts the hater’s story, or simply attempt to threaten one of the hater’s prides. The most recent Escalation over-rides all previous ones and determines the Target.
On the hated's turn they can choose to resolve the conflict or continue it. If they resolve it, they describe how the target abandons their Pride. If they continue it they can Escalate, but it doesn’t change the target. One of the other players still has to do that. Then the hater gets to resolve how the target abandons their Pride. If the players correctly chose one of the target’s Prides, the target crosses it off their character sheet. If the players guessed the Pride wrong, the target reveals their prides to everyone in their comments, proving they aren’t actually bothered by the conflict.
Robert's pitch got the most likes and dislikes so he gets to be the hater. He decides.
It’s Robert’s turn to be the hater, so Robert says that Orion, whose Pride is “I will always be the most masculine person in the house,” was heard singing Britney Spears in the shower. And not even “Toxic” either. One of her obscure songs. (Making Orion the hated.) As the hated Orion goes last, so Robert decides the turn order this episode will be Robert, Sean, Veles, then Orion.
Sean Escalates the conflict by saying “It looked like Orion was wearing lip gloss!” (Keeping Orion the Target).
Veles spends his turn talking about himself and ignoring the conflict, keeping Orion the Target.
Orion continues the conflict by saying “So what? My girlfriend likes that song. But how did Robert know that it was Britney Spears? He must be a big fan too.” (This doesn’t change the Target, but Orion hopes someone else will.)
Veles Escalates the conflict by saying “I saw Robert dancing with some raver kids..” (Changing the Target to Robert, threatening his Pride – “I will always be an indie scene-ster.”)
Sean Escalates the conflict by saying “Robert was wearing a neon pacifier around his neck and calling it candy.” (Keeping Robert the Target.)
Robert resolves the conflict by saying “Screw you guys, House is coming back. 4/4/4ever!” (Resolving the conflict, abandoning his Pride on his own terms.)
Note: When narrating a character abandoning their Pride, describe the events which prove to everyone their Pride isn’t true anymore.
(Rants and Interviews)
After each round’s conflict resolves, the hated gets to choose whether to make a Rant or an Interview.
Rants give you a chance to talk shit about someone or something with no consequences. Rants don’t initiate conflicts, and you can’t use them to contradict established events. You can use your Rant to tell stories about stuff your character did on their own, or use it to express their feelings about events that have already happened and other characters. Use this to define and develop your character and give hints about your prides.
At any time, another character or anyone else on the internet can post interview questions to your comments. If you choose interview, you pick 5 questions and answer them. Your answers cannot contradict established events. Use your Interview to satisfy your fans and other Players’ curiosity about your character.
Question guidelines – Questions can define events in that character’s life before the show, or fill in details about past events in the house. Don’t ask what people’s Prides are. Don’t ask leading questions that would force the other player to contradict established events. (For example: Asking why they killed the monkey, when we know the monkey survived.)
Since this game is played through making Youtube videos you can feel free to get as elaborate with the videos as you like. Go ahead and make a costume for your character and wear it in your videos or dress the background to make it look like your character's room. Your character might even record the video somewhere outside their house, maybe while visiting their friends or family, while at work, at a net café, or at a club or party. You can also include other people in your videos as NPCs, or collaborate with other players to have their characters make cameos in your videos. Just be careful not to create contradictions in the setting. As a rule you normally shouldn’t set your scenes in any part of “the house” except your own room, unless the other players agree with the location. That’s so one player doesn’t go setting the rest of the house in a place that’s easy for them to get access to, but difficult or impossible for anyone else to film at.
The Players should also discuss beforehand whether there are any subjects that would make any players uncomfortable that they don’t want to see in the game. This is called “veiling” those subjects. Players shouldn’t have to explain why they want to “veil” particular subject matter, it’s about making sure everyone is comfortable and having fun with the game.
When a character abandons both their Prides, they get so upset that they leave the show. They get to make a final Rant or Interview video as a farewell. They can introduce a new character if they want. They can immediately make a new youtube channel for their new character with a new character pitch. They pick two new prides for their character and choose someone to love and someone to hate, just like before. The new character enters immediately into the next round.
If a character leaves the show their player can decide to end the season instead of making a new character. The remaining characters play one last episode. After the last episode each character, (including any characters who left the show) gets to post an epilogue video where they talk about what they have been doing after leaving the house.
http://www.youtube.com/user/thehousethegame - Youtube page
http://thehousethegame.blogspot.com/ - The rules online