Published by Jumpgate Games
Distributed by Deernicorn Distro
I Have the High Ground is a short, collaborative roleplaying game about the words, wit, and melodramatic action that takes place before a duel. It’s GM-less and genre-neutral, and takes 1-2 hours to play.
Using game mechanics inspired by competitive fencing, players choose moves in secret. After their choices are revealed, the winner takes the opportunity to flaunt their bravado or to perform subtle acts that leave an imposing quiet in their wake. Your game is not an action-packed fight to the death but rather a portrayal of the slow, smoldering tension between two people about to risk their pride, their reputation, or even their lives.
I Have the High Ground also encourages players to ask: what exactly is a duel? You might be knights or fencers with your blades crossed for sport or mortal combat. But what if you were hackers vying for control of a contested server? A murderer and the aggrieved loved one avenging their victim? What if you’re assassins and ex-girlfriends, or in a boxing match, or bar fight, or even just a school talent show? So, who will you be? What will you do? There’s only one way to find out.
Pick your weapons, push the limits, and whenever justifiable: flourish your capes.
ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS
Each round players choose in secret to thrust, feint, or parry. The moves are arranged in a rock-paper-scissors triangle, where thrust beats feint, feint beats parry, and parry beats thrust, scoring one point for the victor. These moves do not, however, translate to the bloody jabs of a sword. Instead, they help structure the narration that follows: thrusts resolve to vicious insults or imperious gestures, feints into provocative bait that incites opponents into emotional vulnerability, while parries resolve as cunning repartees. When one player reaches 9 points, their opponent is defeated, and the loser is forced—in a shameful outburst of emotion—to use their weapon and strike the blow that begins the ensuing battle!
COMPONENTS AND DETAILS
- Riso-print zine, 28 pages, black and white
- Digital pdf included
Number of players: 2 players. One-shot.
Style: Collaborative storytelling. Rock, paper, scissors style dueling.
Creators: Jess Levine
- Jess Levine, the creator and lead game designer, whose previous games includes going rogue.
- Ezra Rose, the illustrator, whose previous work includes illustration for Avery Alder and Benjamin Rosenbaum’s Dream Askew / Dream Apart.
- Vin Tanner, the layout artist, whose previous games includes Galactic 2e: The Droid Expansion.
- satah, the game design consultant, who helped create I Have the High Ground’s unique Descriptor and Circumstances mechanics, and whose previous games include HOOK LINE & CYB3R.
- Will Jobst, the game’s editor, whose previous games includes TORQ and this discord has ghosts in it.
- All the crowdfunder contributors, including Bridget Renoux, Fae, Rhiannon Naomi Daly, riley rethal, and Sarida Pratuangtham.
EXAMPLES & PRESS
“Every roll, every turn, every action came dripping with drama, panache, excitement and energy. It was thrilling, beginning to end. I can’t wait to play again.” – Jeff Stormer, host of the Party of One Podcast