Gauntlet Hangouts: Misspent Youth of The Janus Minds

I've been slowly freeing up a bit of time to run more Gauntlet Hangouts online games, and so after recruiting friends Jessica and Gina into the community, but neither of them having played yet, I set a thing up. I put up a one-shot game of Misspent Youth: "teenage rebellion in a fucked-up future", by Robert Bohl. I'd played it recently at Gamex 2018, and ran it at our Indie RPG Night meetup.

For the full details you'd have to watch the video (down below, and thanks Patrick for helping me record it!). But from what I remember, it went something like this...

We see a utopia, beautiful, the future in clean streets and strange architectures... and then zoom onwards, past the wall and gate to the next tier, where things are still looking pretty decent; maybe not quite as clean and generous. Middle class, maybe? And then another wall and gate. And more zones. And finally we end up on the edge of our massive city. The largest area by far. And the poorest and dirtiest and crowdiest.

A boarding school in the lowest caste; forced conformity; ugly jumpsuits ; manufacturing; and social experiments. Forced belief and value systems, patronizing, broad spectrum stereotyping about Millenials destroying everything and blaming youth culture. Strict ethical codes. But... they need "creatives". Not just anyone though... only the "OK" kinds of creativity. The ones that benefit society without all the disadvantages. You know, like depression, or any revolutionary thinking and counterculture. All this, and the kids are of course being recorded as part of some reality show, to try and win votes to ensure the people's support for re-election and re-implementation. The show title? "Janus Minds".

The Authority had VICE: Absolutism / VICTIM: Humanity / VISAGE: Systemic / NEED: Re-election and support for Proposition RE-ED0912. What systems of control does the Board of Re-education have? Emotional monitoring through a Fitbit-type device. Cameras everywhere. Confessionals. And they are very Scripted; with very specific punishments if you venture off script without permissions. 

We had Beana/Beatrice (she) - Born of mixed-class background, Kiyana (she) - a trusted and unassuming "A" student, model pupil, but sympathizes with the cause, Judas (he)- a brooding musician, and Lucky (they) - a scrounger. 

Authority figures included The Voice of God - In charge of confessionals; Jonathan Glen - Producer and supercreep on chicks; Officer "Fruity" Frutanis- Harassing students, sadistic; Mark "the narc" - Detentionee but works for the man. 

The Youthful Offenders had an exploit though... a way to super-charge the fitbit using strong emotions which could disable the monitoring in the vicinity.

Due to some delays with tech issues and such and a long (but oh so satisfying) world-building, we didn't have enough time to play through all 7 scenes. Instead we made do with a good 3. We had some hallway drama with the narc, and the officer making an appearance. We had some emotion disabling electronic exploits being used at the Voice of God rooms, where they find a way to hack the televised signals. Now to get a message out. We had a third and final scene, which I played similar to what would normally be scene 6 of the game: a decision to see who would win: the Authority or the Youthful Offenders.

Overall, playing online works, but was a little slower than in person. You definitely want to find ways to expedite the world-building parts of the game. Perhaps using a pre-made scenario? Although the world-building is always so fun. Another option I more recently experiences is using something like the Add and Bans from Microscope to quickly go around the table and establish some world guidelines.

Oh, you want to know the outcome? I guess you'd have to watch...