(The following text is reproduced from a mimeographed sheet that was found crumpled under a filing cabinet in the office of Dr. K_____, a now-retired obstetrician. It is estimated to be under 20 years old as of this publication.)
THE GAME OF MUSH!
OBJECT OF THE GAME:
This fast-paced, exciting game pits player against player in multiple challenges at once: observation, integration, bluffing, and deconstruction! There's thrill and tension in every round, whether you're a seasoned player with many high scores under your belt (literally!) or a new player who wants to see what all the fuss is about! Even casual observers and curious onlookers get caught up in the action of... The Game Of Mush!
Only equipment provided during play may be used. No supplies, tools, or weapons may be brought onto the playing field.
SETUP & BEGINNING OF PLAY
- Always start small when entering the playing field! This is crucial. If you aren't sure how to limit yourself, observe the non-players and try to expand at the same rate.
- During the first round, non-players do not speak. Begin to introduce small words in the second round, but always limit vocabulary among non-players. Each round lasts one (1) local sidereal year.
- Refreshments will be served regularly in the early rounds. DO NOT take more than you are served, as it may attract the attention of non-players.
- Observe, observe, observe! During the opening rounds it is imperative to learn to imitate, and integrate with, the non-players. Talking to other players is discouraged until the eighteenth round.
- Scoring begins in the eighteenth round. When this round begins, you must use all you've observed to outdo your opponents.
There are three different ways to score points.
- Connections: When a non-player forms an emotional attachment to you, you can score one point in each round for each connection you maintained. These come in many different and entertaining categories: marriages, friendships, rivalries, employment, and many others. Try to discover some that other players don't know!
- Severance: You may also choose to sever the connections between non-players. A severance is worth five points. These do not continue building points between rounds, but most players score the majority of their points in this way. It's the fun part!
- Consumption: A non-player whose connections have all been severed may be safely consumed, to whatever extent you find most pleasurable. Leftovers may be discreetly discarded, or used as a prop for further Severance.
- Reservation: As an alternative to consumption, non-players with no further scoring opportunities (all connections severed) may instead be brought to the Mush Pot. This results in a bigger purse for the victor!
- Completion: The 21st and final round is a race to the Home Base, the location of which will be announced at the beginning of the round. Upon arrival at Home Base, each player will receive points equal to the number of other players still on the playing field.
NOTES ON GAMEPLAY
- To maintain your status in the game, it is good to layer your assumed statuses. It is not enough to merely pretend to be a non-player, for non-players believe themselves to come in many different varieties. The player must also pretend to be part of these various groups that the non-players are (somewhat arbitrarily) grouped into. Many of these groups are contradictory, though.
- Once you have chosen a group, stick to it! Non-players will somehow know if you have forgotten which group you were in. Try to stick to simplistic, easy-to-retain groups, like hobbies (physical sports, visual entertainment) or religions ('Judaism', 'Buddhism', etc.) Properly observing these will assist in making connections.
- A popular strategy is to form a team with another player, doubling your social advantage in the creation of connections. Connections with other players (marriages, etc.) do not contribute to your score, but often benefit scoring for both players-- just remember, you're competing here, so don't feel you need to match them point for point!
- Not sure what kind of non-players to seek? In general, the fewer connections they already have, the better the scoring opportunities are. If you see someone who looks "lonely", try becoming their friend... or go for the gold and eliminate what friends they do have!
THE MUSH POT
Never, ever reveal your status as a player to non-players! Any of these situations will disqualify you as a player and you will be remanded to the Mush Pot.
- Being discovered and revealed by non-players.
- Revealing another player to non-players.
- Consuming another player (during gameplay).
- Use of contraband material from outside the playing field.
- Forgetting your status as a player (see "Warning", below)
- DO NOT forget that you are a player. Players who fail a simple identification test given by other players will be removed from the game.
- DO NOT consume non-players anywhere you may be observed by other non-players. (You may feel free to enjoy consumption in the company of other players. Sharing is caring!)
- Some non-players come in different shapes, recognizable by their coats of hair, feathers, or other unusual features. Despite their crudity, standard non-players may build connections to them nonetheless; consuming a non-standard non-player (NSNP) may draw undue attention and threaten your score.
- If you have been outed or removed from the game, you MUST go to the Mush Pot. Disqualified players who remain in the playing field are a threat to the rest of the players.
- If any reproductive act is performed by players, either with fellow players or non-players, the results of said act will be remanded to the Mush Pot upon end of play.
- Neither players nor non-players may leave the Mush Pot, as they are now part of the purse.
- The game lasts for a total of 21 turns. During the 21st turn, the location of the Home Base will be announced. Players must enter Home Base during the 21st turn to complete the game.
- When all remaining players have returned to Home Base, the points will be totaled: 1 point per connection per year, 5 points per severed connection, and 10 points per non-player consumed (or added to the Mush Pot). The player with the highest score is declared the winner!
- If all other players are disqualified before the 21st turn, the last player still engaged with non-players is the winner.
- Players still on the playing field at the beginning of the 22nd turn will be remanded to the Mush Pot.
TO THE VICTOR...
The lucky winner with the most points is gifted the entire contents of the salty, stewy, noisy Mush Pot. This winner usually chooses to sit out the next game to enjoy their prize, but if desired, the winner may add the contents of this Mush Pot to the next, and return to the playing field for the next game-- the more rounds you play, the more the Mush itself grows and gro-o-o-ows!
Excited for more? Feel like you could have done better last time? If you'd like to play The Game Of Mush again, just tell Dr. K_____!