First Question on Serial Homicide Unit

I got an e-mail from a gamer in Mexico (isn’t the Internet cool?) asking about Serial Homicide Unit. He wanted to know whether it was like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. I’m still getting used to talking about the game. This was my response:

Thanks for your interest. Serial Homicide Unit is not very much like a Choose Your Own Adventure. It’s more like being taught how to play a game by audio tutorial. The audio doesn’t contain details about the serial killer or clues found at the crime scenes. It tells you when the serial killer strikes again, and explains how your group can create these clues on your own.

The first few tracks give an overview of the game and–because there can be no investigation before there has been a crime–teach you how to make interesting civilian characters that might be the killer’s next victim. Then another track explains how to play out a scene from the life of these civilians. After everyone has played out a civilian scene, the next few tracks describe how the police begin to investigate the murders. Everyone plays their own investigator and imagines their own clues found at the crime scene. These clues work together in a growing pool of evidence that may eventually lead to the killer’s capture. Then you play another civilian scene. Then, track 9 tells you which of your civilian characters have been murdered. Then, your police characters investigate that murder. You continue back and forth between civilian scenes and investigation scenes, with the killer murdering another civilian each round. Once you think you have enough evidence, you roll the dice to see if your case holds up in court. If so, you capture the killer! If not, the murders continue and some evidence is thrown out. The game ends when the killer is captured, or when the killer has murdered every last one of the civilian characters. Can you save them in time?

What do you think? For those who have played the game: Does this explain SHU without giving everything away?

For those who haven’t played the game: Is this clear and understandable? Does it grab your interest and make the game seem appealing?

Serial Homicide Unit–A killer game on the loose!

The electronic edition of Serial Homicide Unit is now available at Indie Press Revolution. The electronic edition sells for $15.00 and includes:

  • 14 audio files in .mp3 format that explain the rules of the game as you play.
  • A PDF of the complete script used to create the audio files.
  • PDFs of all forms needed for gameplay.
  • A “ReadMe.pdf” that explains how to prepare the game for play.

Preorders for the print edition will start within the next week or so, and will include the electronic edition as a bonus.

Thanks to all who have made this game possible. Have a Happy New Year, everybody!

SHU, MG, IGE–Acronyms Assemble!

I’ve got the proof of Serial Homicide Unit in my hands. It needs a few tweaks, but on the whole, it looks good. We won’t be able to ship physical copies before the end of the year, but January 15 looks VERY likely. Yay! Preorders will open in the next week.

There was lots of noise and chaos in the house yesterday. None of it needed my help, so I read through my PDF of the Mouse Guard RPG. Wow! I love the way Luke and company keep their games firmly rooted in sweat and mud. In this game, mud can even kill you!

Plus, they’ve streamlined the Burning Wheel architecture down to its most essential parts. I playtested it back at Dreamation and commented that it seemed like an implementation of Burning Wheel that could actually fit into my life. Reading it, I can see that I was right. I’ll be running two sessions of it at Dreamation.

I’ll also be running two sessions of Serial Homicide Unit. And a session of Mechaton for good measure. I’m toying around with possibly running a session of Ganakagok, but I’m not sure.

Speaking of which, deadline for IGE registration is less than three weeks away and we’ve only had a handful of people sign up! C’mon, people. It’s the Indie Games Explosion at Dreamation! Run some fun!

Serial Homicide Unit–Back Cover Copy

I need three things before I can open Serial Homicide Unit for preorders. I’m excited!

1. A photo of the game components (that’ll just take a few hours this weekend)

2. Write up the copy for the back cover.

3. Order and evaluate a test copy from the cd duplicator I plan to use.

I HATE writing back cover copy. Salesmanship is not one of my strong suits, it feels too much like bragging. Anyway, that’s why I’m turning to YOU, faithful blog-reader. Here’s what I’ve started as far as back cover copy for SHU. What’s good? What’s bad? What else should be said? Is the bullet format good or not?


* Track down a killer. Bring a rampaging serial killer to justice as you portray investigators of the elite Serial Homicide Unit. Thrill to the terror as you follow the lives of the killer’s next victims.

* Single evening play. A single game plays in less than four hours, with high replay value. Three to six players.

* Pick-up and play! No preparation required. No rules to read. Just play the enclosed CD and listen as the game is explained to you step-by-step. All you need to play are a few normal, six-sided dice and pens or pencils. All other materials enclosed.

* You create the killer.