Author – Starshine Scribbles (@Starshinescrib)
Where to Buy – https://starshinescribbles.itch.io/megamart
This Game Takes Place Entirely In A Mega Mart Parking Lot!, as the illustrative name suggests, is designed to let players weave tales in that most fantastic, liminal space that is the mega mart parking lot. Once the game begins, players can neither leave the lot nor enter the store because, well, the game takes place entirely in a mega mart parking lot. If they wandered outside that limited area then the author would have to make the name even longer and, frankly, I think it would collapse under its own weight like a dying star.
Character creation is fast, consisting of giving your character a name, a handful of skills/items/money, and a purpose for being in the lot to begin with. The GM will then create a scenario consisting of a goal the players share as well as an antagonist to stand in their way. The game provides some fantastic tables for rolling up these goals and antagonists. The options on the goals table range from mundane (fixing a tire) to strange (completing a ritual), and results on the antagonist tables are similarly varied. In one scene you might have to sneak past a security guard but in another you might come face-to-face with a sentient car or escaped zoo animal. Don’t you just hate it when you’re trying to buy some toilet paper but you can’t because you’re being harried by pterodactyls? Happens all the time.
The game is insane, is what I’m saying. I love it.
The mechanics of TGTPEIAMMPL! are simple but not monotonous. Players say what they are trying to achieve and roll a die to beat a certain target number. Some rolls result in adding a skill to your character, others might result in the player taking a coupon that lets them automatically succeed on their next roll. And, of course, willfully failing is always an option. Players can also Discount a skill and remove a skill from their sheet forever in order to gain a coupon. Lastly, once per scene, players can request an item to find in the parking lot. This could be anything from the Ark of the Covenant to a Zamboni. Once the player requests the item, they’ll nominate another player to explain how the hell it ended up in a mega mart parking lot to begin with.
The author could have relied on the zaniness of the theme to carry the game and just phoned it in on the mechanics but, thankfully, they chose instead to provided players with a handful of straightforward, meaningful, and thematically-appropriate actions to choose from. Sure, this is a weird game, but it’s also a good, mechanically-sound game on top of that. That’s a special and rare combination.
If you’ve got a new player venturing into the hobby, need a palate cleanser in the middle of your long campaign, or just want to fill a few hours with laughter, TGTPEIAMMPL! would be as close to a guaranteed success as you could hope to find.
DISCLAIMER: I do not know anyone involved with this game, nor did I receive anything for free in exchange for this review. I have reviewed another game by this author, though! You can read the review and the AP blog here – https://podofblunders.com/2020/12/23/bust-blockers/