Game Chef

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Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Dulse is a game about relationships, ideals, and the choices we make to preserve or destroy them.

In addition to being the name of the game, Dulse is also a character – one who is literally central. The events that inform play, and the other three characters, revolve around Dulse.

Across five life-changing events, you and your friends will explore the sacrifices and betrayals of four people who’ve known each other their entire lives, and who have deep-seated needs that they can’t fill alone. Along the way you’ll make hard choices between competing ideals, and have more choices
made for you. In the end, you will face an uncertain future guided only by a shared past.

Relationships in a game of Dulse are informed by, and changed by, a set of conflicting ideals.

The default conflict is between love and honor, but others are certainly possible and encouraged – this, more than anything, colors the game. Players will make decisions at the end of each event that are directly related to their appreciation of, and observations about, these ideals. In the context of the game, these two ideals are mutually exclusive.

Before play, place two sets of tokens somewhere easily accessible – in bowls, on the table, or whatever is practical. These should be divided into two easily-identifiable groups of twenty – use different colored beads or coins or playing cards. Each set represents one ideal – love or honor.

Apathy: The Calling

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Apathy: The Calling is a lighthearted RPG in the vein of games such as call of cthulhu. The Player’s play everyday joes picked by Cthulhu and must deal with their increasingly weird world.

[1.2] Introduction or This is YOUR life!

Stan sat there on the couch, while the Yuggya invaded his home, but it was okay, America’s Funniest Retards was on the TV. The Yuggya moved carefully their blind eyes useless, reaching out with their mind’s eye, looking for the spark of recognition, of horror, of gibbering denials. Stan was watching the multichannel, 600 hundred channels in one. Stan didn’t even have to click any more. The floors creaked under the Yuggya feet as they turned toward the door, their man form crammed with alien thoughts.

Their prey had evaded them somehow. Confused they left.

Stan sat there, watching the daily-night show for a little while more , before falling asleep in front of the television. The Infomericals lured him to sleep with the hypnotic lure of a weird flute. Asleep and on the verge of dream space, Stan stopped. Perhaps Apathy was the only way!

Welcome to Apathy:The Calling a Role Playing Game. In this game you play regular folk dealing with the mythos in the only way they can in the modern age, with apathy. As one of the select few for unknown reasons you can hear Dread Cthulhu as he dreams, calling you to commit unspeakable acts. Fortunately you’ve long been accustomed to ignoring inconvenient realities. You fight back with the inertia and apathy, that has defined you as a generation of slackers, miscreants, good for nothings, baby busters and losers.

Apathy, the Role Playing game is a game about the lost generation, everyday life and cthulhu.

House of Masks

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

HOUSE OF MASKS: A roleplaying game of Secrets and Sorcery, Power and Greed, Violence and Revenge

2008 Game Chef winner!

Six players switch in and out tag-team style to play three predefined characters in a complex, randomized web of intrigue and sorcery.


In a far off land where mighty sorcerers dwell, the God-King Castor rules from a castle where the spirit realm and physical realm touch, allowing for powerful magics to happen and for a person’s spirit form to take control of one’s body. On the eve of Castor’s wedding to the foreign princess Inanna, a mysterious peasant woman named Thalia comes knocking on the palace door…

Each of six players play Aspects (either the “real world” or “spirit world” form) of one of three predefined player characters (PCs). Each player can take control of the PC under specific conditions.

Each player has a randomized goal, which will likely conflict with the other PCs and possibly conflict with the player of the other aspect of their PC. There are three decks of goals (one for each character) with three goals in each deck. Each goal is identified with a symbolic image: a hand with a Key in it (representing Secrets and Magic), a hand wrapped in a Necklace (representing Greed and Power), or a hand holding a drop of Blood (representing Violence and Revenge).

Beyond the initial setup phase of the game, characters have almost complete freedom to act. They are only constrained by their imaginations and the other players. When two characters oppose one another, the players use the conflict rules, which are tremendously simple and flexible. One player (called the Objector) sets two possible outcomes that could happen to the opposed characters. The other player in the conflict (called the Actor) then applies one of these outcomes to their character and one to the Objector’s character.

Two cards called Boons grant special privileges to their holders. The Boon of Beginnings allows the holder to frame scenes. The Boon of Endings allows the holder to call for the end of a scene. Either Boon can be used to activate a character’s sorcerous abilities. In a conflict, these magical powers can be used to reject the stakes set by an Objector and set new stakes. After any use of a Boon, the user gives the Boon away to some other player (which other player depends on how the Boon is used).

Terribly Beautiful

Monday, April 28th, 2008

How will you be remembered after you die?

This is the question being faced by the Terribly Beautiful, former prostitutes who find themselves facing a slow death at the hands of the disease known as the Pale. Is there still hope to be found when life is slipping away?


It is the dream of humanity to escape death. No one lives forever, but we hope that our lives mattered, that we will be remembered by the next generation. We have a lifetime to create that legacy. All too often most of that lifetime gets squandered. We come to realize the importance of our
legacy only when it is almost too late.


They are the most desirable and seductive women in the city, the women of the night. Men are willing to travel into the most disreputable of neighbourhoods to meet them, offer money and gifts for but a few hours of their time or even less. They ply the oldest profession, selling their bodies into others’ fantasies.

Dying Together

For the streetwalkers of the red-light district known as the Kaz, death takes its time. The disease known as the Pale stakes its claim by transforming its victims into visions of beauty, alabaster skin and elegantly thin. But beware, for death is a jealous lover, who lays claim to any who might make love to those already ill, and so they become known as the Terribly Beautiful. Shunned by society, they find each other and face the remaining days of their lives.

The World

It is a world not unlike that which we live in today, with countries that war and trade. It is a city not unlike those found in many parts of the world today, with cultures that clash and blend. They are streets not unlike those that we walk in our cities every day, filled with people who have dreams both pursued and dashed.

The city sits on the water, industry and docks to the east, a thin strip of old docks leading to luxury shorefront property to the west, a downtown of skyscrapers and suburbs beyond. Nestled between them all, surrounded by stone walls, is a neighbourhood, the oldest in the city. It is called the Kaz.

The Kaz

“Ruined buildings, ruined lives…”

Once the beautiful, prideful, majestic centre of the city, the neighbourhood called the Kaz has been brought low by age. Grassy expanses were covered over by scabs of concrete, cheap apartments grow where flowers once bloomed, and treets that once wove gracefully around estates now snarl with traffic. Only a few of the buildings remain, protected by heritage laws, but impossibly expensive to maintain. They have fallen, one by one, to the ravages of time, becoming urban legend, the source of stories of ghosts, secrets and other mysteries that refuse to die.

For all the things that have changed, it is debauchery that remains a part of the Kaz. In times past a carelessly parted blind would reveal the parties of the rich, sumptuous, opulent attire carefully put on and carelessly thrown off. Today the sliver of light through a night window is reveals attire as carelessly thrown aside as ever. The Kaz has become a red-light district, a neighbourhood where prostitution is tolerated.

Around all this are the walls. Once they stood to protect the rich from would-be invaders. Indeed, they still do protect the rich, but now they do so by protecting the rich outside from having to see what the crowning glory of the city has become.

The Dream Merchants

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

My Game Chef 2007 entry: The Dream Merchants

The Pitch: In the future…memory is currency. The players take the role of Dream Merchants who trade in forbidden and special memories in a world where strong emotions are punished. Will these memories hold the key to save their souls? Or will they end up like the rest of the Fallen; drained of their memories and forced to live in squalor?

“I remember now. The night of true passion and understanding, until our worlds came crashing down. The Judgment say that to feel too much is a sin. But the feelings inside of me cannot simply be turned off. I remember too much. It courses through me like steam through a vent, powering my brain and awakening my soul. I can’t let it go…I won’t let it go!!”

“Citizen, welcome to the Contentment Center. You have been selected for a MemWipe because of your troubled thoughts. We are here to guide you.”

“But I don’t want to be wiped. I need to remember!”

“No, citizen. None of us need to remember. What we need is to be Contented. That is what we…”

“…No!! Those are my memories…our memories! Please stop!!!”

“There…now isn’t that better? Feel the MemDrain moving through your veins. It’s already freeing your pain. Let it go…let it go…let it go…Okay, he’s out. Drain the last two weeks. That should do it. Is the girl ready yet?”

Tapas: the Sampling

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Tapas are small snacks or dishes served as appetizers or small dishes in between full courses. The word is Spanish, but the concept is similar to eating family style Chinese, or going through a Middle Eastern meal consisting exclusively of appetizers. In gaming, “tapas” means any small one-shot game using different characters, plots, storylines, and even game systems as compared to a regular long-running game or campaign, often played catch-as-catch-can with whoever can make it that evening.

Game Chef 26 Notes for Judges

This Game Chef 26 entry, in keeping with the popular culinary theme of the competition, consists of several such tapas; in this context, however, they serve as a sort of intermezzo for other, fuller and more complete entries. (Or should that be entr?es?) The Time theme this year did not sit as well with my muse as it has with others, so Judges, please consider Tapas: the Sampling as a complete game utilizing all available time ranges and selections from both packages of ingredients. If you feel the need to judge more harshly due to my not strictly following the instructions, feel free; but regardless, know that I present Tapas: the Sampling as a complete game consisting of minigames, as opposed to judging each individual dish on the full criteria.

Tapas: the Sampling was written at the last minute, in just under thirty-six hours, after nearly a full week of percolating.