Vernon-based role-playing game 'cuts to the chase' - InfoNews

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Vernon-based role-playing game 'cuts to the chase'

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Emily McAllan
May 27, 2019 - 1:00 PM

VERNON - You're a mouse in a barn, desperately searching for an exit. A cat is hot on your trail, ready to pounce from the shadows at any moment. With a roll of the dice, you could distract your predator or find yourself cornered.

In Johnathon Grach's world, all you need is an active imagination and a set of dice to plunge into a fast-paced, heart-pounding pursuit.

Grach is a Vernon resident who designed Cut to the Chase, a role-playing game for two players built around a streamlined chase. Grach has been working on the game formore than two years and after a major boost from Kickstarter funding, he's set to release the most detailed version of the game in July.

"It's really exciting to get it out there," he said.

Grach, an avid role-play gamer, found inspiration for Cut to the Chase in Mantracker, the popular television show where the tracker hunts for two participants as they try to reach the finish line. Grach found that many role-playing games have wide-ranging options for players; he wanted to create a streamlined, focussed experience.

Cut to the Chase gets right to the core of role-playing games. One player is the prey and the other player is the hunter. The prey has a head start while the hunter has several resources to catch up. There are four rounds where the players can roll dice to interfere with each other in the hope of gaining the upper hand. The prey wins if they don't get caught after four rounds; the hunter wins if they catch the prey. Grach said games usually last between 20 and 60 minutes.

Grach said the players can determine the setting and scenario of their game. Chases could involve cops and robbers, a baker trying to catch a bread thief, a mouse running from a cat, or countless other scenarios. The unique setups allow the players to customize their play-throughs by role-playing.

Grach released a version of Cut to the Chase as part of a game collection over a year ago. He decided to release it again on its own, but with more polish. He wanted to hire writers to create scenarios for players to use and illustrations to accompany them. Since this game is a part-time job for him, he had to turn to crowdfunding.

"It's hard to ask money for [the game]," he said. "I had to deal with imposter syndrome. Knowing it was good enough for public consumption was the hardest part."

Grach began this project as a way to learn about game design. He's play tested it, heard feedback from players, and reorganized it several times in order to make it as streamlined as possible.

"You don't want it to be clunky," he said. "You want it to be focused."

Grach raised enough money for Cut to the Chase in April and he plans to release for purchase online in July. The book will feature scenarios from 15 writers. The stories show off the flexibility of the game, allowing for tales of Death pursuing its apprentice for quitting their job, an immune system hunting down a bacterial colony, and a wrestler trying to goad another wrestler into a fight.

"The stories are all really good," Grach said. "Interesting backgrounds."

Grach plans to continue designing role-playing games. He's considered a fighting game built around gladiatorial battles. He hopes to take the lessons he's learned from Cut to the Chase and apply them to future projects.

"I have probably a dozen ideas," he said. "I have no intention of stopping. It's a serious endeavour."

You can check out Grach's Kickstarter here. Also check out a play-through of the game below.


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