Zumfarter is a game I was developing at the start of 2020’s pandemic lockdown, just when everyone was learning how to use Zoom for the first time. Is it based on a true story? I’ll never tell. Here, let me set up the backstory….

You’ve all been there. The Monday, all-hands company meeting over Zoom. Everyone signs in and turns off their video and mutes their mic. Only, some people forget to mute themselves. Then it happens: the unthinkable. But, isn’t your mic off? You check, and it’s green. You double check on the bluetooth headset. It’s green. You triple check via the Participant drop-down. The mic icon is green.

You panic. You turn it off. You check to see who else had their mic on. A few did! There’s a slim but nonzero hope that no one can narrow it down to you!

Then again, the presenter did pause, clear their throat and say “oh my… tee hee… moving on.” The presentation continues, but you can tell from the heaviness of the atmosphere that something lingers. Nobody is concentrating on the topic. Everyone is looking at panel view, gallery view, trawling Slack for some real time water cooler gossip.

And when the video is disseminated to the team in the morning, everyone will have a permanent record, including that wonderful green border that highlights the quadrant of the attendee whose mic auto-activated… the “Spotlighted Squeaker” you might say.

So what else can you do but make a game out of it?

Below are some preliminary renderings of roles that might make it into the playtest version of “Zumfärter”, which will be a hidden identity game involving players taking clandestine actions while a presenter drones on. Meanwhile, the Management, IT, Slacker and Farter factions scheme to give each other the blame for a business meeting gone awry.

So… Kickstart it?
Eventually someone else is going to have the same experience… I mean someone’s friend is going to have the same experience and rake in the big bucks. So, in the meantime keep an eye out for a playtest copy. I will try to construct several decks and hand them out.

Good Social Distancing

If there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s the value of Social Distancing. Whether you are in a hard-hit area or a region that has thankfully been spared the worst, we must continue to lead by example.

Since you may be getting your guidance from a mish-mash of sources, we have collected several of the important ones here to help you remember the basics:

When outdoors, remember to stay at least 6 feet apart from others.

Adhere to proper etiquette when lining up in queues.

Maintain even spacing whenever possible.

Respect others when purchasing essential supplies.

Patronize local businesses if at all possible.

Observe spacing indicators on floor while shopping.

Wear face coverings and do not overcrowd aisles.

Keep away from areas where distancing is being ignored.

Try not to mix family groups.

Avoid locations with large gatherings of people.

Stay away from Florida.

Game Report: “Hunt Someone Playing Hunt a Killer”

There’s a new game out there that you’ll probably kill someone just to play!

May 26, 2020 (Note: This is part of the Humurugy series of satirical posts.)

You’ve probably seen ads for Game Boxes and Mystery Crates filling up your Facebook feeds for months now. Since the pandemic hit it seems like every game designer in the market is offering a mail order Sherlock Holmes-style puzzle, tailor made to keep your kids busy ripping open envelopes and your family busy unfolding old-timey maps.

Ha, maps! Remember those?

Well, the already crowded play-at-home mystery game genre has a new entry… and we bet you’d kill someone just to play it! The makers of the game-in-a-box assassination game “Hunt a Killer” already had a hit on their hands with the popular “Hunt a Killer” gamebox in which voracious stuck-at-home gamers get to experience the thrill of hunting down a fictional murderer through a series of insidious clues and riddle-stuffed envelopes.

But the successful Baltimore, MD publishers were not satisfied to rest on their laurels. This week, the label announced the coming release of their new entry in the burgeoning genre: “Hunt Someone Playing Hunt a Killer.”

Hunt a Killer Hunter
Imagine picking off this clueless first-time gamer before he even finishes his unboxing!

Capitalizing on their initial game-in-a-box blockbuster, this new offering from Hunt a Killer LLC allows players to blur the lines between reality and gaming even more. In their new take on the genre, players who purchase the game will receive a kit, delivered to their home, which contains all the clues, suspects and tools to engage in a hunt for a real player of a pseudo-real game of hunting an imaginary killer.

Your adventure begins when you open the box and meet your unsuspecting victim and fellow game enthusiast. The “contents drop” will reveal several pieces of photographic evidence, a cornucopia of personal information, and a list of the hunter’s crimes. In addition, there are intimate photos, non-non-identifying data and crimes for the hunter’s fictitious killer, which you can just throw away.

Your content drop
We actually wont give you any of this crap. Just the email, facebook id and social security number of the “Hunt a Killer” player.

As you dig through the enclosed materials, you will in short time find yourself immersed in a world of detective work, deduction and doxing. Every turn could bring you closer to your unwitting prey or down myriad rabbit holes, including other killers, other hunters or even just players who gave the publishers bad Yelp reviews.

When you finally narrow in on your prey, the adrenaline will rush through your body as you gain valuable proof you are on the right track, including street addresses, family members and access to the killer-hunter’s private home webcams.

Although the game’s victory options vary from entering your winning time on the leader board to posting the unsuspecting victim’s financial data on the Dark Web to SWATting, in then end, what you do with your quarry is completely up to you!

Hunt a Killer, founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 2016, has found great success with its pioneering game-from-the-confort-of-your-own-home business model, and even more success with it’s prey-on-your-own-customers’-naïveté business model. In the coming months, the company plans to widen its array of products with even more self-cannibalizing games and has announced the following titles scheduled for later in 2020:

  • “Hunt Someone Playing Hunt Someone Playing Hunt a Killer”
  • “Hunt Someone Hunting You While You Continue Solving a Pointless Fictional Killer Game”
  • “Hunt Someone Playing Hunt a Killer Legacy”, and
  • “Just Kill!”, which comes in both Co-op and Solo modes.