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Beard Tax

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Captain Nemo
Joined: 05/03/2014

I wasn't really sure where to post this so hopefully this is the correct spot. I am way past just the idea stage, I'm getting ready to play test my newest changes..

************* Beard Tax **************

This is a party game somewhat similar to Apples to Apples, Snake Oil, and Storytelling with the addition of custom Image Creation and Bluffing.

162 Word cards (double sided?)
36 Background cards (double sided?)
50 Character Component cards (clear)
12 Beard Token replicas (6 Honest & 6 Cheat'n)

Story Telling
Hand Management
Simultaneous Action Selection
Composite Overlaying? (What would you call stacking clear cards to create a picture)

In September of 1698, upon returning from a grand tour of Western Europe, Tsar Peter I of Russia implemented a tax on beards. The Tsar had been thoroughly impressed by the European customs which he viewed as modern and superior to the current Russian way of life. Among these many customs, European men were clean-shaven. 

All Russian men who wanted to keep their facial hair were forced to pay an annual tax. Once payment had been received the tax payer was given a dated coin that stated "Money is taken" (“Деньги взяты“). This token, which was carried at all times, was their proof that they had in fact paid the Beard Tax.

Flash forward to a not so distant future… 
With ever-growing governmental deficits across the globe, sovereign countries began to look for other ways to create a little extra income. That's when the Beard Tax became popular again. Around the world taxation on facial hair began to spring up much to the dismay of bearded peoples everywhere. 

Historically speaking with taxation comes excuses and cheating….
and that is what the game of Beard Tax is all about!

The Setup:

Each player starts the game with 7 Image Parts Cards.
(This class of card consists of regular printed background image cards and clear plastic cards with images printed on them. By overlaying the clear cards on top of each other and a background card, players can create a custom character with customized facial hair in a scene to base their story off of.)

Each player grabs an "Honest Tax Token" and randomly draws one "Cheat'n Tax Token."
(Both of these tokens have the same face but different backs. One is legitimate while the other is fake. The fake one has a number on it.)

The Game Play:

One player is chosen as the "Tax Man" and draws a card from the Story card pile. This word is the subject of this year's new tax exemption.
(Similar to the green card from Apples to Apples or the customer card from Snake Oil)

Once the exemption category (word) has been announced players draw 5 Story Cards (words from a communal deck in a fashion similar to Apples to Apples or Snake Oil).

Each player combines clear cards from their hand of Image Part Cards to piece together a crazy/wacky character set in a picturesque composite scene. The goal being to create an interesting image to combine with at least two words from their Story Cards hand. Players will base their exemption excuse (story) off of  the combination of both their image and word cards.

Going clockwise around the table, players lay down their character scenes in a row. Creating a left to right linear layout numbering each character.

Players then take turns telling their excuse (story) as to why they shouldn't have to pay their beard tax this year.

After all players have told their tale the voting commences. (In both Apples to Apples and Snake Oil one person decides but in this game we are democratic… sort of… ) Each player votes twice by placing their two tax tokens on top of the characters that they think SHOULD have to Pay Taxes. Either placing each token on a different character or both tokens on the same character. So whoever told the best story would most likely be the one with the least number of tax tokens on their composite character card. In a perfect world the best exemption story would have no tax tokens on it.

Obviously this is where the Cheat'n part of the game comes into play. no one knows just who exactly each player really is. Nor do they know which tokens are Honest or Cheat'n. At this point players have the opportunity to call one another out and take a Beard Audit of another character. But they must be careful because if they are wrong they lose the round and points are awarded to the other player.

The Reveal:

After all voting/audit requests have been placed each player reveals what the number on their "Cheat'n Tax Token" was and that determines the player's identity for this round.

In other words if I was the second person to tell a story about my composite character but the number on my cheating token was #4. I am really #4 in the game. I really want #4 to pay the least amount of taxes. However I also want my story to get the least amount of "Honest Tax Tokens" placed on it too.

I'm still working out the scoring system. But basically if you stink at telling stories or you are terrible at bluffing you can still win this game.

Production Notes:
I am not sharing every little thing about this game at the moment as I am still trying to determine the price of such a game. I already have a few artists busy at work so once I have something to show I'll post it up.

As for visual style this is the look I am going for:

These drawings were done by illustrator Mike McCarthy, who is known for his work on the Fable video games. I wish I could afford him but I doubt thats even really an option.

Thoughts… Comments Welcome….

Greggatron's picture
Joined: 04/21/2012
I like the theme. I will have

I like the theme. I will have to read through it tonight when not on my phone. This instantly made me think of the beard trustworthiness scale.

Hilarious chart, google it if you haven't seen it before.

Captain Nemo
Joined: 05/03/2014
Yes! The beard trustworthy

Yes! The beard trustworthy scale is hilarious. Great stuff.
I'm glad you think the theme is solid. Do a quick search on beard tokens to get an idea of what the coin looks like. I will post up soMe photos of mine later. Of course being new here I hesitated to share but I figure I'm so far on this one if some one try's to steal it I'll be ok legally.

Let me know if this game description is making since to you. I've been noodling with this one for so long I'm afraid I can't explain the forest for the trees.

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