Coffee Shop Screenwriter
Coffee Shop Screenwriter is a story-telling role-playing game for one or more players. Each player takes the role of the screenwriter as they’re frantically trying to write an original screenplay whilst sitting in a coffee shop.
By the end of the game you will have come up with an idea for a screenplay, whilst also developing the character of your screenwriter and discovering more about the coffee shop you’re writing from.
Coffee Shop Screenwriter is a great group game but can also be played solo. An average game will last between one and two hours.
The Screenplay Beats your character is following are also used by professional Hollywood screenwriters, so if you are feeling really adventurous you could use this game to actually write a feature-length screenplay.
You are an unsuccessful screenwriter who needs to send your latest screenplay to your agent by the end of the day. Unfortunately you haven’t written it yet and you didn’t sleep last night so, in a desperate final attempt, you go to your favourite coffee shop to write, in the hope that caffeine will make you more creative.
Your writing ability is directly affected by the level of caffeine in your system. When you’re full of caffeine you’re able to come up with original ideas and draw on your life experience in creative ways but when you’re running low on caffeine you resort to stealing ideas from other movies you’ve seen or you even just look around the coffee shop and draw ideas from what you can see around you.
You’ll use one die to keep track of how much money you have and one die to keep track of your Caffeine Level. Your Caffeine Level goes down each turn but you’re also able to buy coffee to increase your Caffeine Level.
The number on the caffeine die affects where you can draw inspiration from:
You’re on top of your game and can literally come up with anything you put your mind to. Draw a little lightning bolt next to your original idea on the Screenplay sheet to remind you of the time that you were struck by a bolt of true inspiration. You’re a genius!
You use an element of your real life as a source of inspiration. It can be something from your current life, a past experience (maybe something that happened last night), or a hope for the future. Add the real life experience to your Character Sheet. You’re a sensitive poet.
You take another movie as inspiration and change it just a little bit so that your agent won’t recognise it. Add the title of the movie to your Movie List. If it’s more similar to one of the movies your screenwriter loves draw a heart next to it. If it’s more similar to one of the movies your screenwriter hates draw an Xnext to it. You could also use a movie that’s already on the list as inspiration, if you do then draw a heart next to it. This serves as a reminder of your influences at the end of the game. You’re a hack.
The Coffee Shop
You’re tired as can be and can only muster up enough energy to look around you. What or who do you see in the coffee shop? Maybe it’s a couple having a conversation. Maybe it’s art on the wall. Maybe it’s a dog quietly peeing in the corner. Maybe it’s something you see happening outside the window. Use what you see as your inspiration and then write or draw it on the Coffee Shop Sheet. If you’re using something that’s already there as inspiration then draw a heart next to it to show that it’s been used more than once. You’re too tired and need more coffee.
Player Count: 1 or more
Game Length: 1 to 2 hours
Pages: 22 (including 5 pages of easy-to-read instructions)
Additional Materials: You will need two six-sided dice and a pen or pencil
Designer: William Long www.longfilms.co.uk
“Many moments made me laugh aloud… If you’ve ever wanted to write a script, this is your shot at the big time.”
Australian Tabletop Gaming Network
“Coffee Shop Screenwriter is an interesting and innovative game. It’s playing with metanarrative in a way that few other games do.”