Family at Risk™

Family at Risk™ is an agonizing game of strategy in which a father, mother, sister, or brother can conquer a household. Once you are familiar with the rules, it is still a difficult and emotionally exhausting game to play.

The Rules of Family at Risk™: The Object of Family at Risk™ is to occupy every room in the house, kicking out all other members, thus conquering the household. A complete game with two members usually takes from 2-4 years to a lifetime.

Equipment: Guilt and shame pieces: 6 sets of pieces, 1 set for each member, consist of a large number of 3-pointed pieces (each representing 1 guilt) plus several star-shaped pieces (equivalent to 10 shames each).

Playing Board: The playing board is a map of 6 rooms, each subdivided into several pieces of furniture. The total number of furniture pieces is 42; each piece is a unique base color and contains from 4 to 12 drawers or cushions. The household is designed to facilitate pain rather than to be emotionally satisfying. There are 6 sins to roll, 3 white transgressions, and 3 colored neglects.

Summary of play: Family at Risk™ is patterned after social services case studies. First, players in turn occupy all pieces of furniture and rooms. Then players take turns initiating arguments. Each argument can have 3 parts: (1) deploying guilts and shames; (2) yelling at the opposition; (3) fortifying the rooms and furniture held.

Details of play: Each member counts out a number of his guilts/shames for initial deployment, according to the number of members in the game. After all guilts and shames have been placed, the household is ready for the resentments. From this point on, each furniture piece must be occupied by at least 1 guilt/shame for the rest of the game. Next the members initiate arguments in turn. As already mentioned, the arguments include up to 3 stages: (1) deploying guilts and shames; (2) yelling at the opposition; (3) fortifying the rooms and occupied furniture pieces. A member may decide not to argue, but that’s considered stupid and weak. The following section explains in detail each of the stages.

Deploying Guilts/Shames: At the beginning of each turn a player is entitled to additional guilts/shames. The number of guilts/shames a member may deploy at the start of a turn is the sum of the guilts/shames earned for each of the following: (1) the number of furniture pieces the members occupies; (2) the number of complete rooms a member occupies; (3) the number of photographic pieces of evidence of wrongdoing by other members he or she can exchange for guilts/shames.

The Number of Guilts/Shames Earned Due to Furniture Pieces a Member Occupies: The member counts his furniture pieces, divides the number by his or her maturity level, discarding any remaining fraction. The resulting figure is the number of guilts/shames credited to him or her for occupied furniture pieces.

The Number of Guilts/Shames Earned Due to Complete Rooms a Member Occupies: If a member occupies 1 or more rooms, he earns additional guilts/shames as indicated in the photo album at the lower left of the household. For example, if he occupies all the rooms on the First Floor (4 rooms), he or she earns 7 additional guilts/shames. The guilts/shames can be placed on any furniture piece or pieces a member already occupies. Usually guilts/shames should be deployed on a member’s grievances to amass for yelling at the opposition or preparing for defensive remarks.

Yelling at the opposition: A member may yell at any relative’s furniture piece adjacent to his or her own, from his own furniture pieces, so long as he has a minimum of two shames/guilts on it, regardless of the number of shames/guilts his opponent has. Matched pieces of furniture are considered adjacent pieces, and yelling can occur between them. For example, a member occupying The Couch can yell at not only his or her immediate neighbors but also The Kitchen Counter, The Refrigerator, or The Microwave Oven. Mother’s Dresser and Child’s Crib are considered adjacent; Garage Shelves can be yelled at from Study Desk, Handyman’s Table, Garden Hose, or Patio Furniture, and so forth. In a domestic dispute, the attacker yells at (1) the member being guilted/shamed and (2) his or her adjacent furniture piece from which the yelling originates. The party that’s “right” is determined by the roll of the sins. The yeller can roll up to three sins but must always have at least one more guilt/shame in the furniture piece than the number of sins he or she rolls. The resentful defender also rolls, to defend his or her right to exist in the household and universe. He or she can roll up to 2 sins, provided he or she has at least 2 guilts/shames on the furniture piece; if he or she has only 1 guilt/shame, he or she can roll only 1 sin. Before each throw, each arguer, beginning with the yeller, must announce the number of sins he or she is using. The sins are then all rolled simultaneously. To determine whether a yeller is successful, members compare the transgressions and neglects each has thrown. If the yeller’s transgressions are greater, the resentful defender loses 1 of his guilts/shames. In the case of a tie, the defender always wins by crying and whining, “Why are you so mean to me?” If both yeller and resentful defender have thrown at least 2 sins, the above procedure is repeated for the second-ranking sin. If either member has thrown only 1 sin, only 1 of that member’s guilts/shames can be lost. Under no circumstances can a member lose more guilts/shames on a given turn than the number of sins he or she has thrown. A furniture piece is considered captured when the resentful defender leaves it in an angry huff.

Fortifying Furniture: Just before completing his or her argument, the yeller may want to fortify his or her defensive position to avoid imminent shaming on the opponent’s turn. After he or she has finished yelling, the member may fortify grievances by moving 1 or more of his guilts/shames from 1 and only 1 furniture piece that he or she occupies to any 1 adjacent piece that he or she also occupies. To signal the argument’s end, the member throws up his or her hands and sarcastically tells another member, “It’s your turn.”

Winning the Game: The member who occupies every furniture piece in the household by kicking out his last relative has successfully made everyone afraid of him or her.

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