Actual Play – The Plastic Cup (9/2/2017)

GM: Lizzie Stark
Players: Alex Roberts, Kristin Firth, Gavin White, James Stuart, Fiona Heckscher, Liz Gorinsky, Sarah Williams, Karen Twelves, Ross Cowman, Andy Morales Coto, and many other wonderful relatives.
System: The Plastic Cup, by Juhana Pettersson.

Synopsis: The participants are an extended family coming together to divide an inheritance left behind by an old great-aunt. The game uses ceramic coffee cups as the principal means of expression for the players: they shatter the cups on the ground. There are 200 cups, ten for each player.

Yep, we had 200 coffee cups, one list of estate items, and twenty family members (and in my case, just the yogo instructor of family members) arguing over who should get what.

My pinnacle moment in the game was when the executor of the will got so flustered by his family that he gave me the list of items because to give out in his stead. Being the person who got to tell everyone what they should do and have them all suck up to me was my goal, so in that regard the character was very successful.

But the game wasn’t about that. It was about our weird attachment to material things and how they serve as stand ins for status or as symbols of our relationships with others. And sometimes how the symbol can become more important than the thing it represents.

The Cups

And of course there were the cups, 200 pristine coffee cups that any one could pick up and shatter on the ground any time their character felt a strong emotion. This was an entirely meta action, it didn’t happen in the fiction, and was just a way to show that our characters were feeling something strongly (good or bad). Here’s a few shots of the destruction.

Not the first to play this game?

Later during the weekend, I was exploring the shed and I found this. It appears we’re the first one to shatter some ceramics.

This game was a delight to play. The adrenaline rush of breaking all those cups was palpable and the petty squabbles were amazing. My favorite moment was when Alex was ranting (I think about her derelict son played by Jason) and Ross just kept handing her cups which she would smash. The rapid fire succession of cups shattering was an fantastic display of her anger in the moment!