The Actual Point of Hit a Dude World Players Guide

At Gen Con, and again at PAX, I released this little game called Hit a Dude — a business card with two rules that mainly existed as a joke to drop in front of game designers to watch them pick it again.[1]

First, a little history

Hit a Dude started out as a joke that was said at Gen Con 2010, the first Gen Con where I had my ridiculous giant, engraved flask. John Harper said I should condense the rules to Mythender down to something that would fit on a flask.

I said “Uh, I dunno. Hit a dude…play passes to the left?” We laughed, and my brain apparently shelved that for later.

For some reason, it came up at NeonCon, when a whole bunch of drunk designers were sitting around #BarCon, when Tiara Agresta glomed onto the idea. I mentioned in email that maybe we should do a thing, but life happened and we never followed up. Then a couple weeks before this past Gen Con, she emailed me a proof on a lark, and I said “okay, make these two changes and I’ll print them up for Gen Con.” She did, I printed and had them shipped to my hotel, and I started handing them out at the Diana Jones Award party.

People laughed and enjoyed it. There was a lot of debating, a little bit of playing, and I watched something I didn’t expect happen: people passed the card as they played — playful jabs with friends, naturally. I wanted to see if people would keep doing that, so I kept handing out cards to people, sometimes in bulk so they would hand them to their friends. Passing the card was an eye-opening experience for me, showing me what happens when you take a ruleset out of pure words and apply them to an object.

Furthering the Joke: World Players Guide

People had told me about ideas for rules variants — again, it’s a game designer’s game. On the way home from Gen Con, I thought it would be hilarious if I collected those up into some sort of supplement. Thus was born the World Players Guide. Mike Selinker insisted that he was a necessary part of the process, and who am I to refute the wisdom of Mike? I asked Logan Bonner[2] to edit it. And Tiara was on-board to do the layout.

The Point of Selling It

There was a thought about giving it away for free, because as funny as it was to say “yeah, I have a pay-for supplement for Hit a Dude,” I didn’t really have any expectations and thought maybe that would take the joke too far. But in talking with a couple friends, they suggested the idea that it was more of a pledge drive for me, my blog & my little projects than selling a supplement. I went forward, released the supplement, & priced it at $3.50 because it’s a donation to me more than it is a product on its own.

However, this is the first time I’m being open about “so, if you want to support ‘actual’ games from me or have gotten use out of my blog, consider buying it.” I’m always experimenting, and sometimes that means holding back data to see what happens. I’m about learning how many facets of this world work. (Of course, there will always be those who don’t like the joke revealed. Apologize to those folks, but I’m all about revealing the man behind the curtain…eventually.)


If you want to support me making actual little games, or have gotten use out of my blog, consider that buying the World Players Guide is like donating to me, where you get something out of it. It’s my version of an NPR tote bag.


If you find the idea totally objectionable, as some do, please keep talking about it. That seems to sell copies of things. Which then gives me money to make little games and other things that you’d actually like. :D


In spite of saying it’s the World Players Guide Volume 1/Issue 1, I probably won’t do another. The numbering is part of the joke. :) I made a silly thing that people can buy to help support me, and now I got back to making, uh, different silly things that people can actually play.

– Ryan

[1] Since then, it’s gotten some “I want to be offended now” bullshit by those who take life too seriously. Which, honestly, just helps Hit a Dude’s SEO. So yay Internet. Stricken. See comment below.

[2] Who later betrayed me with his apocryphal “Strike a Gentleman”


4 Responses to The Actual Point of Hit a Dude World Players Guide

  1. Colin says:

    You’ll note that the hate review you got on DTRPG is from a guy who regretted spending a buck on “Sea Dracula”. I have to suspect it is itself a joke, or that the reviewer is just plain evil. No person with even a glimmer of goodness in their heart would actually be upset about dropping a single George on, of all things, “Sea Dracula” – the greatest dancing animal lawyer game ever written.

    Anyway, is there any chance that you’ll make the original cards available?

    • Ryan Macklin says:


      Yeah, I’m going to err on that being a brilliant piece of satirical reviewing. I mean, if the guy _actually_ things that spending a dollar on something that became free is a crime, well, hey, people on the Internet are crazy all the time. :) (And I’m still comfortable with taking his $3.50 in that case.)

      Re the cards: I’ve thought about packaging them and selling blocks to people. Mainly because that amuses me. But for now, it’s just something you can get from me, Tiara, or people who give blocks of cards to at conventions.

      – Ryan

  2. Warturtle says:

    “Since then, it’s gotten some “I want to be offended now” bullshit by those who take life too seriously.”

    the one person i saw get offended was a domestic violence victim, but if you want to characterize her that way…

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      I thought about just canning this reply, because I like to keep my personal sandbox all shiny and zen, but instead, I’ll get all serious. The response you mention I haven’t seen. I did see one by a guy I called friend who took a lengthy email exchange and turned it into blog fodder — which was pretty fucking lame. (One that was just about observations would be one thing, but to talk with me and then do that was pretty low. Thus the rather upset/angry footnote.)

      I’m also a domestic violence survivor. So is my mom. Several of my closest friends are assault survivors. I showed many of them the Hit a Dude mock-up before I actually pulled the trigger. I was cheered on.

      I’m sorry that this is a trigger for people, and I’ll retract that statement. I am still pretty annoyed at what I thought was a trusted conversation turning into public material, but that’s the Internet for you.

      – Ryan