Playing Tranquil Vale
Tranquil Vale is the most miserable town in the country. The aim is simply to survive this barren hellhole.
Each player plays an ordinary suburban character, such as a pensioner, mechanic or a single parent.
Players are assigned a number of smiley-face Mood Tokens, which denote their character's mood: the more tokens they have, the happier their characters are.
The characters must go about their daily chores, which involve moving to a
location on the board, and undertaking some task there.
The maximum distance a character can move is determine by its mood tokens: one square per token.
Characters who cannot make it to their chores location have two options: either they lose one token, as their moods worsen through a lack of human contact; or, to avoid this calamity, they stop en route by another character for a chat.
Chats revolve around local news. One player reads out a News Card, which describes a story that recently occurred in the town, and the two of them discuss it in character
Players not involved watch, listen, and judge. The judging criteria is entirely up to them. Humour, characterisation, mood, subject matter, all these and more can be used. Judges can be as biased or objective, and as cruel or kind as they like.
The loser is then forced to give one of her tokens to her opponent.
Characters without tokens must die, which is the end of the character's game, but perhaps not the player's, as she may simply start again with a new character.
Life is hard, but in the final reckoning players will be judged on how buoyant they manage to keep their characters, in the unending drudgery that is Tranquil Vale.