This is the eighty-fifth entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.
There’s a goddamn bear and it wants to eat you.
I have no further comment.
As you can see in the header image, Exit, Pursued By a Bear requires a jenga tower and 1-6 other people to play. I do not have either of these things, so I am unable to actually play it. But I can read through it and tell you what I think. Which was a particularly easy task, since Exit, Pursued By a Bear is a very simple game. Its rules are outlined on a single page, and there’s a very real risk that my description will be enough for readers to play it, without ever even reading the rulesheet. Exit, Pursued By a Bear narrowly avoids this fate by providing a set (actually, two sets) of humorous prompts, which I will endeavor not to spoil.
Each player must tell everyone what they were doing before the bear attacked, which is where these humorous prompts come in. Anyone having trouble imagining a scenario can refer to a helpful table with options for mundane activities ripe for bear-based interruption. There are actually two versions of the rulesheet, one with prompts for adults — nothing explicit, just things adults do, like buying groceries — and a second with prompts for younger players, who have yet to experience the joys of grocery shopping or other exciting bits of adult life. Each player must choose one of these prompts or invent their own, so everyone knows what everyone else was doing before the bear attacked. They do not need to be in the same place; there can be multiple bears. Then, the first player must narrate how they plan to evade the bear attack, and then draws a block from the jenga tower, as per normal jenga rules. If this player manages to place their block atop the tower without toppling it, then their evasion attempt was successful… for now. The next player must now follow suit, with their own narration of bear evasion. If a player topples the tower, then their escape attempt failed and they are eaten by the bear, and must narrate how this occurs. The other players successful escape.
To quote the itch.io page for the game, “That’s it. That’s the whole game.” It should be clear that Exit, Pursued By a Bear is aiming for a humorous tone, and will be most successful if players are happy to lean into comic improvisation in their stories. Make each attempt at evasion ever more absurd and amusing, and it’s likely to be a good time all around. One detail I enjoyed is that the active player is always referred to as Leonardo DiCaprio, a reference to the infamous bear attack scene from the film The Revenant. Will Leonardo DiCaprio escape the bear? Only you can decide. Or rather, only the jenga tower can decide, but you can make the ordeal as entertaining as possible.
There’s not much else to say about this one. It should play quick and create a lot of laughter if played with a like-minded group. If that sounds like fun, definitely give Exit, Pursued By a Bear a look. If you missed it in the bundle, it’s sold for a minimum price of $5 in PDF form, and a printed version can be purchased here.
That’s 85 down, and only 1656 to go!