This is the one hundred seventy-sixth 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.
Our one hundred seventy-sixth random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is ready to race… for family. It’s Love by the Quarter Mile, by Dice Monkey Games (credited to Mark Meredith, with special thanks to PK Sullivan), and its tagline in the bundle reads:
A one-page roleplaying game of fast, furious family.
Family is the only thing that could make a person get furious that fast.
Love by the Quarter Mile is a simple, one-page tabletop role-playing game, that was recently submitted to the TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Florida game jam. The jam ran in November 2022 to raise money for two trans rights charities, Zebra Coalition and Transinclusive Group, Inc., in response to the Florida State Medical Board banning gender-affirming care for trans kids. Come on, Florida. Trans people exist, don’t be dicks about it. There’s a reason everyone hates your state.
Anyway, if you haven’t caught on by now, Love by the Quarter Mile is directly inspired by the Fast & Furious film franchise (abbreviated, presumably, as the FFFF). I was a late comer to the FFFF, skipping over the early films and only starting with Fast Five because my roommates at the time wanted to go see it. Luckily for me, this was roughly when the films stopped trying to be about street racing and just became completely absurd. Everything in the FFFF is solved with cars. Taking down a rival gang? Cars. Smuggling drugs across the United States-Mexico border? Cars (in tunnels). Robbing a bank? Cars. A former secret agent gone rogue, taken control of an abandoned facility containing top-secret military tech, and threatening the world with armageddon? You better believe we’re gonna airdrop some mother*!&$#% cars in there. Who needs actual trained operatives when you’ve got a tight-knit street racing crew? They can do the impossible… because they have family.
As usual, I lack the time or willpower to actually put together a group to play Love by the Quarter Mile, but I have read through its single-page rulebook. And I am pleased to inform you that every character has three stats: Fast, Furious, and Family. These work with a simple dice-based system for overcoming challenges (typically rolled against the GM, who is known here as the “Gear Master”, brilliantly), although players can call in their “tags” which help define their core personality and beliefs for some extra dice when appropriate. Generally speaking, Fast governs racing, which is done in 1-second rounds, for a typical 10-second drag race. Furious is for fighting, with a simple system of accruing “wounds” to determine the loser. And Family governs arguments. I love that verbal arguments are a core component of this game. Perfect.
Naturally, there are also cars. These are almost characters in and of themselves, each with their own tag which can be used for extra dice. Maybe your car has two cans of NOS, or is designed for drifting. Or maybe it used to belong to your brother, before he died tragically in an illegal street race, except you believe it wasn’t really an accident and now you’re working your way up the ranks on the street circuit so you can get close to those responsible and have your revenge. Or, like, maybe it just has a nice engine or something.
There’s not a lot in Love by the Quarter Mile beyond these simple rules. It will be up to players to construct appropriately ridiculous scenarios to play through. I admit that the focus on racing for the Fast stat threw me a little, because by the time I started watching the FFFF there wasn’t any racing anymore, it was more about jumping a car from one skyscraper to another skyscraper. Twice. But I also like the idea of a game that really is about street racing, full of melodrama but a bit more grounded in its premise. Or, I’m sure players could find ways to use the Fast stat when assaulting a secret arctic base using a fleet of sports cars, if that’s more their speed.
I love the concept of Love by the Quarter Mile, but with such a simple ruleset it’s going to need an experienced GM (and, ideally, an experienced group) to get the most out of it. If you have such a group, and you love the bombast of the Fast & Furious film franchise, by all means check it out. And those who aren’t familiar with the franchise, or simply aren’t that into it, can instead play Love by the Quarter Mile as a more serious story about street racers just trying to get by. If you missed it in the bundle, Love by the Quarter Mile is sold for a minimum price of $1.
That’s 176 down, and only 1565 to go!