The year is 2018. The recovery following the Great Recession has been uneven, and retail outlets are under constant threat from online sales. They’re fighting back as best they can – coupons, sales, BOPIS – but one store has gone further.
In a salt mine a thousand feet beneath a mostly empty shopping plaza in Rochester, N.Y., the Sears Advanced Research Projects Agency has made a breakthrough. Led by Dr. Berk Smøps, SARPA has perfected time travel. They’re going to use it to save Sears.
Sears has been teetering on the brink of bankruptcy for a long time. After selling its Craftsman hand tool line to Black & Decker in 2017, and closing down Sears Canada in early 2018, the chain is on the rocks. Maybe spending 20 years and a billion dollars developing a time machine was a mistake. Maybe.
After running calculations on the Sears supercomputer that processes layaways, Dr. Smøps believes that the fate of Sears can be changed by saving one store, at one time. That store is the Sears in the Lunapool Mall in Lunapool, Fl., a suburb of Orlando. Following a disastrous attempt at reorganization in June 2009, the Lunapool Sears closed at great loss in July of that year.
As the inaugural class of Searsonauts, you will be sent back in time to June 2009. You will have to get hired as part of the store’s shake-up, then keep it profitable. It won’t be easy.
Dr. Robin Þicc, the Icelandic genius who helmed SARPA before Berk Smøps, has defected to JC Penney. If you can’t weed out Þicc and the other Penny spies in your midst, the Lunapool Sears will fail, and also JC Penney will have the power to travel anywhere in time.
This game was inspired by a comment Spinycreature made at the end of the Heart of Darkness Pay-per-View (WW #48) about wanting a werewolf game in a low-stakes retail environment. You will still absolutely have to kill each other in this game, though.
I’ll scale the game to fit the number of applicants, but the rough idea is that there will be 16 genuine Sears employees (14 vanilla town, 1 investigator and 1 jailkeeper); 3 Penney Spies (2 vanilla werewolves and Dr. Þicc, who has wolf roleblocker powers); and 1 Unsatisfied Customer (serial killer), who somehow found their way down here in the process of trying to return a slightly used socket set from 2003. They even have the receipt!
The Sears-aligned investigator will be the Manager on Duty. This role will be backfilled from the vanilla town population; if the MOD dies, a new one will be chosen randomly and given the prior investigative results. To make it fair for the wolves, there will be a one-day cool down between the death of an investigator and the ability for the new investigator to read old results or make new queries. This is the same as the detective role in the Snowman game. I promise to definitely probably give the investigator correct results this time.
The game will start Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how busy I am.
Lastly, I should add – for the sake of absolute clarity – that none of the brands involved are endorsing this in any way. Also, the header image is by Brandon Bird, who paints pictures of Searses. He isn’t endorsing this either, but I’m never going to get a better chance to show you all the Sears fan art he did.
- Sic Humor
- D. Goat
- Elliot Thomas
- Jon Hamm’s John Ham
- April Ludgate-Karate-Dwyer
- Dr. Nick
- Mac Crocodile
- Spiny Creature
- Wood Sword
- Colonel Mustard
- Platypus Basileus