Game Preparation Add-ons
Some optional rules that change the way the Game Preparation Phase is
Additional Coin Refreshment Before First Scene
Submitted by Roy
In the core rules,
Refreshment occurs at the end of a scene and before the next scene begins.
This means that there is no Refreshment before the first scene.
Players begin the first scene with whatever Coins they have remaining
after the Game Preparation phase (Chapter 2).
With this Gimmick, groups can allow a standard Refresh before the very
first scene of a game to give everyone a few more Coins to start actual
Instead of a standard Refresh, reset each player’s Wealth
back to its starting value (25 Coins is the default) before the first
scene. This will encourage players to really spend Coins to add
additional detail to the setting during the Game Preparation Phase since
any Coins not spent then are wasted since everyone will be reset back to
Coins refresh to 25 before the first scene is
bid on (applies to the first session only).
In the core rules the starting Wealth for each player is set before the
Game Preparation phase (Chapter 2). The default is Refreshment
----I really like this one and intend to use it for
my own games, Ralph.
Setting Creation Phase
Submitted by Mike
After the normal Game Preparation
Phase, but before the first scene is framed, insert a new special
Setting Creation Phase. Give
each player a separate pool of 25 Coins (or more if you like) just for
this phase. During this phase only setting information can be generated. This
includes, but is not limited to, declaring Tenets that relate to the
setting, Creating Components that exist within the setting, and
establishing a variety of Facts related to historical
events. Anything is possible really, as long
as the player can rationalize it as setting development (and the other
players do not challenge). The phase will continue until all players have
either spent all of their Coins, or until all players pass (or the phase can be
extended at that point with a new gimmick). At which point any unspent coins
are returned to the Bank.
Use this Add-on for a game that emphasizes a
more developed setting before play begins. This is a more involved
version of Roy's Coin refreshing Add-on above.
One can also insert separate special phases to address characters,
or to develop a detailed situation or premise. Whatever you think needs
Serial Game Structure
Submitted by Roy
Declare that a game is to be part of an ongoing series of sessions.
Players are required to leave at least one plot thread dangling to be
picked up at the start of the next session.
I use this Rules Gimmick to add a serial structure to a campaign game of
Universalis. It's really just a reminder to make sure we leave a
plot thread dangling so we have something to look forward to next session.
Submitted by Mike
These Gimmicks can be established at any time, but are
least disruptive to institute during the Game Preparation phase.
Essentially, a player may be designated with a title and certain
responsibilities for which he receives some scheduled remuneration in
The game pays the player Coins from the Bank to
perform certain duties. The payment can be received on a per scene
basis; or, for multi-session games, at the beginning or end of each
session. It can be on a "per item produced" basis, or
any other schedule of payment. The amount and timing should be well
designated as well as the nature of the duties. Gimmicks can also be
instituted, of course, to terminate any such contract between a player
and the game.
Some sample jobs:
- Record keeper - Potentially onerous
depending on the speed of play, this player is responsible for
taking notes on the game. He records all Components created, all
their Traits, and all Facts, and organizes their presentation so
that he can recount details when necessary. Having one player do all
this (as opposed to each player making his own notes) makes
recalling records easier, and frees the other players from note
taking leaving them less distracted.
- Librarian - often the same player as the
record keeper if there is one, this player is responsible for
keeping all notes between sessions of play. If there is no sole
record keeper, he collects the notes from each player. The downside
to the librarian is that he must be present at every session, or
have his archive accessible for play. Else play is very difficult.
- Illustrator - players can sell articles of
art created during the game or between sessions to the game on a
"freelance" basis. Truly gifted artists might be able to
do a running account in which case they could be paid per scene,
- Journal Writer - between sessions a player
can write the reflections of a character into a fictional journal
entry. These can be submitted like art for payment.
- Disc Jockey - a player can be paid to act as
DJ for a session, ensuring that a constant supply of appropriate
music (or sound effects) is provided. Discuss well with the group
what music is appropriate before hiring a DJ, and promptly fire a DJ
that gets out of hand.
- Host - consider paying the host of the
session a fee to account for the problems associated with having the
- Caterer - similar to the host, payment can
be assigned for food brought to share.
- Prop Master - players can be paid for
creation of interesting and evocative props.
Submitted by Ralph Mazza
Over the course of many games, one of the most
frequently forgotten rules is the rule that limits a player to Proposing
only one Tenet on their turn. This rule was designed to make sure
that all players had an equal opportunity to set the Tenets for the game
by limiting each player to just a single idea at a time. As it turns
out some ideas require more than 1 Tenet to express properly (especially
Story Elements involving adding Traits to Components) and so its become
commonplace in many groups to allow players to introduce multiple Tenets
on their turn so long as they’re all related to the same basic idea
Submitted by Adam Kelly
Discussed in This
Thread, this is one of those clever ideas I wish I'd thought of
myself. Its ideal to use for an experienced Uni player to use
when teaching the game to a new group and makes a fantastic way to
give focus to one shot convention play.
experienced player (or the one hosting the convention game) comes to
the table with a single Component already Created. That
Component has a largely ambiguous name or role Trait plus 1 other
Trait which, while equally ambiguous, serves as a call to
action. This Component is then presented at the beginning of the
Game Prep phase, introduced as the first Tenet.
the above thread the Component was named Orion. A perfect
choice. It could be a man's name, or a woman's, or the code name
of a secret government agency, a constellation, a mythological
character, or an entire planet. What exactly it is, is left
unsaid it serves as a creative seed for the other players and their
efforts to define it is what will give the game focus. This
gimmick was used at several different tables and in each Orion was
something different. In one it was a ship carrying the last
remnants of humanity, in another a teacher in a school beset by
zombies (of course, there are always zombies), and in another Orion
was a political party seeking equality for wingless faeries.
second Trait Orion had was the equally effective "needs to be
rescued". A specific call to action where the specifics
(why, from whom or what) are left open. Other Traits could also
be effective such as "On a mission from God", or
"seeking Vengeance", or just simply "Searching".