Reel Adventures

Hi guys,

Indy Rich invited me along to the wiki and I was hoping that you guys could help out with playtesting this project. The game is almost done, I think, and this is the last version I hope to put out to playtesters such as your goodselves. Comments made in italics are new rules, comments and notes from the previous version and should be paid particular attention to. The text is copied straight from the book as much as I could. Some of the examples are not finished yet and I am working on some more visual examples of play. These will get added as soon as I can get round to them.

I have added the character sheets and the pdf version of the rules to the bottom of the wiki. I apologise for my weak wiki fu.


Welcome to ‘Reel Adventures’ a game where you can survive a hail of bullets, kick the ass of an army of bad guys using only a baseball bat and defeat the vilest of villains with one hand tied behind your back (literally). Getting the girl, saving the world and standing tall for truth and justice are all in days work for you and your buddies.

From the pyramids of Egypt to the depths of space your heroes’ stories will be told. There will be explosions, tears, arguments, fights, friendships made and broken, mystical weapons found and lost, guns fired, shots taken, lives saved and sacrifices made.

I cannot tell you what will befall your group but of one thing I can be certain. You are heroes. You stand in the light when the world falls into darkness! You take on the job that no one else can or will and by god you are going to look good doing it!

‘Reel Adventures’ is a cooperative game for 2-4 players about action heroes and the tales they carve in our psyche. Over a series of scenes a film will emerge and each player will take on the role of a character in that story. Most of the players will take on the roles of heroes but one will adopt the mantle of the nemesis in our story.

Before we get to the actual rules you will need to get some things together:

A number of players from 2 – 4, one of whom is going to represent the nemesis in the film, the others whom will become the forces of good.

Increase number of players if I can make Henchmen work as playable characters. Anyone got any ideas how to make that work?

A deck of playing cards with the jokers removed. For the purposes of this game all players should be aware that card value is the most important thing. Numbered cards are worth their value and J,Q,K and Ace are worth 11, 12 ,13 and 14 respectfully.

Do I need to include this explanation?

Pencils for each player.

Bunch of counters. I like to use poker chips, but coins, dice or anything else will do. If you don’t have anything to hand you can just use pencil marks instead.

One copy of the ‘Call to Action’ for each hero, and one copy of the ‘Diabolical Plan’ for the nemesis. You also need a copy of the script sheet for all players to use. All of these can be found at the back of the book.

You can also find all these sheets on our website


Depending on whether you have chosen to be a hero or the nemesis, your role in the game will be a little different.


On the side of good your job as a player is as follows:

To take a turn each round at directing a scene
To offer ideas to other players when it is their turn to direct
To take on minor roles in other players’ scenes as required.
To take on the role of one of the main characters in the film.

As heroes you must throw yourself into action, be willing to sacrifice your very lives for the good of others and never let evil get its way.


On the side of evil, your job as a player is as follows:

To offer ideas to other players when it is their turn to direct.
To take on minor roles in other players’ scenes as required, and to play the principal opposition in any scene.
To take on the role of the nemesis of the film.
To create obstacles that the heroes can overcome.

If you want to play the nemesis you must be willing to push, manipulate and stress your fellow players as much as you can. Really relish the opportunity to be a villain and don't hold back ever!

Pitch it to me!
So now you have an idea of the roles you want to play in the film it is time to pitch it to a studio.

The heroes take on the role of writers and the nemesis is the studio they pitching it for.

During the pitch session the writers need to sell the idea for their film to the studio whilst accommodating some of the studios suggestions. This should take the form of a back and forth between the two sides and cover:

1)The basic idea behind the film, the plot
2)Who the heroes are, what motivates them, what skills do they show off and who will they be played by
3)and the nemesis are and who will they be played by.
4)Some basic scene ideas they imagine being in it.

As the pitch takes shape you should note down the information you get from it on the trailer section of the script sheet and the call sheets for each hero and the nemesis.

This would replace the trailer section below.


Now you have everything you need to shoot your film, and a basic idea of the roles everyone is going to play, it is time to get going. You will see at the top of the script sheet is a space for you to make some notes on the trailer for the film. The trailer for a film is only 3 or 4 minutes long but in that time it has to entice the audience into watching the film. You should try and answer the following questions and stick them in the trailer section of your film:

  1. What sort of action film is it? Bond? Die Hard? Fantasy? Modern Day?
  2. Who is going to be the threat? What is his name and what is he doing? If he is not named in the trailer what sort of impression are we given of the obstacles in the hero's way.
  3. Who are the heroes going to be? What are their names and motivations for going up against the nemesis?
  4. Are there any particular scenes that appear in the trailer that sum the film up?

Example: Iain, Cath and Ross are playing Reel Adventures and have gathered all the bits and pieces they need to play the game. They start to chat about the kind of game they want to play and decide they want a Piratical game, called ''".


The answers to questions 2 and 3 should be used to fill out some of the information on the Diabolical Plan and the Call to Action sheet respectfully.

Diabolical Plan

Question 2 should give you some idea of who the nemesis is and what his evil plot should be about, as well as fleshing out his background a little.


Possible addition (1): The nemesis also gets a free resource like the heroes. He gets 3 levels of resource and these can be put anywhere on his sheet.

Remember when filling these early details out that although the players may know details of plot and background the characters in the story don’t necessarily have access to the same knowledge.

Call Sheet

Question 3 should allow you to fill out some of the information on each call sheet.

First of all we should give your character a name if it is revealed in the trailer. Just go with whatever you feel happy with, take inspiration from your favourite books and films but whatever you do don't let it take forever.

Example: Cath's character is named during the film as Molly Rightway and so she adds that to her Call Sheet.

After choosing a name we need to give your hero a bit of background. What connection does he have to the film, what is his job, relationships etc. Write some details of this background in the space provided on the Call sheet.

Example: Molly is revealed as a feisty barmaid in the trailer but with a sort of tomboyish interest in sword fighting and ships. Cath adds the background details 'Tomboy', 'Feisty Barmaid' and 'Can hold her own in a fight and on ship'. She could phrase this as a full blown description if she wanted to.

Next you choose a resource for your character. Resources are the things that define your characters abilities to the audience either as a skill, piece of equipment or some defining aspect of their personality.

Write down the resource in one of the spaces provided on your character sheet. You will see some boxes marked impact beside the resource, which will be used during play to keep track of when the resource has been used. We will cover this in more detail later.

Example:During the trailer Cath's character is shown despatching goons with a very fancy looking cutlass. She adds 'My Father's Cutlass' to her resources.

There is one last thing we need to know about each hero before we begin our film. The audience needs to know why they should care about these people, why they should cheer for them rather than their enemies. Every hero has a stake that is defined during the trailer and drives them to win the day.

Example: Cath's character is also shown looking longingly at the male lead, there are moments of romance amongst the fighting. She writes down her stake as 'Get him to love me'.

Beside the stake is a box marked danger. This is a measure of the likelihood of the hero having a happy ending after the bullets have stopped flying: the higher the danger, the more likely it is that things will not come out well.

If you feel it necessary you can give your film a rating, ensuring that everyone round the table knows the kind of thing you do or do not want in your game. You can describe this in words 'No sex scenes' or in a rating system you are all familiar with like U, PG, 12, 15 or 18 for the BBFC system.

If you have a look at Appendix A, there is some information on classification systems for the UK and the US and their meaning.

Right now we can actually get into the action, using the things we have decided in the trailer to guide our script.

Our film will be told over a series of scenes with each player with a hero character taking it in turn to direct a scene. The nemesis directs the occasional scene but will mostly be getting in the hero's way during their scenes, throwing obstacles in their way and trying to make his diabolical plan come to fruition.


The film takes over a number of acts, each of which contain particular parts of our story:

Act 1: Where the heroes are introduced, the story begins and the nemesis sets his plans in motion.

Act 2: Where the heroes gather their forces and discover what the nemesis is up to.

Act 3: Where the nemesis’ plans come to fruition and they openly attack the heroes.

Finale: Where the nemesis is confronted and defeated.


Before the first act begins we have a scene called the establishing shot. This allows the audience to relax into the film and get a feel for the film.

This scene should be a collaborative effort amongst the players to set the film up well. Maybe it is before the credits, maybe it is after, perhaps it contains some action or maybe it is just colour. Whatever the establishment shot is, relax, have fun with it and connect with your characters.

Once you are done with the establishing shot, you get into the film proper and the heroes take it in turns to direct scenes.


Every hero's turn has the same basic structure:

1) Increase Threat & Danger
2) Set the Scene
3) Shoot!
4) Wrap!

Let’s go through these steps 1 by 1.

Increase Threat

At the start of each player's scene the threat to the characters increases as the plot flows towards its inevitable finale. Threat is used by the nemesis during his turn to affect the plot and the characters.

At the start of every turn you give the nemesis player an amount of threat depending on what act of the film we are in.

Act Number Threat given per scene
1 1
2 2
3 3
Finale 0

This information is also summarised on the script sheet.

Example: Visual

Threat and Acts
The number of scenes in a given game is guided by the structure of the film, p.xx, and the level of threat accumulated over the course of the film.

The players will know when to move between acts by keeping track of the total threat.

Act 2 = 2 x the number of heroes
Act 3 = 5 x the number of heroes
Finale = 8 x the number of heroes

These formulas are summarised on the Script.

Increase Danger
At the start of each act, including the first one, the danger to each hero's stake increases by 1. This represents the threat in the film starting to impact on the hero's personal lives.


Set the Scene

Now that the nemesis has been paid his due, it is time for you to tell us where this scene is going to take place, who is there and how the other players are going to be involved. You should try and describe the following when directing your scene:

1)Where is it taking place? Describe the location as best you can: what it looks like, what the weather is like etc. what sort of shots are we seeing? Try to think of your favourite films and how they establish their scenes.

2)Who else is there? Is there some opposition obvious at the start of the scene? Are there people milling about? Are there any other heroes in the scene or other characters that you would like the other players to take on.

3)What is the direction of your scene, what do you see happening during it? Sometimes you may have no idea what you want at the start of a scene but if you do you should make sure everyone is on the same page.

You will notice that the above questions imply that you should involve the other player when you set your scene, and you should. They must play their own character if they are in the scene, but can also be asked to take on the role of any non-nemesis controlled character.



Once you have set the scene it is time to actually get some film rolling and add to the story we are telling. This is your chance to make an impact on the tale so take your time, relax and involve everyone as much as you can.

Once you are shooting, you and the other players take on their assigned roles within the scene, either acting as your character or directing them in the action. It is likely you will slip between these two styles of narration naturally so don’t worry about it too much.


Once you are in the scene you need to decide what it's focus is going to be.

There are two types of scene focus in Reel Adventures, Colour and Action.

Colour scenes are purely about story, plot and character development and as such contain no action at all. Throw ideas around, get into your character's heads and show the audience why they should occur. There is no need to pick up cards at all during a colour scene.

Action scenes can concern themselves with everything a colour scene does, but there primary focus is a fight, chase or other piece of action. When action happens we stop just narrating freely as in a colour scene and use the deck of cards that has been lying around to determine the outcome of the action, see p.xx.


During the shooting of a scene we can add to the call sheet you were given at the start of the game, fleshing out background and giving him resources to battle the forces of evil.

We have already established the background of the characters in the game but that doesn't mean it can't evolve over the course of the story. At any time during a scene the current director can add some background to his own character or to another player's character as long as that player agrees.


Resources can be anything from a trusty gun to a particular way with the ladies. They are the significant things about a character that the audience come to love, not just the minor details like his penchant for nice suits or his unshaved appearance.

Once each scene that a player is directing they can create a resource for their hero. They write the resource down in an empty space on their Call sheet.

There is space for 5 resources on the Call sheet and this is the maximum number you can have over the course of the game, including your free one during the pitch scene, so you should choose them wisely.

Each resource starts with 3 impact meaning it can be used 3 times during the film. When a resource is used during a piece of action you tick off a box. Once the number of boxes reaches 0, the resource is not gone forever, merely has no further mechanical impact on the game.

Example: Although Indy's whip is part of his iconic character, it is only used a few times during the film. The rest of the time it is certainly there, but does not contribute directly to the action.


At some point during the film there is going to be some action. Maybe you will play a game of cards with the henchmen of the tale, trying to suss him out for future encounters or maybe you will be trying to take a shot at man whilst hanging from the bonnet of a car.

It may sometimes be difficult to see the action in a scene but here are some things it is not:

  1. A minor cast member getting in the way is not a call for action, merely more story telling.
  2. Doors, barriers and windows should not get in the way. These guys are heroes not Joe Bloggs from down the road. They can kick down any door, jump any barrier and throw themselves through plate glass windows with little ill effect.
  3. Buying a coffee or any other minor social interaction.

And here are some examples of what action is:

  1. Disarming a bomb whilst a building burns around you.
  2. Negotiating with a master con artist to get some information from him that he is unwilling to give.
  3. Defeating a horde of mooks bent on your personal destruction.

If you are unsure where the action should be in your scene then ask the other players for help and direction, maybe they can see something you can't.


Once you know where the action is you should play out the scene until you reach that point and then pick up the deck of cards to resolve the outcome of your asskicking.

Bring it on!
During an action sequence, the audience are not always sure who is going to triumph, even if deep down they know that the heroes are bound to triumph in the end.

To this end, the rules below allow us to find out how the action is going to play out:

1) The hero draws a number of cards without looking at them, equal to the level of their background, the 5 in the box beside it on the call sheet. He puts 5 cards face down in front of him, one beside the other in a line.
2) The nemesis draws a number of cards without looking at them, equal to their background, 5. He lays these out in the same way as the hero.
3) Either side may now spend a resource on the action. The first time a resource is used 1 card is drawn. The 2nd time, 2 cards and the third time 3 cards are drawn. A resource can be called upon multiple times a scene.
4) The nemesis and the hero now engage in an exchange. They each turn their first card over and compare:

  • If one side has no card to turn over, their opponent wins. This will obviously not happen in the first exchange but will happen as resources are brought in.
  • The highest value red card wins, aces high. If there is a draw the highest heart wins. If only one side has a red card that side is the winner.
  • If there are no red cards then the highest black card wins, aces high. If there is a draw then highest spade wins.

The person who wins an exchange gets to say a line, declare a single action or otherwise shoot a small section of the scene.

The winner takes their opponent's card and puts it under their one, on their side of the table. When we come to seeing who won at the end of the action, only visible cards count towards the conditions.


5) Now go back to step 3 and repeat the above process, until both sides have no cards left to turn over, in which case go to step 6.

6) We now need to see what the result is from the point of view of the hero:

a. Triumph: This is when the hero has double or more the number of red cards of the nemesis.

b. Overcome: This is when the hero has the same number or more red cards than the nemesis

c. Stalemate: Hero has same number of red cards as the nemesis

d. Fail: when the hero has less red cards than the nemesis.

When you wrap a scene you may choose a number of outcomes off the list below depending on the result of the action.

Result Outcomes
Triumph 2
Overcome 1
Stalemate 0
Fail 0

Each of these outcomes can be chosen multiple times per action scene.

Erase a tick from a resource that was used during the action.


Reduce one of the nemesis' resources by 1.


Reduce the threat of the nemesis by 1. This costs 2 outcomes and can therefore only be chosen when the heroes triumph.


I have included this as I fear that without it the 'strategic way' to play would be for the nemesis to save all his threat till the final scene. This way the players can easily reduce his threat if he does not create resources earlier on. Should I remove it? Make it cheaper?

There is no I in team!
Sometimes you best buddy is going to want a hand against the kill bots bearing down on him from the ‘Fortress of Ultimate Death!!!!!’. If another hero is in the same scene as the director’s hero he may ante one of his resources and draw his own cards. He draws no cards for his background only his resource. He may ante as many resources as he wants but those cards are only compared to the next cards to be turned over.

Visual example:

The rules for working out who wins each exchange still apply to action with more than two protagonists.

I realise this is not how I have been running multiple hero action scenes. I have been having it that you pull your background as well as soon as the action begins. Can you test the above and see if it works. Which makes more sense from an action film perspective?


As well as being able to add things to your call sheet during a scene you can also add information to the plot section of the script sheet. You can add a plot element like a bomb about to go off or a child who has secrets wired into his brain, connect some elements together

When you add a plot element you write it down and draw a circle around it. You can then draw a line from that plot element to any other whilst writing along that line what connects the two.

Visual Example

So why should you bother creating plot elements. Basically your film is nothing without them, there must be some kind of connection between scenes and acts and plot elements provide that as well as a record of what has happened so far in the film. The plot can be refereed to by players looking for direction in a scene and helps keep the plot at least vaguely logical.


We have mentioned stakes already, but not really integrated them into the game as yet. Let's do that now.

During any scene the director can bring in his hero's stake to tackle the issues that surround it. However if that scene is one involving action, then he may actually be able to reduce the danger to it.

If a stake is introduced during an action scene then it can be drawn upon for a number of cards equal to its danger. A stake can only be drawn upon once per scene.

At the end of the scene the director compares his personal number of red cards showing to the current danger of his stake:

Number of red cards > danger to stake, then reduce danger by 1
Number of red cards = danger to stake, then no change.
Number of red cards < danger to stake, then increase danger by 1

The minimum amount of danger a stake can have is 1.


Now we turn our attention to the nemesis, and how his role plays out during the film. Unlike the other players the nemesis does not get a regular scene all to himself. Instead he can interrupt a player's scene to create some story or choose to frame a scene purely focusing on him.

All this costs the nemesis the threat that has built up over the course of the film.


During another player's scene, the nemesis can choose to enter, either via goons and other devices or just as himself. This will usually lead to action taking place. This costs the nemesis no threat but it must be in agreement with the director of the scene.

Create a resource

Much of the nemesis’ job is getting in the way of the heroes and to aid him he can create resources that can be used during action scenes. For the nemesis resources are not only personal but represent his base, minions and henchmen.

The nemesis spends an amount of threat between 1 and 3 to create a resource with the same amount of impact. They should narrate the creation of this resource into a scene and give it one of the following types:

Personal: These are exactly like the hero's resources and are used by the nemesis when he is in a scene.

Base: This is a resource attached to the base of the nemesis, and can only be used when the heroes are in that location. This is inevitably where the finale will take place but may also appear earlier in the film.

Minion: These are the bread and butter of the nemesis' plan and will harass the heroes throughout the film. They can be used in any scene.

Henchmen: The big boys of the minion world, henchmen have a little kick to make them better than just a minion. When the nemesis chooses to bring a henchman into a fight he always draws 3 cards, no matter the amount of impact the henchman has remaining. Henchmen always start at level 3 and cost 5 threat to buy. A nemesis may have a maximum of 2 henchmen in a film.

Bar the henchmen who has different rules the nemesis' resources act in the same way as the heroes' when it comes to drawing cards.

Bolstering Resources

The nemesis can increase the impact of any resource he controls by spending threat. He can spend 1 threat to increase the impact of a personal, minion or base resource by 1.

Henchmen resources cannot have their level bolstered as they start at out at 3 impact.


Directors Privilege

After any hero has wrapped his scene the nemesis' player can opt to have a scene either to add colour or to initiate an attack. This scene is directed by the nemesis but he gains no threat during this scene.


Attack the Heroes

Of course the heroes will not always bring the fight to the nemesis, sometimes the nemesis will bring the fight to them.

During any scene he is part of the nemesis can initiate action against the heroes. This costs him 1 threat.


Like the heroes the nemesis gets to choose some outcomes based on the result of any action, whether it has been initiated by the director of the scene or the nemesis:

Heroes Triumph = 0
Heroes Overcome = 0
Heroes Stalemate = 1
Heroes Fail = 2


Put a tick in one of the resources used by a hero during the action.


Increase the danger to the stake of a hero you attacked by 1.


Erase a tick from a resource used in the action


Increase your threat by 1. This costs two outcomes and so can only be used when the heroes fail.



Eventually we will enter the finale of the film and the showdown with the nemesis. The finale consists of one scene, where all the heroes work together against the nemesis.

Obviously this will work differently depending on which way we go with the teamwork rules. Let me know how it works out either way.

The outcome of the finale is determined by the result of the action that takes place:

Triumph: The heroes have defeated the nemesis utterly, and he will never return to power.

Overcome: The heroes have toppled the nemesis but perhaps he has clung onto a little power somewhere or not all of his henchmen are dead. Somehow, someday he will return.

Stalemate: The nemesis has been defeated, but at great cost to the heroes. Their stakes are at real risk, and maybe not all of them have survived.

Failure: The nemesis has been defeated, and the true cost may never be fully realised. The heroes are broken and beaten and the toll on them has been great. The nemesis will return, perhaps even stronger than before.

Riding off into the sunset

So after the finale is done and dusted what becomes of our brave heroes? Where will they go, what will they do and what has become of the nemesis.

Each player, including the nemesis, gets to frame a sunset scene. This scene has no action in it and is just the player showing the fate of the hero, or his remains. However the scene does deal with one thing specifically, the hero's stake.

Each player needs to compare the number of red cards they personally have on their side, not the total number of red cards on the hero side of the action, with their hero's danger. One of the following will be true.

Happy ending

There are more red cards on the heroes side than the danger to the stake.

The heroes stake comes to the conclusion he wants it to, be that good or bad.


The number of red cards on the hero’s side is equal to or less than the danger to the hero’s stake.

The heroes stake comes to a conclusion that he wants, but the nemesis gets to throw in a bad outcome.

Down and out

The danger to the hero’s stake is at least twice the number of red cards on the hero’s side.

The nemesis narrates the heroes sunset scene.

Call Sheet

Diabolical Plan

Script Sheet

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