by Jonathan Leistiko
Origin and Credits
I stumbled across Sluggy Freelance while reading the home page for Plan 9 Publishing (the outlet for another online strip, Kevin and Kell, drawn by one of my favorite cartoonists, Bill Holbrook). I devoured the Sluggy archives from the start to the present strip in about five days during my spare time at work and days off. The strip features a homicidal, ass-kicking, switchblade-wielding mini-lop bunny named Bun-Bun. More than a few of the strips feature Bun-Bun beating the pulp out of the other characters. Kiki is a naive, joyful, mildly hyperactive [Editor’s note: mildly hyperactive?!], easily distracted ferret. She provides a kind and childlike presence, a well used contrast to Bun-Bun’s violent, cynical nature.
It’s important to understand that Bun-Bun is virtually unbeatable in combat — there’s only one fight that Bun-Bun started and didn’t win; that was with a Giger-style Alien, and it ended in a tie. With how easily Kiki can unintentionally annoy anyone, and how defenseless she is, you’d expect Bun-Bun to have ventilated her several times over. He never has. Hasn’t even laid a whisker on her. In fact, Bun-Bun frequently uses Kiki as his accomplice for many of his schemes and adventures. This got me to thinking: Here’s a bunny with a running vendetta against Santa Claus, for crying out loud. Why hasn’t he taken out Kiki? Then it hit me — perhaps Kiki is one of the few characters who could actually defeat him.
Shortly thereafter, this game was created. From that moment of inspiration to full fledged completion, I figure it took about 10 minutes.
Capture all of your opponent’s pieces.
Decide amongst yourselves who will be Kiki and who will be Bun-Bun. Find a non-violent way (even if you are Bun-Bun) to choose someone to go first. Setup is identical to that of a standard game of checkers.
Kiki’s pieces move like normal checkers in all ways, but they may jump her own pieces as well as Bun-Bun’s pieces. Only Bun-Bun’s pieces jumped in this fashion are captured.
“Poing, poing!” — Kiki
Bun-Bun’s pieces may never jump. Instead, Bun-Bun’s pieces capture by moving into the square occupied by one of Kiki’s pieces. Bun-Bun may not make multiple captures in a single turn.
“Move it, nerd-boy. Ka-klick!” — Bun-Bun
If you are able to capture a piece, you must make that capture (also known as, “See a jump, have to jump.”).
Other than that, play is identical to that of a normal game of checkers.
You win by capturing all of your opponent’s pieces.
Following are additional Sluggy characters who were released in the 2000 year-end review:
As promised long ago, here are additional powers for other characters from the Sluggiverse:
- Torg: “Thank God for dandruff shampoo!” — Torg
Place a coin on a piece in your last row. This piece can not be jumped until all of your other pieces have been captured.
- Riff: “Let me check my notes.” — Riff
At the start of his turn, Riff may emulate the power of any other character by rolling a 4, 5, or 6. On a 6, however, this backfires, causing Riff to lose at the end of that turn any pieces he moved during that turn. Riff may not duplicate abilities that can only be used a limited number of times, like Pete’s power or Gwynn’s power.
- Zoe: “Count me in!” — Zoe
Zoe does not have to obey the “see a jump, have to jump” rule.
- Gwynn: “The more she used my powers, the stronger I became.” — K’Z‘K’
Gwynn starts the game with one coin. If any of her pieces are adjacent to an opponent’s piece at the start of her turn, then she must roll a die for every adjacent opposed piece. If the result of the die is equal to or greater than the number of coins she has, then she gains a coin and the adjacent opposed piece is captured. Gwynn may chose to capture a piece in this fashion (without rolling the die) instead of jumping to capture, gaining a coin each time this is done. If Gwynn has 6 coins or more, then she loses the game.
- Sam (pre-vamp): “I’m still here… Just putting on my coat… Walking out the door…” — Sam
Whenever one of Sam’s pieces is jumped, put a coin on it instead of removing it. At the beginning of Sam’s turn, add a coin to any of his pieces that has a coin. Remove any of Sam’s pieces with two or more coins on them at the end of his opponent’s turn.
- Sam-pire: “So then I kicked Lysinda’s butt! It was great! Sam’s da man! Sam’s da man!” — Interview with the Sampire
Whenever one of Sampire’s pieces is jumped, put a coin on it. Remove any of Sampire’s pieces when it has two or more coins on it.
- Oasis: “And what’s the last thing you’d expect from someone who loves you so much?” — Dr. Steve
When one of her un-kinged pieces is about to be captured, Oasis rolls a die. On a 5 or 6, that piece “blocks” the attempt and may not be captured this turn. The opponent must pick another move, even if it would disobey the “see a jump, have to jump” rule, but choosing other available jumps first. When one of her un-kinged pieces is about to jump another piece, Oasis rolls a die. On a 1, Oasis’s piece is “in love” with the opponent’s piece and refuses to jump it. Oasis must make a different move, even if it disobeys the “see a jump, have to jump” rule, but choosing other available jumps first.
- Dr. Crabtree: “And how you eat people’s brains to absorb their knowledge…” — Dr. Irving Schlock, to Dr. Crabtree
Dr. Crabtree may spend a piece that she has captured at the start of her turn to gain that opponent’s special abilities for the duration of that turn. Dr. Crabtree may not duplicate abilities that can only be used a limited number of times, like Pete’s power or Gwynn’s power.
- Dr. Schlock (young and old): “Kiki! Look! It’s a young Dr. Schlock!” — Bun-Bun
Dr. Schlock’s checkers may share the same square with each other. Dr. Schlock may not have more than two of his checkers in the same square; a kinged checker counts as one checker.
- Lord Horribus: “Then we can snatch Torg’s soul in transit and have him to torture forever!” — Lord Horribus
Before the game begins, Lord Horribus’s opponent must secretly mark the bottom of one of his or her checkers. If this checker is captured, then Lord Horribus wins the game.
- Pete: “And that’s it. I’m going back to bed.” — Pete
At the end of his opponent’s turn, Pete may force the other player to undo the move he or she just made and make a move according to Pete’s instructions. Pete may not force his opponent to make an illegal move, but he can make the opponent use his or her special power. Pete may use this power only once per game.
- Shirt-Guy Tom: All the work and none of the glory.
When one of his pieces is kinged, Shirt-Guy Tom may choose to remove that king from the board and place two normal checkers in two of his empty home squares instead.
I can hear it now, “What about Aylee? Why didn’t you include her?” Well, I actually have rules for Aylee, but I’m not sure if they’re good enough yet. You’ll notice that when you match up certain characters against others, the games come out a lot like what they would in the comic strip. Lord Horribus has a lot of trouble beating Torg, Oasis and Gwynn have a knock-down, drag-out battle royale, Sam is nearly useless while the Sampire is actually pretty darn good, and Bun-Bun kicks ‘most everyone’s ass from here to Poughkempsie. I need to make Aylee capable of stomping pretty much all the other pieces without being impossible to beat, and it’s a tricky thing to do. This is compounded by the fact that she gets different powers as the game progresses and none of these powers are ones that the other characters have; I’m using up four different powers on just one character here. It’s a playtester’s nightmare. [17 million links in the rules are no picnic for the editor, either. —Ed.]
Legal Schmeagal Stuff
Bun-Bun, Kiki, and Sluggy Freelance are the works of Pete Abrams. Used with permission.