Abattoir (Cattle and Death)

by Mike Young
and Scott David Grey
This game was written at Intercon XIV in Boston, Mass during a particularly interesting and enlightening opening ceremonies.  At least, I assume it was enlightening and interesting; Scott and I were busy writing this game.  For the record, Scott prefers the name Heiferdammerung.  Feel free to refer to the game in any way you wish.

The game explores the last minutes of a herd of cattle as they travel through the Abattoir.  It probably shouldn't take longer than 10 minutes to play.  You might want to have two GMs working in concert, one to handle player questions and one to describe the things that are happening to the kine.

Game Prep

All you need to do is cut out the handouts below and give them to the players.

The game starts in an open field where the cows can congregate for a few minutes and build up relationships.  Explain to them that they all understand each other except that none of them understand Spooky.

After a few minutes, the GMs lead the players (with the Udan Calf in the lead) down a hallway.  They should tell the Udan Calf that the passageway is new and strange.  (The abattoir has recently been mechanized, but the players don't know that). 

The following things then happen in order.  Give a bit of time between each event.

  1. The cows get ropes slipped over their necks (including the Udan Calf) and led past sluices filled with blood.  There is the smell of fear.  Booster and Looie can break free of the ropes and free the others.  Don't tell them they can do this; wait until they try.  Do, however, tell Georgia that this place is strange and unfamiliar.
  2. They come to an automated nailgun.  However, it fires nothing as the farmhands forgot to fill it.
  3. Winches come with meathooks.
  4. The winches try to grab the cows by the hooves.  Cows who try to dodge aren't grabbed, but there is no place to walk, but ahead. Byron and Bessie cannot dodge the hooks.
  5. The hooked cows are hoisted up and swung upside down and continue along the corridor.  Free cows have the option of continuing on or waiting here.  There is no place to walk but ahead.
  6. The cows are told of slashing, rotating knives 3 minutes ahead.  What do you do? What do you do?
  7. Heiferdammerung.
Print these, 
cut 'em out, 
and give them to the players.


You are Bessie

You were the Prime Milker of your herd.  But times are hard and your milk has dried up.  People just don't appreciate you as they did before.  Just once more, before the end – you can sense the end is near – you would like to be loved.  Then you would be happy.


You are Laika

You are a young female cow, just entering maturity.  You have such hopes and dreams.  You want to be a Prime Milker someday like Bessie, or a leader like Georgia, or have a calf like Elsie.  You have so much to look forward to.


You are Boomer

You are Elsie’s calf, a young male cow.  You are happy to play and frolic in the fields with your best friend, Looie.  Suddenly today, some gruff farm hands came by and snatched you up.  You saw them rounding your mother up too.  You wonder what is going on.

You are Spooky

You are the old ghost cow, killed just… Well, cows (even ghost cows) can't tell time… Anyhow, you were killed in this place, before you could rescue your own beloved calf... You try to lead the cows to safety, but they cannot understand your eerie mooing.

You are Booster

You are a steer.  You aren't that smart, but you are pretty strong.  You like to eat grass and pretty flowers.  You are in love with Laika, but are too shy to tell her.

You are Elsie

You could have been the Prime Milker.  You should have been leader.  No.  Those jobs went to others.  You still have that chance.  You donut know where you are heading, but you are sure that you can lead.  You have a calf named Boomer whom you love and wish to protect.

You are Looie

You are a young calf and a natural follower.  You will do what you are told to.  You get very upset when cattle argue and fight.  Your best friend is a young calf named Boomer.

You are Byron

You are an older steer.  You have seen many herds enter this place and never leave.  Last month, the humans made changes to the inside, so your trip might be different but you aren't sure how.  You are old and depressed; a good characterization hint would be Eeyore.

You are Georgia, The Udan Calf

You know the way.  You are experienced and the natural leader of the herd.  It is very important that all follow you.  You have been here before with different herds.  It isn't so bad, really, and you get yummy grass and Purina Cattle Chow when it’s all over.

Abattoir is Copyright © 2000, Interactivities Ink, Ltd.  All rights reserved.  Permission is granted to copy and distribute this game as long as this notice is included in its entirety .  Contact: www.interactivitiesink.com,  mike@interactivitiesink.com.