HOL: Human Occupied Landfill
Author: Todd Shaughnessy, Daniel Thron, Chris Elliott
Company/Publisher: Black Dog Game Factory
Page count: ~150
Playtest Review by Mischa Krilov on 04/30/98. Genre tags: none
HOL. Human Occupied Landfill. Invented by gamers for gamers, but by gamers wired on chemical additives and less sleep than normal, dosed with a terribly unhealthy amount of repression, for gamers with a bone to pick and an evil grin to boot. What can I possibly say about this twisted heap of perversion.. this sick ranting passing itself off as a game system.. this frothing pool of dark humor.. this game?
You may have heard a few things about HOL before- I guarantee they're all true. Allow me to quote from the back cover of the book before I continue: "Science Fiction Roleplaying For Gamers Who've Had A Really Bad Day. Get it before you hurt somebody." Within these covers you'll find a whole new way of looking at gaming. It's dirtier than Lenny Bruce, Denis Leary, and Howard Stern combined. It's also a hell of a lot funnier.
>From the very begining, they give it to you straight. The book includes a "claimer" the likes of which I can't mention on less than R rated websites, and to delve into detail would offend beyond the scope of this humble reviewer.
The world of HOL finally presents a dark future that you don't want to live in. You play a character on HOL itself- the prison planet for the entire Confederation of Worlds (COW). Imagine New Jersey. Now, give it lots of high tech, repression from both an evil galactic church and an evil galactic empire, and make a planet out of it. You've got HOL, the Sardukar don't even have nightmares here, and you play a resident.
The handwritten (Yeppers, handwritten!) manual contains all you need to know to thank the Powers That Be that you don't have anything to do with Church and Munch, the Sodomy Bikers, Wastums, Wastits, Jumpslugs, the Enquisition (sic), or any of the lovely other co-habitants of your new world. On the bright side, you'll have plenty of archtypes to choose from, as character creation is in the supplement. That's a little evil game designer humor there, but trust me, you won't get overly indignant. As a teaser, there're Live Action rules in the future.
Any good review will have to touch on the mechanics. So will this one- HOL uses two six-sided dice. Yes, simpler than Steve Jackson! You Add your skill to the stat and the roll. Higher is better. Boxcars, "go shithouse!", open-end, and keep going. You roll snake eyes, "YOU LOSE!" The Holmeister (sic) can have some fun. Needless to say, this game capitalizes on the PC/HM adversatial relationship so ever-present in some games.
But stat plus skill doesn't quite encompass the depth of the system. You have five stats: Greymatta, Feets, Nuts, Mouth, and Meat. Those just about explain themselves, but: Greymatta will tell you what it is, Mouth lets you not provoke it, Meat is haw far you can fling it, Feets is catching it before it lands, and Nuts is how well you can stand it when it hits with a messy splurtch. The skills are even more amusing, but I don't have the time to delve into them all.
In a nutshell, go to your store, laugh so hard the rest of the store looks at you, buy it, and vent your deepest frustrations via senseless violence and disturbingly funny atrocities with your friends!
Style: 5 (Excellent!)