Second Guess System

Second Guess System by William Lentz is licensed under CC BY 4.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

The System

The Second Chance system powers solo role-playing games, which are designed to fit on a single page. Games utilize something to record journals such as paper and pen as well as a d20 and a d6.

Each game is divided into a series of turns known as Moments. At the start of each turn, the player rolls the d20 and consults the chart to determine what event or reflection their character will undergo.

The key mechanic of these games, known as the Twist, occurs when the player rolls a prompt more than once. Here, the player must reveal something previously unknown, uncertain, or intentionally hidden about the previous entry for that prompt.

Finally, games utilize a Goal tracker, which certain prompts may increase or decrease. When a Twist occurs, the player must roll the d6 and compare it against the Goal tracker, often determining success, failure, or the conclusion of the game.

The Core

The two central ideas in Second Guess Games are being one page and uncertainty.

The system is compact enough to fit on a single page, though careful editing and phrasing may be necessary to achieve your desired atmosphere while remaining within this constraint. Restriction breeds creativity.

The idea of uncertainty is tied to the key mechanic of the Twist. Here, Second Guess System games prompt the player to create something unexpected, sometimes even in direct contradiction to what they had planned. Thus, the game is well suited to scenarios related to deceit, self-deception, and discovery, though sometimes the most interesting games come from the broadest interpretations of these themes.

Note: While the additional core of inevitability is used in the initial game, One White Eye, with a Goal tracker that can only tick upward, that is not a requirement for all Second Guess System games and some creators may find it useful to inject uncertainty into game conclusion as well.

An example prompt chart is below. Individual entries may be altered as needed. Note that prompts should be flavorful, evocative, and above all, ask questions. Don’t only mention an event, ask how it impacts the player and how they interpret it.

Here are two example prompts from other SGS games.

One White Eye - You begin to confess. Who was the last person you betrayed before your imprisonment? The Date - Your date talks about their past relationship. What caused it to fail? -1 Crush.

  1. Very negative. -2 Goal
  2. Positive. +1 Goal
  3. Neutral.
  4. Neutral.
  5. Negative. -1 Goal
  6. Positive. +1 Goal
  7. Neutral.
  8. Neutral.
  9. Negative. -1 Goal
  10. Positive. +1 Goal
  11. Neutral.
  12. Neutral.
  13. Negative. -1 Goal
  14. Positive. +1 Goal
  15. Neutral.
  16. Neutral.
  17. Negative. -1 Goal
  18. Positive. +1 Goal
  19. Neutral.
  20. Very positive. +2 Goal

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