|Designers||"Jeff & 'Manda Dee"|
TWERPS (The World's Easiest Role-Playing System) is a minimalist role-playing game (RPG) originally created by Reindeer Games (whose sole product was the TWERPS line) and distributed by Gamescience. Presented as a parody of the complicated RPG systems which were prevalent at the time while still being a playable game in its own right, its simple structure and humorous nature gave it unexpected popularity. TWERPS was originally created, written and illustrated (in a distinctive cartoony style) by "Jeff & 'Manda Dee", Jeff Dee being a noted game illustrator and co-writer of Villains and Vigilantes.
TWERPS was designed by Jeff Dee and 'Manda Dee, and published by Reindeer Games in 1987 as a digest-sized 8-page pamphlet, with four cardstock sheets.
TWERPS is a humorous universal system of minimalist rules; "TWERPS" stands for "The World's Easiest Role-Playing System". Characters have only one ability, Strength. Rules sections cover Strength, Combat, and "How to Do Everything." The game includes a sample character sheet, a combat hex sheet, cardstock miniatures, and an introductory micro-mini-scenario.
The actual rules of the game are indeed extremely simple. Characters are defined by a single attribute, "Strength", which is used for determining all traditional role-playing elements, such as whether or not the character successfully hits in combat, how fast they can move and how much damage they can take before dying. A de facto skill system exists in the form of "character classes" which give numerical bonuses to certain activities if their role called for it (for instance, a pilot having a +1 modifier on their roll to fly an aircraft).
Originally each installment of the TWERPS system was sold in a small plastic bag containing an 8-page leaflet, a sheet of cardstock counters to be cut apart, little cardstock hex-maps and a tiny ten-sided die, each being a downsized imitation of elements often found in larger, more elaborate games. The initial run of titles was printed at low cost with black ink on various colored papers to distinguish the various titles (the main rules were on pink paper, the kung-fu rules were on yellow, and so on).
As the game grew in popularity, the supplements were re-printed in expanded form with more pages and multi-color printing. New supplements covering new genres and specific objects of parody were also added. These expansions and later supplements were mainly written by Norman F. Morin Jr., Brian Rayburn, Jon Hancock and Niels Erickson rather than Jeff & 'Manda Dee. The tone of these second edition titles was noticeably one of more overt humor and silliness, peppering the text with puns (and even calling on fans to mail in suggested puns of their own for future supplements).