How to play

Unable, Unwilling
A game of Quaker nominations 

2-6 players, 20-60 minutes (10 minutes per player)

 You represent Little Snoring Quaker Meeting’s nominations committee.  In fact, local membership has declined so far that you now constitute the entire Meeting.  Unfortunately, Little Snoring still has over fifty nominated positions and it’s your job to fill them.  Can you persuade the committee to nominate someone else instead?  Or will you be the first to explode from overwork, resign your membership and write an angry letter to the Friend? 

Each player takes the six name cards for one Friend in the Meeting (Alyn, Beth… Fiona).  Any leftover name cards are removed from the game.  Place the ‘Business Meeting (NOT) in progress’ card to the side, shuffle the remaining cards and deal eight to each player, with the remaining deck put in the centre.  The player with the most real life voluntary commitments starts. 

Game play
There are four types of card – Jobs, Business, Excuses and Counters.  In a turn, the player takes two actions, then play moves clockwise.  Each action can be:

Playing a Job card
Playing a Business card
Discarding cards

After a Friend plays a card, they immediately draw a replacement. If they forget, they may remedy this at any point. 

Job, Excuse and Counter cards
Jobs represent positions needing to be filled, Excuses are reasons (feeble or cast-iron) not to be nominated, and Counters rebut Excuses.  To play a Job, lay it in front of another player and say, for example, “I nominate Alyn for Outreach Committee”.  Alyn can accept, or may play an Excuse to cancel the nomination.  However, any other player, including the one who nominated Alyn, may play a Counter against the Excuse, meaning the Excuse fails.  Alyn may play another Excuse, whereupon the process is repeated.

After a Friend plays a card, they immediately draw a replacement. If they forget, they may remedy this at any point.

Some Excuses nominate another Friend to the same position.  These may still be Countered.  If not Countered, the new Friend nominated may also play an Excuse.  Cast-Iron Excuses are only useable in circumstances specified on the card, but cannot be Countered.

 If an Excuse succeeds, the Job is discarded and no nomination made.  If the nomination succeeds, the nominated Friend places one of their name cards under the Job, showing they have been put forward for it.  The Job is placed in the centre of the table, topping the agenda.  Subsequent nominations are placed below, forming a queue.  Friends may not be nominated for a position they already hold or are currently nominated for. 

• Beth plays Overseer against Daniel.  “I nominate Daniel for Overseer.”
• Daniel plays a Feeble Excuse. “I just don’t think I’m ready.”
• Elfrida plays a Counter.  “Friend, we’re desperate.”
• Daniel plays a Feeble Excuse.  “Have you considered the worthy Friend to my left?”  Christine is now nominated for Overseer.
• Christine plays no Excuse card, so is nominated for the position.  Her name card is placed under the Job card and the nomination is added to the bottom of the agenda.

Excuses are only played by the Friend nominated, but Counters may be played by anyone. 

Business Meetings
When the number of jobs on the agenda reaches five or more, a Business Meeting begins.  At the end of each Friend’s turn (after their second action), the Job at the top of the agenda is appointed and placed face up in front of the Friend whose name is attached.  More nominations may be added while a Business Meeting is in process.  The Meeting continues until all Jobs have been “discerned”, at which point it ceases.  It does not restart until five or more jobs are again on the agenda. 

Business cards
Business cards give various different advantages, described on each card.  They must be played in turn as one of a player’s two actions, but can be played whether or not a Business Meeting is in progress.

As one of their actions, a player may discard any number of cards (from 0 to 8) and draw an equal number from the deck.  They must discard all cards simultaneously.  If, having seen the replacements, they want to discard again, this counts as a second action. 

Winning conditions
When a Friend is appointed to a position, the Job’s stress points (the number on the bottom right of the card) are added to their score.  When their total equals or exceeds the limit (16 points for 2 players, 15 points for 3, 14 points for 4, 13 points for 5 and 12 points for 6 players), the Friend quits the Meeting and the player is out.  All their nominated or appointed Jobs, and all cards in their hand, are shuffled back into the deck.  The winner is the last Friend left in the Meeting.  If all cards in the deck have been taken, the game ends and the winner is the Friend(s) with the lowest score.

Unable, unwilling is a Dragons’ Teeth Games production:
Game design: Sally and Tom Nicholls
Card design: Tom Nicholls
Images: Jessica Metheringham 

All comments on Quaker nominations process are entirely the opinions of the game designers and accurately represent their feelings on Quaker bureaucracy.