I just finished an entry for the 1KM1KT / FreeRPG Blog 24 Hour competition, a competition where you have 24 hours to design a tabletop RPG from the ground up. You pick a theme from a list, and I chose the theme "Cowboys with Big Hearts." Since my life has kids and work in it, my game represents far less than 24 hours of work - more like 6 or 7.
My game is called Big Hearts in Big Country. Here's the pitch:
The villagers stare as you ride into town. They don’t know what to make of you. Strangers are rare here, and usually don’t stay long. They either have a drink and continue on their long journey northeast to Las Cruces, or they take a much shorter trip southwest up to Boot Hill.
Long ago, the townspeople stopped daring to dream that a big hearted gunfighter would come clean up the town. But then, they’ve never met you...
Big Hearts in Big Country is a cowboy-themed RPG which centers on what cowboys do best, at least in the movies: staring down the villain in the black hat, waiting for him to twitch, and then being fast on the draw. You’re the guys (or gals) who clean up bad towns.
Featuring six pages of simple rules, a starter setting for gameplay, a simple core mechanic for telling dramatic, character-based stories, a tense, edge-of-your-seat system for high-drama shootouts, and theme-appropriate game materials like poker cards and chips instead of character sheets, "Big Hearts in Big Country" is quick to pick up and play, and focuses on telling stories that would make Sergio Leone or Sam Peckinpah proud.
Enjoy. If you have any questions, suggestions, or play reports, let me know in the comments.