Film: Unicorn City

Game developer, Warlocks of the Beach, has offered Voss, a currently unemployed table-top gamer, the chance at a management position if he can demonstrate real leadership abilities. If he can't then he'll find himself working for his brother, Jeff, schlepping fish tacos just to make rent. But Voss knows he can do it. He sees himself as something more; someone who will rise above all adversity and succeed. He sees himself as a Knight and believes that "you are what you pretend to be".

Given one week to prove himself, Voss convinces Marsha, a long-time gamer friend, to play along and help him entice his table-top gaming guild into his scheme to get a job. She will document and record Voss' leadership prowess and then show it to the prospective employer, proving that Voss has talent. If Voss can just keep Unicorn City running for a couple of days without the guild knowing his alternative motive the job will be his.

Soon Unicorn City is simmering with excitement—gamers dig moats, participate in mock battles against mythical beasts, and shape pony unicorns out of tinfoil to complete their utopian vision of valor and harmony. Well almost, that is…..Their blossoming paradise receives an unwelcome guest and it's none other than Shadow Hawk, Voss' nemesis and the guild's former game master. Shadow Hawk has orcs, food (something Voss forgot to bring), a leopard upholstered fold-out couch in his greyhound bus, and evil intentions. Knowing exactly what buttons to push, Shadow Hawk challenges Voss to a battle of wits and whoever wins claims leadership of Unicorn City. Voss accepts the challenge and in one fell swoop damages his friendship with Marsha, loses his honor, and is kicked out the utopia he created. Voss leaves a failure and nothing like the courageous Knight he thought he was.

Back at home, Voss recognizes his deceit and knows that he must return to rescue Marsha and reclaim his role as a Bardladin Knight, master of Unicorn City.

The film provides examples of these tropes:

  • Becoming the Mask: This seems to be the centerpiece of Voss' philosophy.
  • BFS: The miniature Voss uses for his character has one. Voss even sharpens it, which comes back to bite him later.
  • Captain Ersatz: Game company Warlocks of the Beach is an obvious stand-in for Wizards of the Coast.
  • First Girl Wins: From Voss and Marsha's first interaction it's clear how their relationship is going to develop through the movie.
  • Hypocrite: Shadow Hawk tries to drop the "it's just a game" line after deliberately rigging the wager so that more than the game was at stake.
  • Jerk Jock: Jeff.
  • Not Using the Z Word: The film seems to take place in a version of Earth where the concept of LARPs exist, but the words to describe them don't.
  • Signed Up for the Dental: Voss' friend joins the Marines so he can get a sword.
  • Smug Snake: Shadow Hawk.