Your partner is out of town for a week and you are a single parent!
You start the game with five points of Good Parent and no points of Fail. You win the game by keeping your Good Parent score above your Fail. If at an point your Fail exceeds your Good Parent score, you lose.
The game is played in days. There are two kinds of days: weekday and weekend. Each day has five phases: Morning, Midday, Afternoon, Bedtime and Night. Night is a short phase where you sleep and recover Energy. On weekdays, children are absent in Midday, and older children may be gone in the Afternoon too. On weekends, children are present at all times.
Begin the game by choosing the number of children and the parent's Strengths and Weaknesses.
You can select from two to four children. More children add to the difficulty level of the game. Roll for the children's ages on the Age Table. Place counters of the appropriate age on the board.
Roll for your Strengths and Weaknesses. In a standard game you will have two of each. Strengths include Patient, Competent, Organized, Great Big Heart, and Tough. These give you benefits throughout the game; for instance, a Patient parent will be slower to accumulate Stress, a Tough one will resist Depression, and a Competent one will gain a bonus in completing activities. Weaknesses include Slovenly, Light Sleeper, Short Temper, Internet Addiction, Short on Cash This Month, and Can't Boil Water.
You begin each day with 20 Energy points. You must allocate these carefully. If you run out of Energy points you will suffer Stress and, very probably, accumulate Fail.
In addition to Energy, four other attributes are tracked throughout the game: Distraction, Depression, Stress, and Awesome. These can rise or fall over time, causing you to accumulate Fail (or, more rarely, Good Parent points).
A parent must also Get Stuff Done. This represents all of life outside parenting (i.e., paying bills, getting the car to the repair shop, sending out CVs). In a normal game a parent must Get Stuff Done five times. Falling short of this accumulates Fail; for instance, a parent who only Gets Stuff Done three times will accumulate two points of Fail. If a parent Gets Stuff Done more than five times, they will accumulate one point of Awesome for every two additional times they Get Stuff Done.
Throughout the game you must accomplish different actions. Actions are given a Difficulty score from 0 to 6. You must roll this number or higher on a single die to accomplish the action. Normally, scores of 0 or 1 mean automatic success. However, Distraction, Depression, Stress and other factors can give you negative modifiers. So, for instance, the activity Bedtime Stories is normally difficulty 1, but if you have 1 point of Stress and 2 points of Distraction it becomes difficulty 4. There are also positive modifiers; for instance, a Competent parent gains +1 on cooking and craft rolls.