The Contract is a role-playing game which emphasizes creativity and problem-solving. It is generic and universal; it's suitable for any setting or game world and any genre (modern, science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.).
Getting started is simple. First, you need a GM (Game Master, or referee) and a group of players. A group of players and a GM are called a “cell.” Once you have a cell, each player creates a character (with the GM's guidance), and you're ready to go.
The Contract provides a great deal of flexibility for your cell to do its own thing. However, there are certain commonalities.
The characters will be recruited by powerful entities known as Harbingers, and will become Contractors. A Harbinger will assign a group of Contractors a mission, known as a Game. If the Contractors fulfill their objectives, they will receive a reward, called a Gift. If they fail, they do not receive a Gift. The Harbingers expect success; there is no excuse for failure.
Harbingers don't recruit just anyone. They look for people who have burning ambitions which will motivate them to risk their lives to win the Game, not just once but repeatedly. Thus, all Contractors have an Ambition which dominates their lives, and explains why they're participating in the Games at great risk to life and limb. After all, normal people don't go on extraordinarily dangerous missions for a vague promise of great rewards; but then, the Harbingers have no interest in normal people.
Once the Game is over, the Contractors go their separate ways, returning to their normal routines, whatever that may be. In time, they are gathered by a Harbinger for another Game. Gradually, they accumulate great power, acquiring the means to work towards their Ambitions – if they survive.