In case you didn’t know, itch.io isn’t just the best place to buy digital games but also the best place to buy analog games. On the home page if you navigate to the “Physical Games” link on the left hand side of the page you’ll find print and play card games, tabletop RPGs, and tons of stuff that defies classification. If you haven’t taken the time to explore this section of the site I can’t recommend it highly enough. There are so many ingenious projects in there that missing out on them is a huge mistake. Don’t worry, I won’t just assign you homework without giving you something in return. Here’s a sampling of some of my favorite analog games you can find on the site right now.
Full disclosure: I backed the physical edition of Consentacle on Kickstarter because it is easily one of the smartest and most unique card games I’ve ever played. It’s a two player game about falling in love, intimacy, and some good old fashioned human-on-alien sexual contact. This is all represented by simultaneously playing risque cards like bite, kiss, and envelop which generates intimacy tokens that become your score by the end of the game. There is a lot of nuance in these mechanics, but my favorite way to play is the hard mode in which neither player is allowed to talk and you have to communicate what card you want to play via pantomime.
You probably shouldn’t play Consentacle with your parents (or try it, I can’t tell you how to live your life) but it’s a hilarious and smart way to generate conversation about intimacy and consent while still being monstrously fun. I’m not sure I will ever be able to say enough nice things about Consentacle, but with a $6 price tag the print and play version of the game makes it even easier than ever to get your tentacles on one of my favorite card games ever.
Despite playing tabletop RPGs for almost 15 years I’ve always slacked on playing single player games. The idea of running an adventure without having to plan around 3-6 other people’s schedules sounds like a dream, and I’ve been diving in over the last few months. One of my favorite recent discoveries is Plot Armor (stylized as plot ARMOR), a single player space opera where you play as a mecha pilot who realizes the plot is keeping them alive until the end of their anime season.
The game runs quickly and doesn’t involve too many mechanics --which means that as you’re writing your character’s journal entries the game plays more like a creative writing exercise than a traditional combat rpg-- but the prompts are varied and open to interpretation. Learning Plot Armor takes only a minute as the rules all fit on one page, but it’s a great way to while a way a few hours.
I think I’ve featured a Grant Howitt game every time we talk about analog games on the site, but what can I say: the games are fun! This time Howitt takes his strategy of mashing up incompatible settings and characters and applies it to Victorian romance and mechs. Yep, we’re featuring two mech games this week.
As you may have been able to guess from the title of the game, Pride and Extreme Prejudice asks you and your adventuring party (your sisters, played by your friends) have to navigate social situations and contend with a French invading force by making snap judgements vis a vis mech warfare and snide comments. The ruleset is open enough to allow for tons of different interactions, but the framework of the setting is strict enough to ensure that some wackiness is bound to happen.
As is the case with all of Howitt’s projects, the game fuses the two halves of the game in surreal and fun ways. Will you be defending your home against clockwork robots today, or does your mother insist on throwing a party you have to attend? Best of all, the game is free to download right now.
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