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(+2)

Campfire Memories is a trpg about disastrous camping trips.

Specifically, it's about how the natural state of a family camping trip is a disaster, and how honestly that's kind of okay.

The PDF is 26 pages, with a pretty easy to read layout that's just a little text-block heavy. There's also a ton of cute, whimsical, and clever custom illustrations that add a lot of charm to the book.

Play-wise, Campfire Memories is GMless and largely focused on humans vs nature rather than humans vs humans themes. The game specifically tells the players not to dig into conflict between PCs and that the PCs can't die as a consequence of any event in-game, and this helps keep the game fun and light.

Safety tools are also provided, and they give pretty good coverage for possible issues. There's the opportunity to pre-declare stuff you don't want to encounter, to modify stuff you weren't expecting to encounter, and to reach out to players to make sure everyone's alright.

Character creation is simple and gives you the option to play as an adult, a child, or a dog---which is now my new favorite loadout of character classes. Each class has access to different tools, and they all do dramatically different things. Gear can be used for bonus dice. Skills can be used to bump up existing die rolls. Wonder can be used for automatic successes. Skills can't be taken from you, but Gear can, and Wonder is lost the moment it is used.

The dice system is likewise very simple, with one player rolling a d6 against an obstacle set by another player. A 6+ is an uncomplicated success, and anything else gets a bit messy.

Every player is guaranteed screentime, and every player is also guaranteed narrative development. After everyone's gotten a scene, the camping trip ends and everyone gets a scene with their character later in life, reflecting back on it. It's a nice nostalgic note to finish a cozy game with, and I dig that it's mechanically built in rather than left optional.

For GMs and new players, Campfire Memories provides a good set of resources at the back of the book. There's advice on how to hack the system, a handy SRD, and the writing throughout is clear and easy to understand.

Overall, if you like cozy games about family and small-scale, natural adversities, I think this is a really cool title and it's worth checking out. If you're looking for something emotionally exacting, violent, or competitive, this isn't really that and you'll need to look elsewhere.

(+1)

Interestingly, when I ran it for my monthly teen group at the local library, they turned the story into a full-scale disaster movie.
I believe we were camping on a tropical island as part of a corporate team-building retreat. There was a massive volcanic eruption.

It was definitely a stretch for the system and not one I'd recommend but it still supported a cohesive story. The game did much better than I expected.

But, yes, please play this game for a low-stakes emotional tone!