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A Smouldering Lighthouse

A member registered Dec 03, 2018 · View creator page →

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Totally fair. The curious thing about Wanderhome is that almost the whole game is driven by the internal struggles of the characters, which means that play can look a little opaque from the outside.  If I revisit this piece I might include a rumour table or something else to stir some intrigue and plant some plot seeds.

Thanks for reading, Paul. :)

A beautiful, subtle game that gets quickly to the heart of the places that inspired it.

Merrilee's agenda is to quietly turn all games into the larpiest versions of themselves.

Wanted to share a quick thanks to the devs. It was lovely getting to revisit the world of Celeste, and seeing it reimagined as a 3D platformer was a delight. Big grin on my face when the Sunshine-style a capella came in.

Really above and beyond for an anniversary celebration. Thanks folks.

You know what would be really unnecessary? An online playsheet for this game in the style of vintage bowling scorecards to track your bowlers' scores and write down their names and descriptions.

But uh, whoops, it exists now. Instructions on how to use this sheet are in the top-right corner. (Note that it automatically tallies your total scores, so you only need the one to two boxes for the frames.)


To claim that this can be played with Magic cards, I needed to try it out. I reached out to my brother-in-law and was like, hey, do you have any Magic: the Gathering cards we can playtest this with? And he was like, sure friend.

I have never played Magic. When he came over with a "black mana deck," I didn't know what it meant until every card was named "flesh eater" or "rotting corpse". 

Of course our magical girl ended up being at a school for young necromancers. It actually ruled. So go live out your gnarly necromantic magical girl dreams.

Colossal has a lot to say about how we seek meaning from the symbols and images of our daily lives, and it does so with a magic so subtle that you might not see it at first read.

I played Colossal with a friend over lunch using a standard deck of 52 cards, and you would be shocked how much can be pulled out of even that. Our story felt important, and the community was full of life and character.

The game itself is very nice to look at, and the instructions are both evocative and clear. Would recommend it to anyone.

The official Big Dog, Big Volcano playlist link to The Littlest Hobo theme song.

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Two things:

1. If anyone is looking to play this game online, I've developed a spreadsheet you can use for your friend group. You can find it and make a copy here. (Shared with permission from Sasha.)

2. A  friend I played this with said: "[W]e've played a lot of games, that I love -- I think this might be the best designed 3 player game that we've played." Reader, this friend has played my 3 player exclusive game. And they're completely right. Kenzie's project kicks ass.

Hey folks! If anyone is looking for a way to play this game online, please feel free to use this character keeper I made for Google Sheets.

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If anyone would like to play this online, feel free to use this character keeper I made. It has a tab for each character that auto-populates their stats, and a GM page for notes, NPCs, etc.

(Shared with Josh's blessing.) 

Deftly woven art.

It takes a delicate hand to create an epistolary game with an overarching plot structure, and that's doubly true when you concoct as many pathways as Kay has in Your Friend in Witchcraft. With three (different!) playbooks for each player to choose from, Kay has created an asymmetric game that gives all characters opportunities to be interesting, vulnerable, and fallible.

I can heartily recommend Your Friend in Witchcraft to anyone who likes quiet connections, emotionally intelligent stories, and a little bit of magic.

If anyone needs a character keeper, feel free to save a copy of this one I made for some friends:

As simple as it is intuitive, this improv-inspired "oracle" would be a great addition to pretty much any game. Clean, smart, evocative.

A quiet larp, an inside joke, a lyric game, an invitation. Beautiful in construction and concept.

I am handing you a pamphlet.

What a cute game! I like that this could feasibly provide legitimately tasty drinks, in addition to just being a party game lampooning elaborate coffee orders. 

As someone who also worked at a place serving coffee, I 100% understand the urge to start messing with the add-ins when you get bored. :) Welcome to itch! Good job!!

It's beautiful, it's raw, it's driven, it's niche, it's open, it's relatable, it's distant. It's also going to get whatever I can give it for the algorithm to boost it for your eyeballs, so please forgive my unasked for comment.

Ian has written a collection of poems that are sometimes about games and sometimes games themselves. The whole chapbook is fresh, candid and just cool as hell. If you like writing and games, I feel like you pretty much have to read this one.

Honestly, reading this is wasted time you could be spending reading Everyone is My Enemy. Go.

What is there to say about Fiasco that hasn't already been said? It's the definitive game of self-inflicted catastrophe. It's the king of drama, the queen of failure, and the jester watching it all burn down. If you haven't had the chance to try this landmark game of narrative storytelling, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. There are literal years of content for the classic game, waiting for you to explore it.

I could talk about Fiasco all day -- and I have -- but the bottom line is that Fiasco stands the test of time as a thrilling celebration of storytelling.

This is great. I love the way you've mashed the genres together into a big campy romp -- definitely leans into the pulpy vibe of L&F in the best way.

Favourite details: The names are fantastic, for starters. "Billy Oblivion" and "Elijah Moon" are both pretty incredible. I also love that everyone has a "loyal mechanical steed," and that the goals are a great mix of western and romance. Honestly, all the little details are great -- "Bessie the laser cow" is particularly campy and delightful.

Maybe next time: The body text is just a liiiittle tricky for me to read. It might just be me though! I really dig the aesthetic you pulled together, and I can see why you went with the style you did; it does feel like a great midpoint of western and spacey. It might also be nice to have a little passage about player consent if there's PC-PC romance situations? You don't have a lot of space to work with, but it would be a nice nod to safety tools!

Thank you for sharing your game!

First off -- this game made me finally look up the titular video, and it's so much worse than I expected. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, hahaha. So, the game:

Favourite details: I like the extra steps you took to establish a few things, my favourite of which being that diversity of body type and gender are welcome on the team. I also like that you explained the GM's role! You would be surprised how many folks leave it to the reader to puzzle out. The Play section is also a great overview of how to do narrative roleplay! I feel like the tips out outlined could apply to (and enhance) a lot of games, and you did it with very little space.

Maybe next time: For me, it feels a little counter-intuitive that success is rolling under the stat, but a critical success is the highest possible roll! I imagine this wouldn't be a problem for a lot of folks, but I can see myself getting my wires crossed in-play.

Thank you for sharing your work!

Thank you! It's been great getting a chance to explore all the ideas people have brought forward; so many interesting games. 

And you're bang on with the feedback - - a printer friendly version is high on my priority list for this post-jam, and early drafts mapped out fae prompts. The former I'll definitely do; the latter I'm mulling over. People have created much more interesting fae in playtesting than I could have imagined, haha. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my piece and provide such a thoughtful response! 

Gotcha. Joke went right over my head, haha. 

I'm impressed that this jam managed to conjure up multiple office sim games! Hahaha.

Favourite details: The semi-cooperative game state is an interesting twist to put in. Because like, why would devils help each other? Haha. So the Scheming rule makes a lot of sense. I dig the Hot Couture table for character building, and the 666 rule is a nice touch.

Would be nice to have: A liiiittle more of an idea what conflict looks like in the game! I think in another setting you'd be good to go, but it would take a lot of spice for me to convince people to play a game that looks like their workday -- haha. So a few more hellish details about what you might encounter would be a welcome addition.

Thanks for sharing your work!

Super cool! I like that the same bones of Pocket Adventure are on display here, but with a fully-integrated theme surrounding it. The use of REDACTED here is just delicious. And just generally speaking, the document is beautifully formatted and put together.

What a fun idea. :)

Favourite details: I like that, contrasting the Jenga system of resolution, this tower is expected to fall regularly. I also like that players have agency over how ambitious to be! A little strategy and risk management on top of pure stacking makes for a much more well-rounded system than there would be otherwise.

Would be nice to have: Some clarification on d4s would be great! How could anything be stacked on a d4?! Hahaha. Maybe I'm just not very talented, lol.

I really like this! The card-driven and horror combo makes me think of Murderous Ghosts, which is good company for a game to be in.

Favourite details: Well, the title is great, first off. Really gives off the gothic kind of vibe that suits the story well. Shout-out as well to the beautiful job you've done with the formatting and public domain art assets; the game is clean and well put together. Mechanically, I really dig the possible Joker draw (you must betray the party) -- what a fun wrench to throw in, especially given the low chance it will happen. The resolution system makes sense to me too! The way you've parceled it out into different card groups seems like a good way to resolve skills and abilities.

Would be nice to have: I dig the Act 1 / 2 / 3 thematic formatting, but it did throw me off a little. Read as written, it kind of implies that setting and character creation take a full two thirds of the game! And like, maybe that's the case, but I would guess that's not what you had in mind.

Anyway -- again, really solid work here. It's been fun exploring your submissions to the jam, and I'll be sad to not see more of them in the ocean of games I have yet to wade through! Haha.

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Nice to see a solo submission to the jam!

Favourite details: The two roll resolution is nice! I like that the player has the choice to gamble and improve their chances, and I like that the Bear table has mechanically distinct challenges. I don't envy you for the true story element of this, haha.

Would be nice to have: I feel like it would be cool for there to be tangible progress towards escape, even if you fail the helicopter roll -- maybe the target number lowering after a failed attempt? Just a thought -- it works as it is, and if the uncertainty of rescue is part of the thematic experience, I can dig that.

Thank you for sharing your work!

I have received your briefing, agent. Below, you will find my evaluation of your mission.

Favourite details: Clever to include gadgets in the rules. It's really appropriate for the theme, and I like the way it interacts with the stat system. I also like that there a Compromised status that impacts rolls -- because like, of course there should be, right? What's the point of a spy that's been outed? Oh, and the video is a nice touch, haha.

Would be nice to have: The art integrated into the rules themselves! You drew several pieces for the game, so it'd be nice to see that present in the text.

Thank you agent. This message will self-destruct in 5, 4, 3...

When I read the title I was like, I feel like this man is about to make me write an actual book report. And I was RIGHT. Which is fantastic, honestly; anything that pushes people towards more reading (and critical thinking!) is a great thing to create as far as I'm concerned.

Favourite details: The Western-centric callout was a strong detail that I think could have been easily overlooked. The resources and rubrics you're linking are great points of reference, too... after all, you're right that it's been decades for some of us. This is also the first pervasive game I've read in the jam so far -- that is to say, something that's not confined to a "gaming" session, instead reaching into your everyday life or activities.

Would be nice to have: I'm not sure everyone has access to a friend that teaches literature! Haha. I love the community creation alternative, though. Hopefully someone takes you up on the offer.

Great idea with this -- it's rare that games focus on dismantling a single powerful entity, even when they're otherwise focused on combat. As your long list of inspirations points out, it's definitely an established trope... so why not explore it in TTRPGs?

Favourite details: The hot and cold tokens are a really cool (ha) way to lay the groundwork for the climax. I particularly like that it means everything before the final fight matters, even if it's not moving in the "right" direction. And just speaking generally, I think the writing is really clear here! It's nice to see strong technical writing in an indie game, because sometimes that element falls to the wayside.

Would be nice to have: A link to your page or credits on the PDF! Credit where it's due, right? :)

Thank you! I really liked painting it.

Mine! Help! Aye!

Favourite details: I love the little prompt asking what the beard is decorated with. Because why shouldn't dwarves accessorize? The player communication restrictions are also hilarious, though I have a hard time wrapping my head around what gameplay looks like. Which leads to...

Maybe next time: I love a super minimalist system, but I'm a little lost at sea here! Haha. Is player action "completely random"? Is the resolution of dice (are there dice??) random? What's happening at the table if there's no GM and the players can only use three words? Lmao.

Still, I love your cover art. I'm going to go think about dwarves with decorated beards. Thanks for sharing your game!

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Echoing Jacob, this is a really interesting way of exploring the theme!

Favourite details: The dexterity element to the dice resolution is great, but what I really like is the clause for what happens when you roll on the border. I like that it could incentivize risky rolls (for some people) or just act as a fun answer to what might otherwise be a puzzling, hard-to-interpret result.

Maybe next time: I like that there's a theme that matches the mechanics, but I wouldn't have minded a little more about it! Possible threats, worldbuilding prompts, whatever. Could be fun to see a little more of the setting, or help players along in building it.

Thank you for sharing your work with us!

This is the first L&F hack I've looked at so far! And the first submitted to the jam (chronologically), so kudos for that. I really like that the two stats here are opposites, but you'd still roll for them in similar circumstances -- that's a key thing that I think some folks miss about the system, and you nailed it.

Favourite details: The aesthetic section is basically all gold -- really fun ideas in very few words. I also really dig the character goals -- especially the one that preoccupies the psychic with their own mystery. As a last prompt callout, "do nothing, really" for the overarching plot is a great inversion, and I love the idea that everyone's making a fuss over an arcane nothing. Ties well into the psych-ish direction.

Maybe next time: The rules are just a little small and the background is just a little too high-contrast for easy reading (for me!). Love seeing folks playing with cool formatting, but I would've been happy with something a little bit less busy.

Thank you for sharing your work with us!

I wanted to review this earlier, but I was out of bananas.

Favourite details: Lots of fun prompts here, and the whole concept is good goofy fun. Mace (medieval) and mace (spray) is pretty great. Would also have accepted the wildly unuseful mace (spice). Obviously the bananas rule is delightful too. From the final set of tables, my favourite entry is party bot, and my favourite table is... the last, deeply critical one to run the game (of course).

Maybe next time: I feel like you could -- if you wanted -- really channel your inner space stat and cut this bad boy down to only the weirdest, the zaniest, and the most fun prompts and rules. You definitely have a working game here, with a lot of great pieces! But I'm going to pull a classic teacher-picking-on-the-talented-student move and say that I would love to see you edit a little more ruthlessly and really run with your most gonzo ideas. Of course, I'm not your teacher. I'm just some guy.

Thanks so much for sharing your game with us! Very much in the vein of Howitt or Harper, and I think it would be a lot of fun to play at a con or with some beers. Hefeweizen, maybe. (That was another banana joke.)

Congrats on submitting to the jam! The theme of demigods navigating home is really fun -- lots of possible trouble they can get into, if my mythology memory serves me right...

Favourite details: The list of gods is great -- the idea of being a demigod of electricity or the cold is just inherently fun, and very much in line with Greek/Roman inspiration points. I also really like the mix of prompts for their possible return avenue, especially "phone booth" and "a magic pool of water".

Would be nice to have: A title in the document! The rule page doesn't have a title at the top, and the PDF is (adorably) just named "My one page rpg". If I download it, I don't have any record of who designed it or what it's called! Give yourself credit where it's due, haha.

Thank you for sharing your game with us!

I want to say that this looks like "good, campy fun," but I feel like the joke is too easy! Haha.

Favourite details: I mean, I'm sure you expected this feedback, but the map and icons are gorgeous and absolutely bring the whole setting to life. I feel like you drew the icons / map, too, which is just huge props from me. Love seeing other people doing both their own illustration and design. Oh, and specialties as "Merit Badges" is such a fun, evocative way to tie in the theme to character generation.

Maybe next time: The font looks great, but it's a little hard to read from farther away! I'm torn giving this feedback, because I do love the look, but I feel like (especially on the player page) it gets a little small.

Thank you for sharing your game with us!

I already pretty much covered this in the Discord, but I really like the story you paint here. :) Lots of really interesting prompts and setting leads that I feel like combine to make something even greater than the sum of its parts. I hope more people drop in to check out Grimsbury, because it's just cool.

(OH! I was meaning to tell you, just a few days ago, I read the term "ley lines" in a Neil Gaiman book and was like ohohooooo I know what that is now! So I owe you one for that, haha.)

Very cool! I'm a fan of maze themed games, partly just because you never know what you'll find. I won't comment on the system itself, since I'm not familiar with SGS, but I do like the way the counter interacts with the prompts.

Favourite details: "Is there anything else with the arrow?" is a great leading question that opens a lot of interesting narrative directions. I also really like 18's "what makes it safe?" (super evocative) and 19's "this section is artificial," which tells a story all in itself.