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I’ve been thinking a lot about “Brain Worms.” 

Patchwork World is unconcerned with convention, it does not care about white space or polish. It is a text that cares about its reader, future players, and trusts they will care more about its content than its cover. It’s a game that I want so badly to be the model for indie designers everywhere, because it’s first and foremost about its words. 

The premise of Spire is made apparent from the first page. You play as drow, dark elves, who live in a mile-high city, resisting the oppressive regime of the aelfir, the high elves who conqured Spire two hundred years ago. Howitt and Taylor make the players’ objective explicit: The story of Spire is one of rebellion.  

thank you so much Jeff!!!

With a solid core of prompts and scenes to help players simulate a day in the life of a professional duelist, Corps a Corps ramps up wonderfully into emotional and tense battles that resolve into a satisfying climax. 

Traysikel is a solid, quick-paced module that never takes its eyes off the prize. Use the tools of your oppressors against them, struggle against waves of ruthless colonizers, and if you’re lucky, tip the scales in favor of all-out rebellion. 

I think Into the a perfect example of how to straddle the line between lore-dump and plot hook, a text that’s full of interesting, weird details that provoke far more questions than it answers. In twenty short pages, Riverlands describes a fantasy world of crumbling empires, thriving cities, and awe-inspiring forests, while leaving off loose ends and lingering questions ripe for answering through play. While it still has plenty enough substance to draw a map, it’s absolutely full of ambiguous Proper Nouns that will have you saying, “Oh shit, I can do something wild with this.” 

When reading Sam Mui’s Capitalites, I could not stop thinking about archetypes, and the ways in which we construct and perform identity.

thanks so much for looking through my work!! 

The quality and scope of files up on itchio varies dramatically, but the fact is people love making games. The current “industry” of tabletop games is a mess, but the thing that endears me so deeply to indie games is that they are, by and large, labors of love. 

Untitled Moth Game is certainly no exception.

Thank you so much!! 

I learned about Viditya Violeti’s Bloodbeam Badlands last year when I was researching Dicebreaker’s nominees for rising star tabletop designers, and was immediately sold on its concept. People sometimes make fun of the indie tabletop scene for the esoteric and odd games we sometimes put out, but Badlands is a prime example of why that weirdness is the best part of independent game design.

thanks so much for your kind words! 

I’ve been excited about Apocalypse Frame for a while.

A strategic solo journaling game built on Blades in the Dark mechanics, this game takes a fascinating look at the political and logistical realities of revolution, and gives players the choice to determine whether this one follows historical trends, or becomes immortalized in stories through the ages. 

Heard this game played on Friends at the Table, it absolutely rules!


I hope I get a chance to play Mausritter someday. It channels that same sense of adventure and excitement as the media that inspires it, and that cannot be discounted.

   But for me? Mausritter nails the terror of being small. And in an RPG scene where heroes are nigh-unkillable, facing down dragons without a second thought, I think it’s good to be reminded that we live alongside real life dragons every day.

Asercion, who’s probably best known in the indie scene for their phenomenal Microscope hack, i’m sorry did you say street magic, uses the tried-and-true method of deck-based prompts to allow players to design their own fantastical animals and direct their own nature documentaries. With gorgeous art by Si F. Sweetman, it’s a wonderful exercise in creature design and worldbuilding.

That’s where Beak, Feather, and Bone bleeds over from fantasy worldbuilding into the actual politics of cartography. The lines you draw in BFB assert a truth about the world, that your faction actually can and does enforce a claim on specific buildings and regions of the map. But in a game where your map is both objectively accurate and also designed by multiple factions with competing agendas, it makes me wonder how strong a particular crow-person’s hold on that nice duplex might actually be.

Influenced by Three Houses and Naruto, but also by Gundam and Friends at the Table’s “Counter/Weight” season, Spectres is a game that explicitly emulates stories about students facing each other across battlefields, torn between the love they once shared and their devotion to their causes. It’s exactly the kind of narrative-focused game I want to see in the world, and I’m so glad it’s finally being released. Go to class, have big feelings, and have it all fall apart as the world is consumed by mecha warfare. High school never ends, you just graduate to the frontlines. 

Mui surprised me by saying that Lumen Ryder is ultimately not a system about combat, but instead one that uses combat as an expression of personality and identity. And if you dig into the themes, mechanics, and tokusatsu’s history of selling toys to children, I think they’re right. 

Using the language of cinema to guide players through the last scenes of their campaign, World Ending Game gently, but firmly, nudges your characters through moments of closure. It allows you to linger in nostalgia for the stories you’ve told, but ultimately asks you to draw the curtain. It’s keenly concerned with ensuring everyone has a satisfying end. But after the credits roll, it is still very much the end. 

Anamnesis is about deciding who you are in spite of who you’ve been. Your memories, even if they’re forgotten or manufactured, aren’t as important as what you do with what time you still have. Your past is undoubtedly important, and it may follow you long after you’ve forgotten it. But it’s not some all-powerful force like gravity or destiny. With time, even the past can be re-written. And the good news is: you always have time to become someone new.

Houses of the Sun by Night is more than just a series of minigames. It’s an invitation to try something, to expand your understanding of what a TTRPG can be. While its flavor text is astounding, and it provides an incredible variety of interstitial games to easily slot into an ongoing campaign, Houses is weird in the best way possible, in a way I’m desperately trying to achieve in my own writing. I’m so happy I found this text.

Clean Spirit is a game about shelter, relationships, and disappointment, and it hit me real hard

I liked this game a normal amount

Glad you liked it, good luck with crowdfunding!

Earnest without being overbearing, and simple without being flimsy, Broken is a tragic LARP that embraces the physical struggle of emotional turmoil .

What Dust Remains, written by 2022 Diana Jones Emerging Designer Award winner Momatoes, asks players to go behind the scenes of the accomplished and powerful, take up the mantle of legacy, and try to build something that will eclipse you, even at the cost of the things you hold most dear.

Brumal/Vernal is a two player epistolary (letter writing) game written by Armanda Haller. Its name refers to the character types inhabited by each player: one of you will be a witch of Winter, one a witch of Spring. Together, you’ll collaborate on a quilt, and in 8 to 20 letters will create your patches, catch your counterpart up on happenings in your neck of the woods, and trade recipes and magical secrets.

More important than its cozy vibes and natural themes, however, is the medium in which you play Brumal/Vernal. While you could send letters over email or one of a half dozen instant messaging platforms, to get its full impact, I firmly believe you need to play it by mail. Because at its core, this is a game about longing. 

Navathem’s End, written by Sinta Posadas and Pamela Punzalan, not only achieved the fantasy of expanding a D&D campaign, but elevated it into an entire book. It turns characters from Posadas and Punzalan’s previous game into saints, inspiring a new generation of heroes to look to the past in order to salvage a world that was broken long ago. Absolutely stuffed with lore and employing a blend of Forged in the Dark (FITD) and Powered by the Apocalypse (PBTA)  mechanics, Navathem’s End is a robust game that will appeal to both D&D players and indie enthusiasts.

Sageuk: Roleplay in Joseon, is the perfect RPG to dive into the political and personal conflicts that make “K-dramas” beloved. Written by Bryon Casebolt of Hessan’s County, Sageuk cannot be described as anything other than the product of genuine devotion and meticulous research into the people and setting of the Joseon Dynasty. Using a unique blend of the Five Powers dice system and Harmony Drive SRD, Sageuk takes staples of TTRPG design and twists them into an utterly fascinating game.

Far Horizons Guide to Cults is an excellent example of the myriad ways cults can be inserted into any tabletop campaign to add intrigue and excitement. As part of their ongoing Kickstarter campaign, they released two sample factions in their preview, which will be the subject of this review. After looking them over, I was impressed with Far Horizons’ sample cults. Each holds unique beliefs and practices that don’t fall into boring stereotypes, and can be easily adapted to any setting. 

Galactic asks players to consider the relationships between characters, work together to weave an interesting narrative, and engage with the themes of resistance, mysticism, and hope that are at the core of the best Star Wars stories. 

On October 5th, 2021, Lex Kim Bobrow, or TitanomachyRPG on Twitter, released the first iteration of what is now known as the Caltrop Core SRD. Named by Dicebreaker as one of the “best tabletop RPG systems to hack into a custom game,” the Caltrop Core is the foundation for over one hundred TTRPGs.

I’m fairly new to the TTRPG scene. I didn’t even know about until the middle of 2020, and didn’t plug into the indie Twitter community until 2021. Slayers, a rules-light monster-fighting RPG by Spencer Campbell, was published in September of 2020, and the experience of reading it over the past few weeks makes me wish to God I had been following its launch.

Using the Powered by the Apocalypse framework, Interstitial provides all the tools you need to traverse various worlds, smash IPs together, and weave your own indecipherable story about the ties that bind us.

With simple mechanics that constantly ratchet up tension, Breathless is an excellent way to drop into a world where everything is out to kill you, and see if you’ve got what it takes to make it through another bloody day.