Un nouveau de kF, c’est toujours une fête, ne serait-ce que parce que ce sont toujours des bijoux d’écriture ramassée, et celui-ci ne fait pas exception à la règle. Le concept, ce sont de micro-parties, 5 minutes pas plus, à partir d’une chanson et de quelques mots (une liste, merveilleuse, est fournie à cet effet par l’autrice). Ce n’est rien que ça, mais je sais que ça peut marcher d’enfer, et j'ai une envie mordante d’essayer !
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This is in the role-playing section of itch.io but is not a role-playing game unless you stretch the definition of the medium like the most elastic of chewing gums. On the other hand, as a micro-fiction about the most fantastic pizzeria in the world and the philosophico-aesthetic experiments that can be done there, it is a little gem. It's hard for me to say more without totally giving away the text: take 5 minutes to read the whole thing, you won't regret it.
A very small game belonging to the BoB school offering the story of a mech and his pilot, with only two characters and two facets of the war, which is everywhere and devours everything. Add to this a mechanic adapted from Dread and its use of the Jenga tower, to vaguely make the game revolve around the myth of the Tower of Babel, and you get something very evocative and clever.
I had been surprised by the first edition of this Belonging Outside Belonging game, which attracted me at first by its rather naive and clumsy cover, reflecting in my opinion the game's purpose: to play a bunch of losers in a small British town where toxic barrels are dumped from the neighboring factory; a bunch of irradiated losers, who don't really belong here, but wouldn't know where to go if they left. The 2nd edition is not much prettier than the first one, but it is full of intelligent additions, including excellent advice on how to set up a game of any BoB game, including on the long term, with a really great calendar principle (adapted from Wanderhome). A great read, even more so that I would have thought at first!
The proof of the quality of Adam Vass's creations is everywhere in this 2nd edition of a game released a few years ago, which I had tested in a one-shot just after discovering the great Beyond the Garden Wall series. Babes in the Wood uses the same codes: you play as lost children in mysterious and dark woods, who will meet extraordinary fauna and inhabitants, mingle with an ecosystem full of quests and problems to solve, confront their own fears more or less embodied, and, maybe, go back home. This 2nd edition of the game seems to me to add a lot of little rules that make both the strength and the weakness of the games propelled by the apocalypse, welcome examples, a suggestion to play without a GM, and so on... I write "seems to me" because I did not go as far as to make comparisons, but anyway this 2nd edition seems to me largely superior to the previous one!
Adam Vass is definitely a very talented creator, and if his games are not all equal, they are never uninteresting. Cobwebs, in which a protagonist is looking for a missing loved one and discovers strange and dark facts around this disappearance,is chock-full of clever ideas, from the use of a multi-functional game board to the presentation of semi-filled canvases allowing a whole bunch of different atmospheres and universes with the same atmosphere, and I haven't even talked about its pretty layout full of false secrets; in short, if you like role-playing games pushing to the strange and unsettling investigation, Cobwebs is almost a must-have!
I really like role-playing games with asynchronous mechanics, i.e. where each player doesn't play the same way (and I'm not just talking about the GM/player division). Badger + Coyote is a very cute example of that: you play as the two animals of the title who wander around the countryside looking for food, one using his social skills, the other one using his hunting skills. The goal is to find food without becoming too much of a stranger to your friend, so there are two different and combined rule systems. It's very cute, it's very pretty, and it's a very good idea, so it's a very good game.
There's no end to putting indie role-playing games into shakers and making new games out of the resulting mixes. This latest cocktail remixes Mausritter (itself already a cocktail of other influences) by keeping the formula of animals facing the wide world but adding a very strong exploration component, as well as a curious (in the sense of "it tickles my curiosity") burrow expansion principle not far from a tower defense video game logic. All this being said, the game is still in alpha phase and the current document seems to require a bit of work to make it playable, unfortunately. I'm still very hopeful it'll turn out something great!
Jay Dragon's next game, presented here in demo version, has an already very enticing pitch (we play slices of the lives of travelers and employees of a more or less magical Bed & Breakfast) but also combines two excellent concepts, one of which I think is unheard of in the role-playing game world: a division into chapters that are each governed by more or less different rules depending on the atmosphere and the characters (because you only play this game with pre-starters), and a rather pronounced legacy aspect, with stickers to unlock via the evolution of the characters and scenarios, to unlock new characters and new chapters... It's a huge potentiality that opens up with such a concept and I can't wait to discover it in its published form to dream about it even more!
Godtalker Nobody is a very attractive and efficient game: you play (alone) an average somebody who suddenly finds himself a prophet, and you follow his journey through the United States as omens and strange situations fall upon him. It's really not far from a Neil Gaiman atmosphere, and it's damn good.
Here's a very solarpunk single player game where you play as a tinkerer in a post-apocalyptic world full of nature and non-violence; the game revolves around space exploration and community discovery, all the while integrating a very videogame-like tinkering system where you nest Tetris pieces on large grids to build things for yourself and those you live with. The game may have a bit too much randomness for me, but it has a really well thought out and surprisingly dense mechanic, which also proves that a system without real adversity can still be very interesting and integrate failure in an elegant way (here, with the pieces of our tinkerings rotting little by little and can give rise to a bit more negative scenes than in the rest of the game). I finished my reading with the impression that it lacked a little something to make Scraps a real good game, but as it is, it is already very striking!
Sur les Frontières est un jeu qui commence à accuser un peu son âge en termes de mécanique de jeu, mais quelle proposition géniale que d’incarner de jeunes nobliaux qui vont perdre leur innocence au fil d’un voyage dans les confins de leur empire ! Le jeu est certes fort bien mis en valeur par ses illustrations, mais c’est un peu dommage que ses meilleures idées (faire vieillir les personnages entre chaque session de jeu, les faire traverser douze moments de doute…) soient rangées à la fin du livre, sans qu’il en soit question auparavant, alors que ce sont pour moi les arguments de vente du jeu ! Bref, ça reste une lecture toujours aussi stimulantes, et la preuve que Melville faisait déjà d’excellents jeux dès le départ !
PS. Je vous conseille de le jouer avec les excellentes règles de Verticales, également de Melville et disponible pas très loin d'ici !
Given my obsessive love of Itras By, it should come as no surprise that I'll jump on any role-playing game that claims to be surreal; that it's also the work of Cezar Capacle is just the icing on the cake! It's difficult to describe Lisergia because it would seem that it's just automatic writing exercises with a hint of game mechanics, but it's a bit more than that: if the game itself is indeed limited to providing everything we need to let go of our psyche (and that's not bad at all), it also provides many tools (random tables, card design method...) that would have a perfect place in other parallel universes. Why not in the city of Itra?
I've been eyeing this game for a while, with its use of playing cards to model the mansion where the characters are, and its mix between board game and role playing game... Indeed, there is probably not so much role-playing in this crazy party during which characters will kill each other, in order to be the last one to get the inheritance, by collecting as many objects as possible in order to happily murder the other guests and protect themselves from their assaults. It looks like a really fun game, probably easily playable with non-role players, and I'd like to take it out sometime!
Despite appearances, the only thing that brings these two games together in one collection is the fact that they use the Belonging Outside Belonging system (in a very classic way, by the way, which surprised me a bit) and that they are about fantasy. Venture is a bit of a BoB equivalent of Dungeon World, meaning that it looks like an excellent game for epic and slightly introspective adventures in a very classic fantasy world; a nice achievement that might become my reference game for such atmospheres, if I ever come back to it. Dungeon promises something more ambitious: playing teenagers who themselves play a fantasy RPG, taking advantage of it to vent their problems and express their desires. The pitch is incredible and, as you might expect, the result is not quite there: while the roguelike universe is very well transcribed, there is absolutely nothing to embody these teenagers in their daily life (some booklets even have only moves dedicated to their RPG characters!), whereas the heart of the game was, for me, there. One out of two successful games is not bad, and Venture/Dungeon has the potential to become a more conventional counterpart to Dream Askew/Dream Apart in the future.
I have a weakness for heist games: they are scenarios that work very well in role-playing, with well identified characters and objective and a thousand ways to make variations around simple schemes. Busted! doesn't reinvent the genre, but it's packed with little mechanics that emulate the risk-taking aspect of such an operation quite well, with the threat of getting caught before escaping always hanging overhead. A very stimulating read for a very promising game!
This little game-which-is-not-a-game is very modestly great: a concept of character creation rather than a game, which supposedly came to the author in a dream and which consists, basically, in getting inspired by where you are right now (hey, that's the title!) to create your character. It's not revolutionary, but it's very nice and free, and that's not bad!
This is a game played in a car, where you play as a driver transporting a mysterious cargo in a sticky atmosphere, with a system based on the FM band navigation... As it is, the game is not far from a "Choose your own adventure" system, and probably causes some dissonance between what the text tells and what you live behind the wheel, but it makes me dream of other more interactive proposals based on the same model...
With its look reminding me of handwritten role-playing games, Nightmare in Dreamland sets its dreamlike atmosphere in a very efficient way, with a rather nice system derived from John Harper's Lasers & Feelings and everything you need on the GM's side to generate a scenario on the go. It's the kind of game that's simple but that hits the spot and that I keep in a corner of my head to steal bits and pieces from time to time!
A very small role-playing game inspired by Belonging Outside Belonging and especially Thursday; you play as two holidaygoers in a hotel who are trying to remember what they did there last year. It has a good Last Year at Marienbad vibe to it, and I was totally won over by Last Year, wich, in two pages (and with a really nice layout) manages to evoke a lot more than many other games in dozens of chapters!
Hey, that's so awesome!! Thanks so much for playing my game, I'm over the moon you enjoyed it!
I think the playtime indicated was before I playtested the game and made some adjustement, which might explain the discrepancy. That, and my ever so still optimism ;)
Nevertheless, I'll update the page so it reflects reality better!
I have a soft spot for games where one of the principles is to tear paper. This one-page game uses the gimmick beautifully, having us play as castaways on a raft that will become full of holes as the game progresses and the characters sacrifice their precious possessions. It is, like many great ideas, very strong in its simplicity.
A solo role-playing game with a very particular atmosphere, where you play as a kind of stellar vampire who wants to improve the world in which they live. It already gives a unique color to the game, which is also based on a legacy principle: after playing, you can record an audio message that can be consulted by all future players, a kind of testimony of ancestors that future descendants can use, both narratively and mechanically. This is the kind of principle that can only work if the game is popular, so I'm doing my part!
I had read good things about this game system a while ago, and it's true that it has something to reconcile me with Blades in the Dark, with its impeccable mechanics but with its deceptively heroic and really gnarly narrative. Here it's a version of the thing that is both simplified and transformed like modeling clay that is offered to us: a flexible and inventive system, allowing probably quite a few styles of games without too much effort. I read all this with a purely theoretical interest, but if I were a fan of systems to keep on hand for improvised games, mole.mole would certainly be on my list.
Aside from a title that's perfect in its alliteration, this little role-playing game has a nice setting, that of a community of mutant musicians in a post-apocalyptic world that's a little messy. Nothing extremely new under the radioactive sun, but a series of random tables, each more inspiring than the other, whether it's stories about arms or songs of all styles, and some well thought-out little narrative stakes mechanics, the kind I'm keeping in a corner of my head just in case, for later...
Hack/Cash encapsulates the essence of the heist game in one page, with complementary characters who have a problematic past behind them, a meticulous plan that doesn't turn out the way it should, and all that kind of stuff. It's really a model of the genre, except for maybe a random table that's a little too absurd!
La géniale Lisa a publié discrètement pour son anniversaire ce jeu de rôle en solo prenant une forme que j’affectionne, celle d’un guide du Routard imaginaire ; l’occasion de profiter de son goût pour les graphismes passés à travers une machine maudite des années 1990, son appétence pour l’humour douteux et la vraie magie qui se dégage de tout cela. Je ne jouerai probablement pas à ce jeu, mais le feuilleter c’est déjà se plonger dans une ambiance tout à fait particulière, et il y a peu de jeux, même bien plus aboutis, qui arrivent à cela…
J’avais relu il y a quelques temps ce jeu de vampires mélodramatique et je le découvre aujourd’hui dans sa version finale, à la maquette super créative (parfois un peu trop) et au texte simple, fluide et efficace. Peu de mécaniques dans ce jeu au titre à rallonge, simplement la promesse d’incarner des êtres torturés, habités par un Diable qui chuchote (littéralement) à leurs oreilles, puissant mais mesquin comme un amant possessif. Bref, on est bien loin des jeux du Monde des Ténèbres de la belle époque, mais beaucoup plus proche de quelque chose que j’aurais envie d’explorer aujourd’hui…
Let's be honest: I would never have read this game if it hadn't been part of a big bundle I bought on itch and if I hadn't noticed that its cover was designed by the wonderful momatoes. It's worth reading despite all that, even if it's a game propelled by the apocalypse that doesn't bring much to the already overflowing corpus: because it's a game where you play strangers in a big city, displaced people who arrived there by chance and have to make a place for themselves in a setting that doesn't really want them, young people who inherited the trauma of their parents and aren't sure of what to do with it. These are themes that are rarely tackled head on in role-playing and I'm not sure I'd want to deal with them in play, but it's good to be confronted with them from time to time...
There are countless alpha, 0.1, draft games on itch that we are told will one day be developed and released in their final form. I never really believe it and I don't believe it for a second in the case of Rogueyard; and that's a shame, because the promise of playing as dead thieves who remember their last crimes was beautiful. A game where you play in the past tense the last events before the death of the characters is so appealing to me… I want to keep hoping!
A 4-page game that slams with its effectiveness. Judge for yourself: the queen is dead and we are gathered around her body; we remember her reign, the good times and the bad; we hide our resentment and contain our love. It's all based on a system of choices to be checked and colored stones to be distributed and it's devilishly effective; the kind of game to put in your bag and take out at the first opportunity.
A single player game in which you explore a mysterious castle in search of your memories. It's a bit like Escape from Demon Castle Dracula, another game present on this website; the big difference is that here a lot of things (maybe too much) are left up to the player: why are we there? Who do we fight? When does the game end? Everything is open-ended, underpinned by a mechanic that is not revolutionary but adds some clever additions to well-trodden paths. I prefer its vampiric cousin but it's still a very interesting game!
Un petit jeu de rôle fortement inspiré par Fall of Magic et traduit en français par l’ami Matthieu, l’Automne des géants propose de tisser une histoire sans conflits ou presque, toute axée autour de la lente migration et des humains qui l’accompagnent. Le principe de jeu est simplissime (on arrive sur un lieu, on le décrit sommairement, on y joue quelques scènes puis on le quitte en racontant comment il nous a changé) et cela donne envie de l’appliquer à bien d’autres cadres. En attendant, on prendra un gentil géant par la main et on l’emmènera dans les collines jonchées de feuilles mortes.
A little role-playing game that's adapted from a Sokopop video game where you apparently play a young girl climbing a mountain that becomes more and more labyrinthine and psychedelic. The game is very nice and even if I'd prefer a more poetic and flexible vision, it is still tempting!
I was attracted to this game because of its low price, its presentation for once quite complete (a rare feat on itch.io) and its principle which seemed close to one of my games.
In it, you play a team of apprentice magicians and related trying to cross a series of escape rooms semi-improvised by the GM; the whole principle is based on gap-filling texts and word banks, with a system that is quite tightly packed (I had to reread the text several times to have a beginning of understanding of how it works) but that seems to me quite efficient!
A little epistolary role-playing game with a simple concept: you provide your recipient with a standard "Choose Your Own Adventure Book" outline, customized to your liking, and you count on the barcodes affixed by the French Post Office to act as random skill scores. Simple, and brilliant!
A mini-RPG where one part of the players plays monsters, and another part plays the kids who come across them and make friends with them. The idea is cute and well presented, the asymmetrical system is pretty clever, there's just enough for a GM to build a fun game out of it, what more could you want?