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Dyvers Hands Productions

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A member registered Oct 11, 2019 · View creator page →

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You might find my booklet folding video a little easier: 

We've added to the FAQ:

  • But  “I do reviews, live streams and videos” or “I'm an experienced play tester!” We are glad to offer a free code for access to all of these games to qualified people. Just contact us at Team@DyversHands.com with your bonafides and your itch.io email address, and we'll send you a code.

We do give free access to this area to our active testers. There are an also number of people who offered constructive feedback or marketing help who also have access here.

But we offered an advanced Kickstarter tier that included access to future versions, which a number of supporters selected, so we needed to have an area for them.

Now that the Kickstarter is over we also wanted to make these available to others that want to support the game. 

So how is this that different than say Patreon, which charges monthly for exclusive access? We just charge once. Or think of it as a private group that anyone can join even if they don’t playtest.

I also believe it to be a good value — you get access to all of our games, both past (through print-n-play & codes for cards at POD cost), and future through playtest files.

Are you exclusively an itch.io player? Do you support any creators other ways, via Patreon or other means? What other ways to you suggest creatives fund their games? 

Have you tried out our “pay what you want” core rules or community copies? Or purchased an inexpensive storyset? Give us some constructive feedback or report on results of actual play, and I’d be glad to give you a code for this area.

— Christopher Allen

A minor update today after a copy editing pass (Thanks Shannon!) ,  that moves the new cards from v0 ⚓️ to v1 ⚓️. The new filename is "Tableau - Storyset - Tidal Secrets (r1 2022-10b US Letter Booklet RGB).pdf".

For those of you interested in my numbering system, I now make a distinction between element card versions (v0, v1, etc) vs minor revs (v1b). "v-" means first unplaytested, unedited draft, v0 means unedited, and v1 is the first version that has at least some playtesting and has a solid edit pass by something other than me.

The version of the current card-based playsets (released in the last Kickstarter) are listed on the box and title card as v1 for their overall release version, but to make it more distinct, I'm starting to instead  " r1" for the overall current release version, and will at some point change the old decks. Longer term, I will move to a more major overall release (where many cards have changed or there is a big format/style change) , and the next one would be r2, but not until at least mid-2024.

-- Christopher Allen

(1 edit)

Our first playtest files for upcoming Lovecraft Country card-based Playset 🎞️ are available now in the Tidal Secrets ⚓️ in our Booklet Storyset 📖 format. Just ‘Print-N-Fold’!

  • Dive into the abyss of Tidal Secrets ⚓️ where ancient tales meld with the ocean’s roar, guiding the curious and ensnaring the unwary. A two-booklet Storyset 📖 with five Story Elements 📖, and our first playtest files for Lovecraft Country
    • Setting Lovecraft Country 🏘️: Venture through a land haunted by its own myths. Here, every wind whispers an old tale, every creak could be a beckoning from the deep.
    • Setting Innsmouth 🏘️: Etched by time and tides, this quaint seafaring village echoes with the breath of the sea. Tradition seeps through its winding cobblestone streets, aged houses, and salt-encrusted boats, crafting a rhythm of life as enduring as the sea’s tides.
    • Theme Family of Origin 💢: Dive deep into the heart of relationships, where every shared memory might be a treasure and every secret, a potential tempest.
    • Genre Beats Generations 🥁: Embark on an odyssey through time, witnessing the rise and ebb of a family's legacy. But be wary, for every era brings its own trials.
    • Faction: Kin of the Deep 🫂: Engage with the veiled guardians of the abyss. Some seek to preserve age-old rituals, some long for transformation, while others guard their secrets with a fierce determination.

My intention with this Storyset 📖  is to give you a taste of the direction I'm taking with the upcoming version of the Lovecraft Country: ‘A Study in Madness’ Playset 🎞️. Drawing inspiration from Lovecraft's "The Shadow over Innsmouth," you can either recreate the original short story or diverge significantly from it.

With the Innsmouth 🏘️ Setting, I aimed to make it adaptable to a broader range of stories, which could be set years before or long after the tragedy associated with the Innsmouth Look. Similarly, the Kin of the Deep 🫂 Faction can be approached traditionally but can also accommodate a distinct narrative where you empathize with a unique oppressed culture and its people.

While you can craft an Innsmouth narrative using the classic Plot-Focused Story 🥁 Beats (from the Core Rules ꩜ Booklet), I wanted to provide an alternative with a different style of story pacing—the expansive "family saga" of Generations 🥁 Beats. I've yet to explore it, but the Inner Calling 🥁 Beats (also from the Core Rules ꩜ Booklet) told the perspective of a Kin of the Deep's transformation could be captivating. Given the family ties in both, I've incorporated the Family of Origin 💢 Theme from the Improv Playset 🎞️, which I believe adds a unique spin to both Family stories and Innsmouth tales.

This segues into a brief discussion of one of the primary challenges with a Lovecraft Country Playset 🎞️. Crafting horror stories in TTRPGs has always been a complex endeavor. The issues of player consent in horror, especially in a GM-less cooperative game, combined with taking inspiration from a notably racist and misogynistic Lovecraft, make it even more challenging. With just these few cards, my objective is to encourage storytellers to view these issues from a fresh perspective. I eagerly await your feedback on whether I've succeeded, and constructive feedback if I can do better.

-- Christopher Allen

With the release of Tableau Core and the initial three Storysets 📖, I wrote up a Dev Blog Post on "The Changing Face of Tableau:  how changes to format also change game design" to discuss the evolution of the format of Tableau Games, from its initial design in Gate Watch 2019, to the most recentTableau Core release in its ‘Print'N'Fold’ booklet format.

The new Tableau Booklet 📖 format was developed as the previous ‘Print-N-Cut’ format for cards didn't work easily for double-sided printing at home, and cutting out cards proved tedious for most of the playtesters. The latency from when I updated a set of cards at DriveThruCards, had them printed and delivered to me, and then sending them along to the playtesters, was also far too long. This new format uses an origami-inspired design that supports an easier ‘Print-N-Fold’ experience when printing from home, and this format offers some new opportunities despite some flexibility limitations. My hope is that this new format will make Tableau’s storygames more accessible and make playtesting new games and ideas easier.

I also felt that having available a format with more immediate gratification and making available small, inexpensive Storysets 📖 might help with marketing the system, in particular on itch.io.

I have some longer-term thoughts about the game design opportunities for this format. For instance, booklets make it easier to choose one from three related Story Elements 📖 or to use three different Elements 📖 in sequence, much easier than with individual poker-sized cards. There are also opportunities to choose from checkboxes and write notes on the pages which are not easy with poker cards.  As an ‘Advanced Playtester’ you'll see some examples of these ideas in the near future.

What is your experience with the  Tableau Booklet 📖 format so far? 

-- Christopher Allen

🌟 Welcome Advanced Playtesters

Hello, and a warm welcome to all the enthusiasts who've joined us as ‘Advanced Playtesters’! We're thrilled to have you on board as we shape the future of Tableau Games together. Here, you will be the first to have a chance to try out our upcoming Playsets 🎞️ and Storysets 📖.

🔥 Your Role:

  • Play and Explore: Dive deep into our games before the public release.
  • Feedback & Suggestions: Help us polish the gameplay by sharing experiences. Your valuable insights will forge the paths of the final release.
  • Be the Creative Catalyst: Contribute a new Rule or Story Element, provide lots of detailed feedback, create an explanatory video or demo, or offer some other significant contribution, and you'll find yourself titled as a ‘Creative Contributor’ with due recognition and a free copy of the final product!

🟢 How to Get Started:

  1. If you haven’t already, 👉 "Become an ‘Advanced Playtester’" by opting in for a one-time fee of $50.
  2. Start exploring 🔍 "Available Now to Advance Playtesters" section to download Playsets 🎞️ and Storysets 📖 from those in the near-final stage to those in early development.
  3.  Contact Us with any queries or assistance needed.

💬 Community Discussions:

This itch.io community discussion area is a space for collaborative exploration and constructive discussions. Share your experiences, ask questions, propose suggestions, and connect with fellow playtesters and our game designers. See the Community Guidelines for itch.io community policy.

🚀 Let’s Make Magic Happen!

Let us dive into uncharted narrative waters  and elevate Tableau Games to new heights of storytelling, gameplay, and shared experiences. Here’s to many adventures, heartfelt stories, suspenseful mysteries, and the many treasures we will discover together!

Happy Playtesting, and remember “The best stories are the ones we tell together!”

You did get what you needed, right?

Are any of these GMless?

(please note that I claimed one of the community copies because I purchased the game at full price at the last Big Bad Con in Walnut Creek.)