Indie game storeFree gamesFun gamesHorror games
Game developmentAssetsComics

Paolo Jose Cruz

A member registered Jan 27, 2018 · View creator page →

Creator of

Recent community posts

(1 edit)

Haven't played it yet. But in theory, the combination of move + token economy seems really well-implemented!

A bit unclear on how failed rolls are resolved. Let's use the Hot Pocket scenario. 

* Do the players agree beforehand that the Hot Pocket was found missing from the refrigerator on Y date at X time?  

* Or is that a component of the first accusing player's Query (and therefore X time and Y date can be contradicted by a future Query)?

Now let's say that player A spends the first Query token to target player B. Player B has already declared that:

(i) they work as a freelance coder

(ii) they are vegetarian 

(iii) they have a romantic partner "D" , who isn't a roommate

After spending the Query token, A claims B invited D over on Y-day at X o'clock, and let D eat the Hot Pocket. 

As an Alibi, B claims they had an anniversary dinner with D (+1) at Meat Is Murder on that day, so they wouldn't have the means or opportunity. And besides, D is vegan, so neither of them would have motive to eat a Bacon and Cheddar Hot Pocket anyway. 

* Is there another +1 for the vegetarian trait? 

Let's say B then rolls a natural 2, so they take a Suspicion token. 

That means at least one of these statements must be a lie: 

- B&D's anniversary 

- the dinner at Meat Is Murder 

- the timing of the dinner

- D being a vegan

* Can player A (and C?) insist that *all* those claims are false? 

* Can player A (and C?) now make counter-statements, which are marked on the character sheet for future rounds? For example:

- B posted a photo with D on Instagram, taken inside the apartment, and time-stamped at X o'clock on Y-day. 

- The Hot Pockets were actually vegan-friendly. 

- Player A was at Meat Is Murder during that time, and did not see B&D. (If so, can this be marked on A's character sheet to use as a +1 if A mentions it in an Alibi?)

Curious about the criteria for what may be treated as factual precedent during succeeding rounds. 

A few disclaimers before I comment:

At best, I'm a Fake Fighting Game Nerd. I grew up with the old-school classics, but I was absolute crap at playing them.

I've never taken part in the FGC, and lots of my knowledge is second-hand from acquaintances. I'm familiar with the concepts -- frame data, hit/hurtboxes, meaties, all that -- because it's relevant to some of my freelance work. But otherwise, I am a filthy button-masher who plays fighting games only casually. 

That said:

  • This seems like a potentially well-executed way to capture the fighting game vibe on the tabletop, without bogging down the process with unnecessary math and crunch.
  • The varying dice pools is particularly clever mechanic, even if it moves the game away from baseline PbtA.
  • I could have missed it, but the Game Manual doesn't seem to mention how to calculate starting Max HP and Max EX. Will those be specified in dedicated playbooks? 
  • Speaking of playbooks, really eager to see what kind of skins you come up with, if any. I'm guessing these would be built around specific combination of flavor + moveset? 
  • What kind of visuals did you have in mind?

I'm open to help playtest this, if I found the right group.

By the way, for Goon Jam, I made Goon Fighter, my own TRPG influenced by fighting games (although it also has beat-em-up elements). Admittedly, mine is more flavor-driven. The gameplay elements aren't implemented nearly as well as yours. Any kind of honest feedback would be most welcome!

I think I've got a firm enough grasp of the spirit of this jam. One technical question though:

Can we use affordable, generic toys that aren't necessarily designed as weapons per se? 

Case in point: there are multiple kinds of toy guns that fire soap bubbles. These definitely meet the "toy weapon" definition. And they could be used as a  conflict resolution mechanic based on several criteria: 

  • greatest number of bubbles
  • largest bubble size 
  • furthest distance travelled before popping 
  • most time spent in tact

However, there seem to be far more non-mechanical soap bubble wand kits than bubble guns. 

In this case, it would be more accessible to design a game around bubble wands (even if they are less likely to qualify as toy weapons). 

And of course, if the game has a wizardry/spellcasting flavor, the wands might even be more thematically appropriate too. 

How do we limit the scope for that? 

  • Possibly one of the most cohesive settings in this jam. A solid case study in designing game mechanics to reinforce flavor. 
  • Call me biased, but mean-spirited dunking on the Smurfs guarantees a 4-star rating, at nimimum. 
  • Impressive table of thematic abilities! 
  • Gear options make clever use of the PC's mini scale. 
  • The variety of suggested encounters opens up a lot of possibilities. Even the throwaway gag about hippies is actually a potentially terrifying plot hook.
(2 edits)

My personal take: Tunnel Goons is defined by its straightforward action roll resolution. For better or worse, it's characterized by pass/fail zero-sum terms. 

Degrees of Success only matters when chopping away additional HP. But it doesn't add narrative flourish the way it would in, say, FATE. 

Other hacks may change how inventory is handled, or add a secondary risk factor (aside from losing HP) but the 2d6 + bonuses is always there. 

By introducing Gambles, Stunts, and Advantage Dice, it fits the genre 100%, and creates a more distinct play experience. But it also deviates fundamentally from the core simplicity of Tunnel Goons rule set.  

  • Definitely a setting that appeals to my sensibilities.
  • Could have done more to sell the thematic flavor, especially for the Communist aspects.
    • Would have benefited from sample locations and/or enemies
    • Suggested weapons or vehicles would have been helpful to sell the motif.
  • Another possibility: specific mechanics for using vehicles and equipment, especially for combat situations. 

Doesn't need to be overly complex. Just enough to distinguish your personal vision from the basic Tunnel Goons rules.

I'll address the elephant in the room: the flavor and setting for this hack overlaps with my own entry. I did my best to rate this on its own merits, without comparing it to Goon Fighter. That said:

  • Nice layout. Mixes theme and function very effectively.
  • Great idea to spell out explicit rules for multiple attackers. Makes perfect sense for the genre.
  • Would have preferred if the Combat example (from the comments on the main project page) had been integrated into the main game.

Congrats for finishing it so early though! 

It's a real shame that this wasn't integrated into the main PDF, because this gives a much clearer idea about how the rules are meant to apply to the setting. 

It's also a fine example of the kind of flavor that Refs and Players should encourage.

As it stands, I've adjusted my rating with this in mind. But please note that it's easy to overlook content like this if it's buried in a comments section. 

If you plan to continue working on this game after the jam, consider including this example in the revised version.

I really appreciate the feedback!

In retrospect, I really should have spelled out the PvP rules, because it's such a radical departure from the baseline Tunnel Goons mechanics. But that's exactly what I had in mind: simultaneous opposed 2d6 + bonus rolls, with both fighters taking damage based on DoS.  

Unfortunately, poor time management got in the way, so I wasn't able to update it before the jam deadline. 

  • Almost feels unrecognizable as a Tunnel Goons hack.
  • That said, it's a comprehensive rule set, for what it is, with rich, detailed world-building properly baked into the game mechanics.
  • The Gamble mechanic really helps to distinguish this from the other Jam entries (so far, anyway).
  • Hero Points are wonderful method for encouraging consistent, frequent role-play. 
  • Generally not a fan of adding a 4th stat/Trait but it makes sense here, given the clear distinction between the sci-fi and fantasy elements, in-universe.
  • All the PbtA style  touches (Agenda, Principles, Facilitator Moves) provide a solid groundwork for would-be GMs to run this with the intended vibe.

Ran this for myself. Super impressed by the overall game design!

  • effective use of the core Tunnel Goons rules
  • gorgeous layout and visuals
  • clever way to implement a pseudo-procedural "dungeon", but still include mandatory core rooms 
  • limited mechanical options can feel restrictive at times, but it always makes narrative sense (no point trying to Charm a rat or a venus flytrap!)
  • challenging but intuitive puzzles
  • item deck is just the right balance of quirky flavor and mechanical function
  • Hits that sweet spot between flavor, game mechanics, and narrative possibilities.
  • The work week structure is a really effective use of the setting. Makes it ideal for one-shots or conventions, but leaves the door open for a possible campaign.
  • Likewise, the Station set-up is an organic way to introduce thematic "Classes", without imposing specific min/max stats.
  • If there's any setting that benefits from a dedicated Teamwork mechanic, it's this one. Great call!
  • Great layout design. 
  • Very evocative theme. I got a Labyrinth or Mirrormask vibe from the premise.
  • The flavor could have been described more clearly:
    • More detailed sample encounter (for Dangerous Encounters); describe the kind of threats the player characters might face inside the Tower...
    • ... as well as the ways they can use their Memories to fight back or protect themselves.
    • Suggest possible floors/rooms/environments found inside the Tower.
(1 edit)
  • Fun, tight setup for a one-shot scenario. The countdown mechanic is a wonderful, relevant constraint. 
  • The intro phase seems like the ideal setup for a smoke circle, in the style of That 70s Show. 
  • It feels a lot like a guided Fiasco playset, because of the format, as well as the high likelihood of failure. 

Rated this game. Hope you can do the same, as honestly as possible. Cheers! 

Nice touch tweaking the default math. It goes a long way towards selling the idea that these are extraordinary heroes. 

The secret identity mechanic really fits the theme, and ups the stakes. It's a useful check and balance against spamming the crazier pulp abilities. 

Rated! Hope you can do the same, as honestly as possible. 

Thanks for checking out my entry. 

Just rated yours! Hope you'll do the same, as honestly as possible.

I'd consider keeping all the Ideas readily functional with at least 2 of the Classes. 

In any case... 

Rated! Hope you'll do the same, as honestly as possible.

Rated! Hope you'll do the same, as honestly as possible.

Thanks so much for the feedback!

Regarding the tournament setting, the combat isn't limited to just one "ring" or even a single venue.

I meant it to be like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, where the fights happen in different Arenas, with varied terrains and environments (including the possibility of location-appropriate weapons lying around). 

There was supposed to be a whole section for possible Arenas (hinting at flavor mostly), but I left it out because of space constrains. Now that you brought it up, I might attempt to introduce it before the deadline. Hmmm....

Really impressed. Never thought Fiasco's mechanics could be seamlessly adapted into a self-contained 3-act sitcom structure... and in a mundane/no-fantasy tavern setting no less! 

More than anything else, I'm wowed by how tight and compact everything is (conceptually, but also the space-optimizing layout). Cheers indeed!

Wow! I'm super impressed how literally swapping a few phrases from the Tunnel Goons rules somehow changes the entire focus and flavor of the game. And into something I feel more personally invested in, as a player and a DM. (It's the first jam entry that I actually want to run for TRPG newbies who have philosophy backgrounds.) 

I like the implied caveat -- that the Action Rolls are not a test of the Player Characters' beliefs/philosophies/ideologies, so much as their ability to win over hearts and minds. 

Some actions seem intuitive enough:

  • detective work = Explorer + Logical deduction + Pen & Paper

as opposed to...

  • forensic science = Philosopher + Empiricism + Pen & Paper

And others actually help to make useful rhetorical distinctions:

  • proselytizing = Cultist + Religious Faith + (Holy) Book


  • evangelization = Philosopher + Religious Faith + (Holy) Book

That said, it feels like some of the Ideas are conceptually tied to specific Classes, which goes against the spirit of the original rules.

For instance, I'm not entirely sure how Solipsism can benefit a Cultist roll unless perhaps the PC is a LaVeyan Satanist.

Likewise, if a player choose Falsifiability as an Epistemic Principle, can that be used with an Explorer roll while hunting a Dire Black Swan? (Especially if the other party members are convinced that it's a hoax, and we're on a wild goose chase.)

Suggested alternate Settings:

  • Agora
  • literal Desert of the Real

Suggested alternate play modes:

  • Cartesian rules - roll under the DS for the action to succeed (calculate damage based on the difference) 
  • Buddhist rules - losing all Certainty is the win condition

Suggested Items:

  • Map (for illustrating semiotics, among other things)
  • Pocket watch (mechanical)
  • Armillary sphere

Suggested encounters:   

  • Laplace's Demon (DS12 with resistance to Explorer actions and Empiricism)
  • Descartes' Demon (DS10 with resistance to Philosopher actions)
  • Neo-Zarathustra (DS10 with resistance to Cultist actions; will eternally recur at DS10 after being defeated unless all party members climb the rope of self-mastery above its abyss)
  • Anti-Oedipus (DS8) + Bodies Without Organs as minions (singular formless rhizome but represented as a variety of discrete oozes/jellies/gelatinous blobs for mechanics; DS6 per cellular element)
(2 edits)
  • Superb layout design: clean, eye-catching, matches the flavor. 
  • The Grip mechanic really sells the theme. It matches the surreal elements as much as the more ordinary commuter micro-aggressions.

    The rule for Getting A Grip goes a long way towards adding a humanizing element to the game, in a very natural, theme-appropriate way.
  • My favorite use of randomized encounter/event tables in this Jam, so far.

    Given the borderline "magickal urban" setting, the weird mix of possible elements works.
  • Effective sense of place, even for someone who's completely unfamiliar with the NYC subway system!
  • I've always found the abstraction of the Inventory system a little odd, but it sticks out even more with the mundane gear (where a bike, house plant, and sunglasses have the same practical/mechanical effect on capacity). But that's a relatively minor quibble for such a well-rounded hack overall.

    (2 edits)
    • Great use of flavor! Though I guess it helps that I'm partial to pro wrestling and urban fantasy (and somewhat familiar with Mexican folklore). 
    • I especially like using Heat as an mechanical, intangible phylactery, given the significance of memory and hero worship in Mesoamerican lore.
    •  Interesting choice not to use mic/promo skills as the equivalent of the Erudite stat, given the significance of charisma/personality in Mexican folklore.

      Cutting an inspiring promo (in character, with appropriate RP) might work as an alternative healing mechanic, in addition to the extended rest.
    • The phrasing for the Belt example is kinda weird ("belt for Bruisers"). Based on my understanding of the Tunnel Goons rules, the Legacy should add to the Action Roll regardless of which technique you're using. For example, an Extremos/Hardcore Belt should add to any roll for fighting dirty or using the environment:
      • La Hija de la Bestia using Bruiser for tossing enemies into walls, Braun Strowman style 
      • El Mono Jr. using High-Flyer to moonsault off a ledge 
      • Muchas Caras using Technician to lock an opponent into a submission while driving their face into a barb-wire fence
    • Consider a section describing enemy threats to give a clearer idea about who the White Guardians are. I get the basic idea, but the main concern with a "faceless, totalitarian regime" is that they might not be very fun adversaries --especially compared to colorful rudos. If you flesh out how the villains "stifle creativity and joy", that might be useful.

    This is amazing! So many possibilities for this format.

    I tried doing a similar nested/threaded folder interface for the computer in Where Is Anon? but I eventually gave up.

    May I incorporate the UI into a future game -- with full credit to you, of course?

    Much like a half order of well-prepared avo toast, this is satisfying while it lasts but ultimately I wish there was more.

    That said, it looks really pretty and displays a whipsmart knowledge of smug Big Media doublespeak.  (Side note: with the halftone graphics and large text blocks, I don't see why this couldn't have been made using Twine instead, so it could be played within browsers.)

    Anyway, 6.3 over 5 hand-filtered single-origin stars; would condescend to millennials again.

    RE: "walking simulator"
    BEST EVER true-but-misleading description. 

    Superb word choice! With just a few key phrases, I was able to imagine the general vibe of the neighborhood -- no specific environment details or images needed.  

    Granted, that probably betrays my status as a young(ish) cosmopolitan urbanite. But then I'm probably the intended audience for this game anyway.

    Have you ever considered remaking this using Bitsy?

    Granted, it appears to be written with Twine in mind -- those brief paragraphs may seem clunky inside the Bitsy dialog boxes.

    But the exploratory aspects lend themselves well to Bitsy. You already seem quite adept at mapping out tiles representing cliffs, shorelines, and crashing waves. The various pebble options seem like a natural fit for sprite interactions.

    Paste Magazine brought me here (and to Bitsy in general). 

    This one was the first Bitsy game I played. It has now become my personal gold standard (or perhaps more aptly, doctrine, in the wartime sense) for how to make full use of the Bitsy feature set. 

    What makes this especially inspiring to me is just how minimalist it is. It's a "walking simulator" in the most pure sense of the phrase. 

    Aside from the obligation to speak with the President in the first room, it doesn't seem like there are any variables or fetch quest conditions. Just very effective scene transitions.

    Other than the foreboding music, it's really Bitly's native feature set that does all the heavy lifting: the two-color palate, the richly detailed backgrounds, and clever use of the animation function.


    Inspired choice for the color scheme!

    It's really cool how the avatar somehow moves like Ian Curtis even using just two frames of 8x8 pixels. 

    I can definitely see how this relates to the GGJ theme but I'm less certain about the Midnight element.

    The first-person look for the car ride is really gorgeous -- really exploring the limits of what can be done with Bitsy. That said, the interface is somewhat clunky.  It wasn't immediately obvious how to 'steer' the vehicle.

    After reaching the part on foot, the room designs become truly inspired! The environment has plenty of subtle but intuitive visual clues to orient the player without having to use walls. 

    The footprint effects were a wonder to discover! 

    Not sure if it was an intentional design choice but I love it appears like the avatar is a person trudging through waist-deep snow. 

    Another contextual effect: I played this right after your Midnight Jam entry, so I was expecting a similar tone shift -- in this case, towards survival horror. Just something about the stillness and isolation of the setting gave it a foreboding mood. I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was just a contemplative stroll.  


    The Bazaar had plenty of worthy baubles, but this clear explanation was  absolutely priceless.

    I'm just getting started with Bitsy and I was figuring out the variable elements mostly by trial and error.

    This one comment saved me lots of guesswork and helped me finish my game in time for the Bitsy Jam deadline this month. 

    Thank you so much! Really grateful for the help.

    Thank you so much for this example!

    That screenshot really helped me to understand how conditional dialog works.

    It also gave me a clear idea about how to use the markup for variables.

    I'll admit this doesn't have quite the soul-crushing intimacy as 30 Seconds To Midnight, but I enjoyed it more, as a game. 

    SPOILERS BELOW - do not read further if you haven't completed the game. 




    The apparent continuity nod with the other protagonist 's dog was clever. It seems to confirm the final drink as the 'definitive' ending - at least in this reality.

    Quite impressed by the economy of the gameplay - five fetch quests seamlessly integrated into three rooms. The hints were subtle enough not to railroad the player, but they all made sense; no repetitive trial-and-error or gonzo lateral thinking. 

    All the NPCs showed distinct personality even within the span of a few tweet-length lines.

    It's a shame that there doesn't appear to be a way to add conditional endings -- it would have been mighty satisfying to return to the tent with tea in hand.