The Gaming Shelf Carves Out the Garden

The Gaming Shelf Carves Out the Garden

There are some incredible games in this week’s issue, and I’d like to point out a couple of my favorites. Likeness Machine by Pearse Anderson is about what happens when corporations take the likeness of actors and use AI to replace their performance (all proceeds go to the Entertainment Community Fund!). There’s also Hunt, with a wonderful horror Arthuriana theme. O Captain is a constellation drawing game that has gorgeous illustrations. Also take a look at the demo foir Terminal, the “digital pirate action” TTRPG by Diana Jones Emerging Designer Finalist, Kayla Dice, and consider backing the full Kickstarter.

“In Likeness Machines, you draw tarot cards to determine the future [of] the growing career of a fictional actor. But as your actor faces hardship and failure, the heads of studios scheme to replace your actor with an AI replicant. To win, you’ll have to race against the snowballing power of your AI self and get out of the industry while you can. The game showcases a speculative, satirical dystopia—but one that’s unfortunately within reach with further union busting, profit seeking corps, and streaming’s enshittification.”

“In Avatar of Gaia, you tell the story of a transforming superhero and their fight for the environment and a better future. To play this game, you will need 3-6 players including a master of ceremonies (MC), at least three six-sided dice (or a digital dice roller), a way to take notes, and 2-4 hours.”

Feathered Adventures is a diceless tabletop RPG by Côme Martin in which you play anthropomorphic birds going on light pulp adventures, trying to overcome their flaws to come out on top. It can be played with or without a GM and requires three to six players for short one-shots (one to two hours) requiring very little preparation, or slightly longer campaigns.”

USS Scorpio, please respond…’ is a two-page pamphlet module compatible with Mothership RPG and can be played as a one-shot or part of a campaign. It can be modified to any system with very small modifications.”

Hunt is a tabletop roleplaying game for 3-5 players and uses the Lumen 2.0 system, which eschews the use of dice, focusing on collaborative storytelling, and puzzle-like combat. In Hunt, you and your friends will tell the story of a doomed order of knights. In a final desperate act, the knights gather together for one final quest into the wild forest surrounding their once great keep.”

Howl is a 44-page, black and red adventure for Cairn, with a setting inspired by English folklore and Ravenloft. Set in the world of Boroz, an accursed and mist-shrouded land filled with dangerous creatures and eldritch influence.”

Giant of Light is a TTRPG for 2-6 players that can be single sessions or long campaigns. This is the first edition of the game, which uses custom-built systems to allow play at both human and giant size.”

Death Cap Sauté is a GM-less TTRPG and dice game for 2-5 players and is meant to be played in a single session. Each player takes the role of three culinary team members representing their restaurant that has entered a deadly cooking competition. Make the best dishes and impress the judges to earn Shroomps. The restaurant with the most Shroomps at the end wins!”

“In O Captain, you roll a pool of dice, build constellations from the result, and answer the corresponding prompts. These prompts further your story and can grant you boons to help you find new shores. But it’s not all smooth sailing; gather too many setbacks, and you may find yourself swept away!”

Carved by the Garden is a single-player structured journaling game where you document your character’s days in the nearby woods. Requiring a tumbling block tower (or one of the alternatives provided in the text), a standard deck of playing cards (including jokers), eight pieces of nature, a six-sided die, and a way to record the story, Carved by the Garden is a tense experience based on Chris Bissete’s The Wretched. With 52 prompts, 10 endings, and seven thought-starting character archetypes, each playthrough is unique.”

The Straight Way Lost is a 5E compatible sourcebook and adventure [that] will take players on an epic adventure between Heaven and Hell in a Fantastical Renaissance Italy inspired by the Divinia Commedia.”

Terminal is a digital pirate action game of apocalyptic scale, for 3+ players including a GM. It’s the Matrix crossed with Black Sails, with Twin Peaks and Paprika thrown in for measure. In this game our swashbuckling cyberpunk misfit heroes sail the perilous seas, clash swords with killer robots, brawl with dangerous programs inside cyberspace, and face off against the manipulative architects of the living nightmare that is the Terminal.

“The players act as members of a daring pirate crew. They will walk the path of Omen, the latest in a cycle of reincarnation, someone with extraordinary power and a sign that this iteration of the Terminal is close to collapse. Total system crash is coming. The crash could spell disaster.”

The urban fantasy RPG Defiant is releasing two new supplements dealing with “two crucial parts of the game, supernatural politics and family life: Defiant Reign and Defiant Legacy. Delve into the captivating world of supernatural aristocracy and immerse yourself in thrilling affairs filled with intrigue, power struggles, romance, and building a lasting legacy.”

Nexalis is a game about exploration and growth in a mesmerizing and ever-evolving world. In this game, characters are drifters from diverse backgrounds, united by a shared purpose and an insatiable curiosity for the unknown. You will take on unique roles, aiding locals and protecting the delicate balance of the world, as you grow stronger and wiser with every new experience.”

Five Hundred Year Old Vampire (FYOV), by designer Jason Cox and artist Jabari Weathers, is a multi-player keepsake role-playing game that adapts the award-winning Thousand Year Old Vampire (TYOV) by Tim Hutchings into a new collaborative play experience suitable for both fans of TYOV and students in an educational setting.”

The Exquisite Corpse in Maggots’ Keep is a full-length, illustrated gamebook in which you play a beautiful skeleton festooned in jewelry who wakes up inside their coffin in a deep, mysterious cavern. Who were you in life? What preternatural magics animated you? What strange creatures and situations will you encounter in this, the Maggots’ Keep?”

  • Hark! Says the Frog Magus is an ENnie-nominated, system-agnostic dungeon delve born out of love & fascination with all things amphibian, and it is receiving a first physical printing via Dinoberry Press.”
  • The One-Page RPG Jam is an annual game jam hosted on, which gives entrants just over a month to create and publish a tabletop role-playing game that fits on a single sheet of paper. The rules of the jam require submissions to be fully playable games on a single sheet of A4 or US Letter, although ‘backpages’ for extra Games Master tables and rules are allowed, as well as separate character sheets if required.”
  • “Chaosium is crowdfunding Graveyards of Arkham, the successor to 2023’s Bookshops of Arkham, and will be a full six-episode series, containing all the high-quality aspects that fans came to love from Bookshops, including guest NPC players, full costumes, and an evocative set.”
  • The official selections for the 2023 New Jersey Web Festival have been announced. Two years ago, it expanded to become the first film festival experience for fiction podcasts and TTRPG-based Actual Play content. The winners will be announced in September.
  • Modiphius has released the first questbook for the Fallout RPGWinter of Atom.
  • Drinking Quest: Belch of the Wild, the adult party game, is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter.
  • Steamforged Games, have launched a tabletop board game version of Sea of Thieves: Voyage of Legends.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

What do you think?

Written by TeknologiAi

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