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#102: Groundbreakers 2022!
I. Dear Reader,
The IGDN has announced its nominees for the Indie Groundbreaker Awards. It’s a much more interesting and diverse list than the Ennies for me so I’ll repeat what I did last year. (The IGDN doesn’t have a hyperlinked list anywhere so this is like my service to the community. )
Here we go:
A Fantastic Longing for Adventure: This is a Tim Hutchings zine (1000 Year Old Vampire) and is a great example of an iconic choice for “Best Art” because it looks like something a kid would do and I mean that in the best way.
the girlfriend of my girlfriend is my friend: If anything, this is an even more awesome nomination because this game by Stargazer Sasha was done entirely in MS Paint. Feast. Your. Eyes.
Monster Care Squad: The first obvious choice after the previous two surprise entries but this game is so stunning and beautiful that you just have to nod and go “correct”. The primary artist on this game is Leafiedraws whose commissions are closing soon apparently, hmm.
My Body Is A Cage: This game by Batts has some really over-the-top layout. Just absolutely maximalist, design-muscle-flexing work.
Stacks of Goblins: A comedy game from Cobble Path, the team behind Locus, a horror game. A mix of goofy sketches and beautiful line-art and layout. Looks fun!
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To ToonTown: This is the first I’m hearing about this and oh my god what: “a pre-written, ready to run, boxed larp set at an animation studio in 1938 for 17-21 players over 4 hours. The players play animators, writers, and long-suffering executives who have been locked in a studio as they try to finish their next big cartoon.”
Arcon: City of Neon Daylight: System-less Cyberpunk setting by Kienna Shaw and Jason Cutrone. There is also a second edition available in print.
Stealing the Throne: The first game on this so far that I’ve actually played! A thousand years ago, giant mechs fought and ended wars. Now you’re going to steal one! By Nick Bate.
Xanadu: The blurb is very good: “an 80s-set BioShock-inspired TTRPG about resistance and rebellion within a megalithic skyscraper” by Carrollastrophe Games.
A Fantastic Longing for Adventure: Second nomination for this one.
My Body Is A Cage: And this one!
Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall: From Banana Chan and Sen-Foong Lim, “a collaborative, storytelling RPG about a Chinese family making their living by running a restaurant in one of America’s Chinatowns, circa 1920”. Also, vampires.
Last Sentinels: Another new game to me! GM-less game of doomed mech pilot by Jason Price. It’s based on rules of the iconic storygame Polaris. I’m in.
Shanty Hunters: From Tristan Zimmerman of the lovely Molten Sulfur blog, a game about saving old sailor songs that also come alive and try to sink your ship! A part of the game is singing the shanties together so maybe it’s time to increase my repertoire beyond Wellerman.
Archives of Alexandria: From Will Jobst and Adam Vass, “a two player digital escape game, using a voice chat and wikipedia”. You’re ancient creatures trying to save the infinite library from a virus.
Grasping Nettles: This has been on my list to play for a while now. A worldbuilding game from Adam Bell where you move your pieces around a little circular board to decide what you’re creating on your turn.
GUN&SLINGER: One GM, 2 players, telling the story of a weapon and a wanderer using Go Fish rules. By Nevyn Holmes. Looks neat!
Savage Sisters: This seems very cool and I’ve never heard of it until now. A GM-full game where you create “a group of powerful, warrior women who are bound together in sisterhood, and collaboratively tell their story”. By 9th Level Games.
Thursday: A Russian Doll Belonging outside Belonging game by Eli Seitz!
Game of the Year
Brave Zenith: Nice!
Last Sentinels: Cool!
Shanty Hunters: Sweet!
Stacks of Goblins: Fun!
It makes sense that all the GOTY nominees are also nominated in other categories. :D
II. Media of the Week
At EF Con, there was a really nice panel about adventure writing. The thing that really works for me is that the three panelists are very different in their design and play styles so when you bring them together, it’s really fun to just be a fly on the wall as they discuss their differences with mutual respect.
III. Links of the Week
The Bones of Contention blog are doing reviews of bestiaries. There’s many reviews but I think my favourite is Ava Islam’s look at Lusus Naturae which I have never heard about.
Dicebreaker does a feature on the Transplanar actual play stream, an all-trans POC table: “Transplanar serves as a form of escapism,” Chang says. “Queerness is built into every aspect of the world and is never questioned. This is a place where being a trans, queer person of colour is never going to be something that puts you in active jeopardy.”
If you ever wanted sales data about D&D settings, I think you are finally set. Birthright? Greyhawk? Spelljammer? Yup, it’s all there. I mean Forgotten Realms sold the best but the rest I had very little context for so this was quite interesting.
A review of Pelgrane Presss’ Swords of Serpentine.
On the Indie Game Reading Club, Paul Beakley condenses his list of things you have to explicitly discuss with “experienced players” (primarily players experienced with trad games) before playing an indie or storygame because otherwise you might get some crossed wires.
IV. Small Ads
All links in the newsletter are completely based on my own interest. But to help support my work, this section contains sponsored links and advertisements. If you’d like your products to appear here, read the submission form.
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